Jennifer Anne Gandel was born on March 4, 1974 at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. Jen weighed 2 pounds 10 ounces at birth, at an estimated 28 weeks gestation. She spent the first two months of her life in the NICU. When she was discharged, Jen weighed all of 4 pounds 10 ounces.
Back then it was a hard and fast rule that no baby went home before they weighed 5 pounds. The medical director made an exception, since I had been the Social Worker for the NICU and we had known each other for almost two years. Also, as soon as I could drive I was there every day - I fed, rocked, bathed Jennifer, and he felt comfortable sending her home. My youngest sister started calling her "Jennipooh" as soon as she came home from the hospital.
Jennifer and her brother Brian, a 3 pound 5 ounce preemie, grew up in Pikesville, Maryland. They both went to the same elementary school that I had gone to. Jennifer learned to play the flute in school, and took private lessons. Jennifer loved playing the flute, whenever she got angry she would storm up to her room, slam the door and play. You could hear the anger in her music, and it became very clear when she calmed down - the music was no longer angry.
Jennifer was a bright, articulate young woman who loved life. She graduated from The University off North Carolina Chapel Hill, Phi Beta Kappa. She went to The University of Maryland School of Law and to no one's surprised she passed the Maryland Bar exam the first time. Jennifer clerked at the Circuit Court of Baltimore County for Judge Robert Dugan.
Jennifer and Matthew were married on October 21, 2001. Jen died on Thursday, August 1, 2002 five and a half weeks after back surgery. She died of a pulmonary embolism a result of an undiagnosed DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis).
Jennifer filled our lives with love, joy, and laughter. We decided to do what we could so that other parents could have all that we shared with Jennifer.