Läste följande mer utförliga berättelse av Jaimee Rose om vad som hände Nienie, som skriver bloggen Nienie dialogues. Makalös läsning, makalös kvinna.
Här är ett foto av henne och familjen före flygplansolyckan.
Crash survivor learns to be mom again
It was easy for her to be a mother.
Pregnant just two months after her wedding, there were two daughters and then two sons. She loved to bake chocolate birthday cakes and make glitter-covered crowns for her daughters. Her sons liked for her to dress up as their queen.
When her plane began to crash, and everything around her became quiet and awful and slow, Stephanie Nielson tucked her head between her knees, closed her eyes tight in prayer and saw her four children.
"I saw them smiling and holding hands," says Stephanie, 27. "I thought, 'I'm not going to die. I can't die. That's what I'm here for - these beautiful children.' "
After that, everything about being a mother was hard.
Stephanie's small plane crashed in St. Johns, Ariz., on Aug. 16. Her husband, Christian Nielson, was the pilot, his friend and flight instructor, Doug Kinneard, was at his side. They were on their way home to Mesa. The accident left Christian burned over 35 percent of his body, and Stephanie burned over 83 percent of hers. Kinneard died the next day.
Stephanie spent 10 weeks in a medically induced coma at the Maricopa Medical Center as doctors worked to cover her arms, legs, face and neck with skin grafts. Her hands were burned to the tendons; her freckles and eyebrows, gone.
While she slept and Christian went to physical therapy, her sisters in Utah cared for the Nielsons' children, age 2 to 7.
When Stephanie woke, she was transferred to a hospital in Utah to be closer to her family. Her sisters brought the children to see her. Her skin taut and scarred, Stephanie couldn't pick up her children or even bend to kiss them. She listened as her baby, Nicholas, called Stephanie's sister "Mom."
Claire, 7, was too afraid to come into the room, and talked to her mother from behind a hospital curtain.
Her younger daughter, Jane, 6, glanced at her mother's patchy, skin-grafted red face and refused to look again.
"She wouldn't look at me for about a month and half," Stephanie says. "Those were the hardest days."
After another month in rehab, Stephanie went home just after Christmas. Her sister had purchased a house for Stephanie and Christian in the tree-lined Provo, Utah, neighborhood where Stephanie grew up. One of nine children, she is the only one who had moved away from home.
Stephanie spent her days at physical therapy and her nights lying on the sofa, watching the routines of her family. She felt unneeded, left behind. Worry kept her up at night.
"I thought, 'I can't be a mom and not hold my kids.' " she says. " 'I can't be someone that they love and trust.' "
Sometimes, she found 2-year-old Nicholas by the front door, wondering when his "mom" - Stephanie's sister - was coming. Her husband cooked dinner, made breakfast. He cuddled the children.
"They always cried for Dad," Stephanie says. "Most kids cry for Mom. That really bothered me. And it bothered me more that I couldn't do it - I couldn't help them."
She tried to keep her tears to herself. She tried not to get angry with Jane, who talked to Stephanie with her head turned. She tried to understand that, when her kids looked at her, it was hard to see their mother.
"I don't look awesome," says Stephanie. Before the crash, she wore red lipstick every day, even to the grocery store, and loved to get dressed up for her husband.
"I'm sure the children thought, 'Who is this scary person, and why do they think I'm going to live with her?' "
When Stephanie looks in the mirror, it is hard to see herself.
"I hate looking in the mirror," she says. "I'm like, 'That is not me.' I miss my long hair. I miss my freckles. I want to look pretty.
"But I'm still beautiful," she says softly. "I am. And in my eyes, I can see me."
Claire would hide when talking to her mother until, one day, she lost a tooth, and came out to show her mom. Stephanie worked with Jane slowly.
"Today," she'd tell her, "just look at my toes." The next day, she'd have Jane look only at her hands.
"Then one day she couldn't do it anymore," says Stephanie, and when Stephanie came in to check on Jane in the bathtub, Jane gave her mom a smile.
"I said, 'Oh Jane, you are looking at me,' and she said 'I know,' with a few giggles," Stephanie says. "It was adorable.
"I wept all night long. I cried and cried. I was so happy. A huge relief was lifted off my shoulders."
Everything began to change. After months of physical therapy, Stephanie found herself picking up heavy toddler Nicholas, even carrying him once around the house. Still unable to move her neck, she would ask him to climb onto her lap, lean forward and give her a kiss.
She figured out that if she sat on her daughters' beds and played director, she could help them clean their room.
"All I have to do is sit there and say, 'That should go here,' and we organize together."
Afraid to turn on the oven, she made her kids popcorn in the microwave instead.
"And you can make ramen noodles," Jane whispers in her ear.
She changed a diaper, drove to her sister's.
"And it wasn't until I could start touching them and could pick them up that they started to bond with me," Stephanie says.
Claire now helps Stephanie get dressed each morning - picking the clothes and putting them on her mother.
The night before Easter, Stephanie stayed up late making baskets for her children. She got out the hot-glue gun and squeezed her hands as hard as she could around it, attaching tiny birds and butterflies to the basket handles.
"It killed my fingers," she says, "but it was such an accomplishment."
She got dressed up and went to church. She and Christian took photos with the children. She even posted one of herself on her blog (nieniedialogues.blog spot.com), where readers have been following her tales of motherhood since before the crash. The photo shows a sliver of her profile, eyelashes long, dark hair just covering her ears, her hand in Jane's as they walk to church together.
"I am coming back," Stephanie wrote on her blog. "I am returning. It feels so good."
There will be more surgeries. She still goes to physical therapy five days a week. She can't yet turn up her palms or grasp objects tightly. She is shy about the way she looks. And she is slowly coming back.
"It's not yet the way I want it to be, and not the way I feel like I've had before, but I do feel like a mom again," Stephanie says. "I can't do a lot, but the things I can do are the things that have helped our family get all together. Those are the things that matter the most."
There is a reason that she lived. In the hospital, Stephanie's doctors marveled at how her body fought, how she avoided every complication common to a burn victim. A deeply religious member of the Mormon faith, Stephanie believes that while she slept, she was given a choice. Life was going to be tough and embarrassing, and, for a long time, she would hurt every day.
"But I can be at my girls' weddings," she says. "When I go out with my mom or see other moms with older daughters, I think, 'That looks so fun. That's how's it's going to be. I lived for that. That's what I wanted to do.' "
It was always that way for Stephanie.
"I have always wanted to be a mother . . . nothing else," she says. "I just feel like the mother figure is the magical figure of the family, the ones that do that holiday with grace and the ones that make everything special. I knew that with my own mother.
"And one of the reasons I fought really hard to live is because I knew my kids needed me to make their childhoods magical, and to teach them how to do that for their own children. That's something that I think goes on and on - a good mother."