Trying to help ease the pain
When Corey and Chelsea Nuse headed to the hospital in early November 2013, they were filled with excited anticipation: the birth of their daughter, Brynnlee. Yet, in the back of their minds, both of them must have been thinking of that sad day, Aug. 25, 2012 when their first pregnancy tragically ended in miscarriage. Surely, the baby would be born and everything would be fine.
But it would not be fine.
Brynnlee was born Nov. 8. Almost as soon as she was born, she began a fight to live that she ultimately lost on Nov. 14. And as if the loss of their newborn baby girl were not enough pain to endure, the young parents now find themselves straddled with a choking level of debt for the medical care Brynnlee received in those few short days.
A benefit will be held this Saturday at the Denver Fire Hall to help defray those costs. There will be a dinner, as well as a raffle and silent auction. Tickets are $30 which must be purchased prior to the event. Tickets cover all you can eat and drink for TWO people. The benefit will be from 2-6 p.m. with all the proceeds going to Corey and Chelsea.
After her birth, Brynnlee was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center. She spent 6 days in the NICU fighting for her life, which ended all too soon. An autopsy confirmed what the doctors believed, which was that a virus had attacked her heart before birth, and once the oxygen she received from the umbilical cord was cut off, her heart was unable to pump properly.
“There were absolutely NO signs that could have predicted this,” explained Chelsea Nuse. “I had extreme morning sickness and lost 20 pounds, but apparently that’s normal. I even had an ultrasound 3 days before she was born to check her weight and everything looked good. The doctors said that it wouldn’t have shown up on an ultrasound anyway.”
Things appeared to be fine throughout her 23-hour labor. They were able to keep her heart on the monitor and everything registered normal. In fact, this was a “textbook delivery” until after the umbilical cord was cut. She was even crying when she was born.
“We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before cutting it, and came to find out later that the doctor said that was probably the best thing for her,” added Chelsea. “After the cord was cut, she was taken to be cleaned off and banded. Corey even got to put her wristband on and then they realized something was wrong.”
The Nuses were about to live through every new parent’s nightmare.
“It was a complete blur to me,” said Chelsea. “Everything happened within a half hour. They intubated her in the room and then rushed her to the NICU. After what seemed like forever, they came in and told us that she was being airlifted to Hershey which was an eight minute flight, and they didn’t think she’d make the flight. That’s when it really sunk in how bad she was. That might be the last time I got to see my baby alive because I couldn’t fly with her.”
Chelsea related what is was like to watch helplessly as Brynnlee fought for life.
“It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” she said. “Brynnlee was on life support within a half hour of being born until she died. It didn’t click in my head. As any parent does, I hated seeing her like that. At only one day old, she was hooked up to things no baby should have to be. She had a problem with bleeding and that was hard to see. She was getting fresh frozen plasma every day and so many medicines, it was unbelievable. Her kidneys completely shut down and her little body went from 5 pounds 2 ounces to over 10 pounds. It looked really painful and I hated that I couldn’t trade places with her.”
Thankfully, both Chelsea and Corey were able to spend those six days with their daughter.
“Those days were the scariest of our life,” related Chelsea. “We prayed and prayed. We had the most hope parents could have. Of course, in the back of your mind, there’s a little voice saying ‘she could die.’ We had to prepare ourselves for that. I had hope until the last minute that she would pull through. That there would be a miracle, they happen all the time, right?”
Chelsea said that one of the toughest aspects of their crises was having to wear gloves to even be able to touch the baby and not being able to hold her.
“That was really rough,” noted Chelsea. “But when we finally did get to hold her, it was absolutely amazing. I was so happy because I got to hold my daughter for the first time, and watch my husband hold her for the first time. His first daughter, the twinkle in his eye. That broke my heart. But it was heartbreaking because our first time holding her, was also our last.”
Now, more than four months later, the Nuses struggle to press on. Some days are better than other, yet Brynnlee is always on their minds.
“We keep pushing on, looking forward to the joyous day we get to be together again,” said Chelsea. “It’s terrible to know I’ll never feel complete in this life. It’s only been four months this month, and it feels like she’s already been forgotten by others. Don’t get me wrong, family remembers, but it’s like it’s almost taboo to speak of her. I want and need to talk about her. Losing a child is like no other, and is a journey we will have to walk and get through for the rest of our lives. It has definitely made our marriage stronger.”
Recently the Nuse’s got the bittersweet news that they are expecting a new baby, due October 19.
The couple’s sister-in-law, Morgan Nuse is planning Saturday’s benefit. While the Nuses were still in the hospital with Brynnlee, Morgan had an idea to sell bracelets to help cover the medical bills, but once she passed, that turned into the benefit.
Saturday’s benefit dinner will feature chicken barbeque, hot dogs, meatballs, pasta salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, chips and desserts as well as beer and other non-alcoholic beverages. The chicken is being donated by Tyson and Turkey Hill is donating the drinks. The goal is to sell 100 tickets.
In addition to the food, Morgan said numerous items have been donated by local businesses that will be raffled off. Gift cards from Martin’s, Weis, Scratch Cupcakes, Parkhill Jewelry, Royer’s flowers, Wok N’ Roll, Evergreen Diner, Wild Wings, Cozette’s, Weaver’s Markets, Ebenezer’s, Laser Dome, Skateaway, and Jewelry in Candles. There will be gift baskets for Extra Olives, Thirty One, Smart Style, a date night basket, and a girls and guys night basket. In addition, several items are going to be auctioned off, including a handmade camo quilt, handmade primitive furniture, A Reflection by Sherry photo package, an in office bleaching session to Larrimore Dentistry, a Healing Hands Massage basket, a Falling Waters basket, a Scentsy basket, a Mary Kay gift certificate, and three framed photographs among other things.
If you would like to purchase a ticket please contact either Morgan or Chelsea Nuse via email: Email Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chelsea at email@example.com. You can also text Morgan at (717) 940-8226 or Chelsea at (717) 475-8064.
Tickets will also be available at the door.
Gary P. Klinger is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review and welcomes feedback via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @gpklinger.