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New life: After being told she couldn't conceive, violence survivor Ainjil Reyes delivers a girl

Dave, Ainjil and Sofia
Dave, Ainjil and Sofia
Sofia Rose
Sofia Rose

EIGHT. That’s how many gunshot wounds Ainjil Reyes sustained — and survived — in a horrific 2008 machine gun attack carried out by her estranged husband.

Her boyfriend, Jonathan “Caine” Lestelle, and their unborn child, later to be named Shadow, were not as fortunate. Lestelle died at the scene of the crime, in their apartment, from multiple gunshot wounds. The baby, having been pierced by a bullet, did not survive. In 2012, the assailant, William Keck, was sentenced to death.

Within a matter of minutes, Ainjil Reyes (now Bragg-Chipp) lost her partner and her child. Add to that, doctors said she’d likely be unable to have children due to injuries sustained to her uterus.

Fast forward to April 22, 2013, when proud parents Ainjil and Dave Chipp welcomed 7-pound, 6-ounce Sofia Rose into the world.

“I was more shocked than anything when I found out I was pregnant,” says Bragg-Chipp, subject of CityLife’s Aug. 9, 2012, cover story. “First I was really happy, really excited, and then very nervous because I didn’t know what the probability was of being able to carry to term.”

Doctors warned that because of her scarring she should plan for a C-section. Bragg-Chipp says she was nervous up until the 24-week mark, when doctors told her she was in the clear. Even if the baby was born premature, she would likely survive. Thankfully, there were no complications.

“Funny enough, when the C-section happened, the doctor said there was a lot less scar tissue than was anticipated,” Bragg-Chipp says. “She said, 'Either you heal really, really good, or the doctor that did your surgery was amazing.’”

Sofia Rose shares a middle name with Bragg-Chipp’s best friend, and her first name could have been Matilda, had Chipp’s father not said that “Matilda is a name for a tank.”

“Sofia is more gentle,” Bragg-Chipp says. “We’re big fans of the Walking Dead. It felt right calling her that, even when she was in my tummy.”

As for more children?

“I never wanted more than two kids. With Shadow being my first, and her being my second. And Dave has two boy from a previous marriage,” Bragg-Chipp says.

“I’ll never let go of the idea of adopting one day. That’s something I’m always open to. But carrying again? No thanks.”