Stephanie Nielson: Mommy blogger left with 80 per cent burns to her body after plane crash overcomes ordeal to give birth to fifth child
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 13:33 EST, 10 May 2012 | UPDATED: 13:33 EST, 10 May 2012
A popular Mormon 'Mommy blogger' who survived an horrific plane crash with 80 per cent burns to her body has spoken about the ordeal - and how she overcame it to give birth to her fifth child.
Speaking on the Today show, Stephanie Nielson, who writes about motherhood on her blog the Nie Nie Dialogues, has recounted the pain and guilt she felt following the accident in 2008.
'I think "guilty" was the first word I could say after,' she said. 'I didn't want [my children] to grow up with a mother like me because at the time I thought that was life for me and it wouldn't get better.
'Of course we know that's not true. I had faith and wonderful people to help me get out of that.' She added: 'We're doing better than ever.'
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On the mend: Mommy blogger Stephanie Nielson and her husband Christian were in a plane crash that put them both in medically-induced comas. They have just had their fifth child
Before the crash: Stephanie writes a popular blog called the Nie Nie Dialogues about her family: (L-R) Jane, Nicholas, Claire, husband Christian and Oliver - and now baby Charlotte
She gave birth to her and her husband's fifth child, Charlotte, a month ago.
At first doctors 'were concerned,' she said. 'It took me a while to even ask if I could have another baby because I was scared they would say no.' They agreed to monitor Stephanie closely.
Stephanie was 27 when she and her husband left their four children with their grandparents and took off in a small Cessna airplane from their home in Mesa, Arizona to New Mexico in August 2008.
Her husband Christian, a licensed pilot, was flying the plane with his friend and flight instructor, Doug Kinneard, when the aircraft stalled after a stop for fuel - and plummeted to the ground.
Showing their support: (L-R) Nicholas, Jane, Oliver and Claire also accompanied their mother to the show
Hope: Stephanie was nervous to ask doctors if she could have another baby; last month Charlotte was born
Christian was left with 30 per cent burns to his body and woke after five weeks, while Stephanie was in a medically-induced coma for four months. Doug, a father of four, did not survive the crash.
Feats: Stephanie gave birth to Charlotte the same day her book was released. 'I delivered two babies that day,' she said
Life before the crash was 'ideal', Stephanie recounted to Today. 'It was the life I had wanted.'
But after the crash, the Nielson's struggled to get back on their feet.
'It was a real low point,' Christian remembered. 'I've never had to deal with that much trauma emotionally and physically. The outlook for our life that we once enjoyed was bleak.
'When I saw Stephanie for the first time it was worrisome.'
She continued: 'I was completely confused and frustrated and worried. I couldn't talk, I couldn't move my body - I was frustrated in every sense of the word.'
In a previous interview with Today, she said it took her five weeks after waking up to finally look at her own reflection and realise that her face had been completely transformed.
She underwent months of surgeries and skin grafts at the Arizona Burn Center.
The burns on her face had been so bad, doctors had had to cut all the skin away and cadaver skin was placed on top.
Eventually her own skin - from her scalp, arm and back - replaced the cadaver skin. They also used cultured skin grown in a Boston lab to cover the wounds.
When her four children, who had all been under seven at the time of the crash, were reunited with their mother, they were speechless and unable to look at her.
Of her daughter Jane, she said: 'It was awful to not have your own daughter not want to look at you just felt very, word, words just don't even describe that feeling.'
Horrific: Stephanie, Christian and their friend Doug were on board the plane when it stalled and crashed in 2008
Pain: Stephanie was in a coma for four months. When she woke up, she feared she was scaring her children
Fighter: Stephanie was left with 80 per cent burns to her body and underwent skin graft surgeries
Stephanie's oldest daughter, Claire, would only talk to her through a curtain. She added that she hated not being able to play with her children or comb their hair.
But by the third visit, she said, things were back to normal and easy again. She also received emotional and financial support from her thousands of devoted readers on the Nie Nie Dialogues.
Now Stephanie, whose blog is so far reaching it is also followed by women who are neither Mormons nor mothers, has written a book entitled Heaven is Here that describes how she overcame the pain.
It was released on the same day Charlotte was born. 'I delivered two babies that day,' she told Today.
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