In 2008, Stephanie Nielson survived a plane crash. She burned over 80% of her body and was stuck in a coma for more than three months. Today, she lives a life of happiness and joy despite the pain and challenges she has gone through. Not only is Stephanie a wife, a mother of five, and a popular blogger, but she is also a New York Times bestselling author with her book, Heaven is Here. Despite everything in her past, Stephanie says she would not change a thing.
Shauna Lake sits down with her in this week’s “Person 2 Person.”
Read Stephanie’s Blog: http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/
Follow Stephanie on Twitter & Instagram: @nieniedialogues
Below is a transcript of Shauna’s interview with Stephanie Nielson: STEPHANIE NIELSON:
On our way home, on takeoff, the airplane crashed and just exploded.
Do you have any recollection of the explosion and kind of what happened after?STEPHANIE NIELSON:
Yeah I remember the airplane crashing, and we were going down and I remember thinking is this it? Is this the end? I remember seeing my children in my head and thinking, ‘Oh I can’t believe this is how it ends for me. This was not the plan.’ And then waking up and being engulfed in flames. I could smell my hair and my skin on fire, and I was very scared. SHAUNA LAKE:
Did you ever wish that you hadn’t survived?STEPHANIE NIELSON:
Yes. When the pain…the pain is so hard, and I remember thinking, ‘You know I would just want to die.’ You know I just remember thinking, ‘I just want to give up.’ But I never was mad. I don’t remember blaming god. I never had those feelings. I’m grateful for those feelings because I think that’s what got me going everyday was there’s a reason why I’m here.SHAUNA LAKE:
Now, a few years later, what do you think that is?
Well I think it’s my family. I think it’s my children. I had another baby, and motherhood is something I’m very passionate about. I love it. I love myself when I’m a mother, and I live for my husband because we’re just inseparable. We just have something that’s very unique. We’ve been through something together that not many people can say they’ve been through. And I just have an amazing story. I’m a miracle. And I think I’m…I hope that people know that miracles still exist today. I think that’s why I’m here today is to help people who have trials or people who are sad, pain, any of that. You can still be happy.SHAUNA LAKE:
I’ve always been struck when I’ve read your blog about Mr. Nielson. The love story between you two is obvious. It’s tangible if you read the blog. Was that there prior or did that become deepened? STEPHANIE NIELSON:
Nope. He was always Mr. Nielson before the accident. He just became…you know I always, I can’t put my finger on it, I try. But you know when you’re pregnant…I don’t know if you get sick, and I don’t know how many women get sick, but I get very sick when I’m pregnant. And men don’t understand that. I mean we can say over and over again I am sick, but they’re really nice and they’re caring but they really…SHAUNA LAKE:
They don’t get it.STEPHANIE NIELSON:
They don’t know. It’s so much more than just a stomach ache. And with this accident we’re both burned, and we can talk about that, and we both get it. We understand how it feels, and I don’t know that connection I think is something that we share that has really helped each other get over some of the pain and problems, and we can laugh at things. We are doing the same physical therapy and wearing the same weird masks and things that you wear when you’re recovering from burns. We just have a lot in common, and I’m so grateful for him.
: People have been so invested in your story. I think because you’ve shared it with such candor. You’ve been so open and brutally honest even about the really, really hard days in there. STEPHANIE NIELSON:
And everyone has them, everyone. Everyone in this whole world has hard times. It may not be a plane crash, but everyone has some sort of trial or problem or pain, and so I think people can relate. It just feels good to know that there are other people out there who are making it work. Who can live a beautiful life even through hard times. SHAUNA LAKE:
Where do you see yourself in 10 years, Steph?
I don’t know, just here. Just doing what I’m doing. I’d like to have more children. SHAUNA LAKE:
More children? You have five.STEPHANIE NIELSON:
I don’t know. I just would love more. Pregnancy is hard for me; especially since the accident it’s been harder on my skin…SHAUNA LAKE:
Was that a big decision to have a fifth?STEPHANIE NIELSON:
Yeah it was. It wasn’t big because I’ve always wanted a baby…big as in like is this going to kill me?SHAUNA LAKE:
You knew you were going to be in a lot of pain.
Yeah, and I was. It was a sacrifice. It was hard, but it was worth it. And I would do it again. Maybe not tomorrow, but I’m thinking about it. So babies. I see myself serving in my church, the church, and being a missionary. It’s what I love to do. It’s what I want to do and just keep doing what I’m doing. I’m pretty blessed.
It’s been so nice to get to know you better “Person 2 Person.”STEPHANIE NIELSON:
You too. Thank you.SHAUNA LAKE:
Thank you so much. Honestly, such an honor.STEPHANIE NIELSON:
-Written and produced by Leslie Tillotson
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)