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‘Miracle baby’ born amid tragedy survives and thrives

Mother dies giving birth; father, grandmother living in motel
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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Born three weeks premature and weighing in at six pounds, Elizabeth Rose spent the first 10 days of her life hooked up to tubes and ventilators at Sutter Memorial Hospital. As he watched over his tiny daughter those first few days, Robert Nauyoks also faced the loss of his best friend and lover. “I knew Kim for 14 years. We had only been together for three years,” Robert Navyoks said. On Feb. 15, Kim Burgess began complaining of neck and shoulder pain. “She thought maybe she had slept wrong,” recalled Robert’s mother, Lillian Nauyoks, who had shared a motel room with the couple since December. “She was in so much pain. Then she began having labor pains.” In the emergency room at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, doctors began monitoring mom and baby. As they were preparing to do an ultrasound, Kim’s heart stopped, Lillian Navyoks recalled. While doctors attempted to resuscitate the 23-year-old woman, a physician’s assistant performed an emergency Caesarean section. “They couldn’t save Kim,” Lillian Nauyoks said. “She apparently had an aortic dissection (a rare phenomenon). Nothing could have been done for her.” Elizabeth, in the meantime, wasn’t breathing when she was removed from her mother’s womb. After nearly four minutes, doctors got the newborn breathing with the help of a ventilator. She was later transferred to the pediatric ICU in Sacramento. When hospital chaplain Lynn Gilbertson arrived for work the following day, she joined the hospital staff for a blessing ceremony for the Nauyoks family and the emergency room staff on duty the previous evening. “It had been an incredible night for everybody (on staff),” she said. “It has been described as an once-in-a-lifetime delivery – to deliver a baby post-mortem.” Gilbertson also realized she had already supported the family through another horrible loss. In 2009, she recalled, Lillian Nauyoks’ then 23-year-old son, Greg, lost his battle with colon cancer. He had been fighting cancer since he was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 14. For the next 20 days, the family waited and watched as Elizabeth Rose fought for her life. She was finally released on March 6, her father’s 29th birthday. “I can’t believe she survived with no major complications,” added Gilbertson. A few days later, Robert Nauyoks called Gilbertson to set up a time to bring the baby in for a visit with the emergency room staff. “We just can’t say enough good things about Sutter,” he said. Although the proud dad expected a routine visit, the hospital staff turned the tables on him. “The people who were here for the birth decided they wanted to do something,” Gilbertson said. “So they had a baby shower. It was cute to watch these guys fighting for a chance to hold her. They were so excited to see her.” They also presented Robert with an album filled with cards and messages. “So someday she will have something to look back on and know the people who were there with her and helped her come into the world,” Gilbertson said. The “miracle baby,” as Robert Nauyoks describes his daughter, continues to thrive. At a doctor’s visit on Monday, he proudly announced, she weighed in at 9 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 22 inches. While their days (and nights) are focused on caring for Elizabeth Rose, the longtime residents of Loomis and Rocklin are continuing to search for jobs and a home. They were evicted from their Rocklin apartment in December after Lillian Nauyoks was unable to pay the rent on time. Although she had been delivering papers for a Sacramento area newspaper, a delay in receiving her paychecks meant she was late paying rent. She has since lost that job. Robert Nauyoks, a security guard since he was 18, lost his job two years ago when the company folded. He’s been unable to obtain another security guard position because most companies want armed guards and the $300 to obtain the permits just isn’t in the budget. And yet, he’s serious about finding work, adding that he can operate a forklift, has applied for a contractor’s license and has considered rebuilding the landscaping business he founded in 2007. Friends of the family have also been attempting to help out. The owners of the Rocklin Mini-Mart, friends of the Nauyoks since 1990, have been collecting donations to help the family pay for diapers and formula (Similac). The store is located at 4504 Pacific St. A family friend has set up a savings account for Elizabeth Rose at Chase Bank, 2200 Sunset Blvd., Suite 200 in Rocklin. Donations to help this miracle baby can be made to Account #000003016284829. While the family is facing emotional and financial struggles, Gilbertson is sure of one thing when it comes to the newborn. “One of the wonderful things about this story is this is a baby who will be deeply loved,” Gilbertson concluded. _____ How to help: Donations to help the Nauyoks Family can be left at Rocklin Mini-Mart, 4504 Pacific St., or made to Savings Account #000003016284829 at Chase Bank, 2200 Sunset Blvd., Suite 200.