Family Living ‘Worst Nightmare’ After House Fire, Emergency C-Section In 4 Days


Wednesday, October 21st 2020, 6:25 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero


MCALESTER, Okla. -

A McAlester family said they are living their worst nightmare in the span of just four days.

The Whitmans lost everything in a house fire and now they’re praying their newborn is okay after pregnant mother Jesseka had an emergency C-section.

Jesseka and Aaron Whitman said it all started with the housefire Saturday night that started in the chimney after they lit their fireplace. They described the flames shooting in the air over 30 feet and only having about 2 minutes to get out of the home. 

"To be honest with you, it's the most tragic thing we've been through as a family," Jesseka said. "There's no doubt about that I've never been more terrified or unsure in my life."

The family of four and all their pets made it out safely. However, Jesseka, 37 weeks pregnant at the time, went to the hospital.  

"I was told at 10 a.m. I would be delivering a baby, so we had 12 hours less than 12 hours to prepare for a C-section," said Jesseka.  

Baby River appeared healthy, but they saw something was wrong with her left eye. On Tuesday, Jessica said the baby girl had what appeared to be a seizure, so they brought her the Saint Francis Children's Hospital in Tulsa. Aaron said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.  

"Just all over the spectrum, people just helping us out and we don't even know them, just out of the kindness of their hearts," said Aaron.  

Jesseka said when they go back to McAlester, their family will have access to a hotel room to live in for a month, as well as a rental home, thanks to kindness to neighbors. Area churches are also receiving piles of donations.  

The Whitmans said they feel at home if they have each other and a little kindness from their fellow Oklahomans. 

"It’s devastating to have a newborn baby girl and not be able to bring her home to the home you spent nine months preparing," Jesseka said. "But, wherever we may be going to, I'm bringing her home to an amazing family and amazing support system."

Tests show River is completely blind in her left eye, and there's an abnormal growth on the nerve of her right eye. She's scheduled to have more testing and an MRI. 

To help the Whitman family, you can visit their GoFundMe link here.