Friday, December 15

A Facebook Story: A Mother's Joy And a Family's Sorrow

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Even before Shana Greatman Swers got pregnant, the 35-year-old married consultant had a habit of posting on Facebook about nearly anything. She loved writing about her husband, Jeff, her friends at work, and the prospect of having a baby. People who knew her followed every turn on the social network, starting when she wrote on March 10 that “Shana Greatman Swers and Jeff are thrilled to announce to the world that little baby Swers will be joining our family this September. Good thing we bought the bigger house!” But the chain of messages that the Gaithersburg resident wrote over the next eight months would ultimately become a modern interactive narrative of the joys of pregnancy and the harrowing uncertainties that develop when medical complications set in. Even in her toughest moments, she tapped out Facebook updates from her iPhone to relatives and friends — a mix of people from George Washington University, where she went to college; the Corporate Executive Board, her workplace in Rosslyn; and her old buddies from back home in California. With permission from the Swers family, The Washington Post has edited and annotated her Facebook page to tell her story from pre-baby date nights to a medical odyssey that turned the ecstasy of childbirth into a struggle for life.

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