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Rexburg mom shares her story of delivering a 425-gram baby girl

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REXBURG — A local family said they’ve seen countless miracles despite their baby girl being born a micro-preemie, weighing only 425 grams.

It was March 26 around 3 a.m. when Brandie Tagg, who was 23 weeks pregnant, suddenly woke up with chest pain. She tried to work through it for an hour, but as time went on, the pain got worse. Tagg told her husband, Chapman, to stay home with their two-and-a-half-year-old son while she went to the emergency room.

“I got to Madison Memorial (Hospital), and I walked in. I was crying. I was like, ‘Something’s wrong with me, and I’m pregnant. I need help,’” Tagg recalls telling an employee. “He said, ‘Let me get a nurse and make sure you’re not in labor.’”

Tagg did a urine and blood test, but it was still unclear what the underlying issue was. Her doctor told her she would be transported by ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls because she might need to deliver her baby early.

Once she arrived at EIRMC, her blood pressure skyrocketed to about 190/100. She later learned she had severe preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. She also had developed Hellp syndrome, which is a potentially life-threatening disorder of the liver and blood that’s usually associated with preeclampsia, according to Healthline.

“Within two days (of being admitted), the neonatal specialist came in and was explaining to me what birthing a 23 weeker would be like (if I had to), and that was awful,” Tagg said.

Tagg was told her daughter’s chance of survival was about 30%. If she did survive, the chance she wouldn’t have any issues was extremely low.

“(They said) we need you guys to decide as a couple if you want us to completely intervene and do everything we can to keep her here, or if you want us to just give comfort care,” Tagg remembers hearing.

Ruth Tagg
Ruth Tagg’s first picture after she was born. | Courtesy Brandie Tagg

On March 30, Tagg’s blood pressure spiked again, and before she knew it, she was quickly being prepped for a C-section. At 12:14 a.m. on March 31 — which was 23 weeks and six days of pregnancy — Ruth Tagg was born weighing roughly 15 ounces and measuring 10.5 inches long.

“We heard a meow,” Tagg explained. “Chapman was like, “Did you hear that? That’s Ruth.”

The doctor told Tagg it was a miracle Ruth made a noise because babies that young can’t breathe on their own. But that wasn’t the only miracle. Ruth’s pediatric surgeon — and first-ever at EIRMC — started working at the hospital the day after Ruth was born.

“She would’ve been life-flighted if he (Dr. Adrian Curnow) wasn’t there,” she said. “They told us we would’ve been holding our breath that she would’ve even lived through that flight to have her surgery.”

Tagg said she’s not sure how they keep going from week to week, but advice from her sister, who also has a micro-preemie son, has helped.

“Hope for the best but expect the worst,” Tagg said. “It’s a harsh motto to have in life, but when you have good expectations but not too high of expectations, it makes things a lot easier to go through.”

Tagg added her family is grateful for the medical professionals taking care of Ruth and that their help, along with relying on God, has given them strength.

“Her life is all dependent on Him right now,” Tagg added.

Ruth is now 13 weeks old and a little over four pounds. She’s had surgery on her bowel, intestine and heart, and she’s currently on a machine that helps her learn when to take breaths. She will most likely come home on oxygen, has a 25% chance of also coming home with a feeding tube and in six months, she’ll undergo laser eye surgery. Ruth has at least three more months in the NICU.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with medical bills. Click here to donate.

AvantGuard in Rexburg, a company that provides monitoring solutions, will hold a 5K run to also raise money for Ruth’s medical bills. More information can be found here.

Brandie and Chapman Tagg
Brandie and Chapman Tagg with their daughter Ruth Tagg. | Courtesy Brandie Tagg
Brandie Tagg holding Ruth Tagg
Brandie Tagg holding her daughter Ruth Tagg. | Courtesy Brandie Tagg
Ruth Tagg at the hospital
Ruth Tagg in the hospital after being born at 23 weeks and six days. | Courtesy Brandie Tagg
Ruth Tagg holding her moms hand
Ruth Tagg holding her mom’s finger. | Courtesy Brandie Tagg
Ruth Taggs diaper compared to cc
Ruth Tagg’s diaper compared to the size of a credit card. | Courtesy Brandie Tagg

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.