Amid sorrow and illness, Ohio couple says 'I do'

Benjamin Duer

When Zack Zeigler kissed his bride, her heart skipped a beat.

Literally.

“Dawn, to me, is my soulmate,” he said.

Zeigler, 29, and Dawn Selega, 30, tied the knot Thursday night in a rare ceremony at Aultman Hospital in Canton.

“He’s my life,” she said.

They were married in a dimly lit chapel with balloons, harp music, roses, paper doves — and a heart monitor that beeped when they kissed.

The guests included family, friends and nurses. Plenty of smiles could be seen around the room.

“In the ICU, we see much sadness,” Sally Paumier, intensive care nurse, said. “We need to see this.”

Thursday’s happiness followed tragedy.

Selega has been hospitalized since Sept. 25 due to complications from suspected H1N1 influenza. She spent the first six weeks in the intensive care unit.

They were supposed to get married Sept. 26. Selega was six months pregnant with their first child and had been battling flu-like symptoms. The day of the rehearsal, Selega turned blue and was hospitalized.

“We didn’t know the baby was in distress. But the flu she had affected the baby,” said Selega’s mom, Lori.

Days later, Zackery Jr. died in the womb. He was baptized. His cremains are in a locket around Selega’s neck.

“It was probably the worst week,” Lori Selega said.

Zeigler rarely has left Selega’s bedside, only going home to take a quick nap and change clothes.

“From day one, I’ve put her up on a pedestal. She completes me,” he said.

Zeigler said they chose to get married now because their marriage license was set to expire next week.

The East Canton couple plan to have a traditional ceremony next summer. It’s unknown when Selega will be released from the hospital.

“I’m good,” she said, sitting in a wheelchair, after the ceremony. “I’m ready to go home, naturally.”

The Repository