The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 11, 1997, Page 9, Image 9

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ABOVE: BOB COFFEEN, Katherine’s grandfather, holds his new grandchild. The older of the two Husker fans muses ~
that Katherine will better fit her scarlet jumpsuit when it comes time to bring her to her first Nebraska football
game. RIGHTS CLETUS HOLDS his 3-week-old daughter in Kim’s parents’ house after a baby shower.
Prenatal check-ups prevent risks
Though Kim Coffeen’s story has a happy ending,
it may not have been so.
Her doctor Terrence Kolbech said that by not get
ting prenatal care or delivering the baby in a sterile
setting, Kim put herself and her unborn baby in dan
Most women have about a dozen prenatal check
ups, Kolbech said, but for women who have none, like
Kim, the risks are many.
“Death is number one,” he said. “They could bleed
to death.”
Kolbech said Kim also could have developed a con
dition known as toxemia pre-eclampsia, signaled by
elevated blood pressure, swelling of lower extremi
ties and protein in the urine.
If not treated, it can develop into eclampsia, which
can lead to a coma or convulsions and seizures in the
mother from the 20th week of pregnancy to the sec
ond week after birth.
Other pregnancy complications vary from tom fe
male organs to having a miscarriage or breech birth.
Kim also could have needed Caesarean section sur
gery to deliver the baby.
“You can’t gauge the risk factor,” Kolbech said.
“It is risky behavior. Anybody who can avail them
selves of medical care should.”
Being a teen-age mother puts Kim in the highest
risk category, Kolbech said. Though hiding a preg
nancy is common for mothers Kim’s age, he said, he
does not know of any mother — anywhere — who
successfully delivered a baby by herself.
Kim’s daughter Katherine is healthy, and Kim has
recovered from the anemia that resulted after the ex
treme blood loss during birth.
“She’s pretty lucky, and I think she realizes that,”
he said. “She’s lucky she had a nice, healthy baby.”
Kolbech advised young mothers to ask their par
ents for help. But if turning to parents is not a choice,
there are other options.
Kim found the number for Nebraska Children’s
Home in the blue pages of the Lincoln phone book,
which lists several entries under “Pregnancy & Child
Bobbi Richard, the caseworker from Nebraska
Children’s Home who came to Kim’s residence hall
room, said her organization is one of the many offer
ing help for unplanned pregnancies and single moth
During pregnancy, the organization offers coun
seling and options for parenting or adoption. It also
can set up temporary housing and medical assistance. I
It offers Lamaze classes and can arrange individual or
group pregnancy counseling.
The organization will arrange either open or pri
vate adoption. If parenting is the mother’s option, the
center has a network of single parents, parenting
classes and counseling.
All options, including medical care, are kept con
fidential. Nebraska Children’s Home can be reached
at (402) 483-7879.
Bob said he will make it possible
for Kim to be a good mother without
sacrificing her education or her career.
“Katherine will not be an anchor to
her for her getting her ship to dock.”
That type of support should be ex
pected out of any family, he said.
“I’m not doing anything any differ
ent than any normal parent would do
for their child.”
Kim’s lesson about family is one
she wants to teach other young women
who might be in her situation. She’s
even considered speaking to UNL
groups about the fear and danger in
volved in what she did.
She and her doctor agree she could
have died during labor. They say she is
very lucky that Katherine is perfectly
healthy, and that her own health has
“I would never go through this
again,” she said. “I don’t think anybody
should have to go through anything
alone. There’s nothing you can’t tell
your parents.
“Sure, they're going to get frus
trated and angry, but at the same time,
they’re always going to love you no
matter what.”
And what cloaks itself as bad news
may be a blessing in disguise.
“All this baby can do is bring joy to
this family,” Bob said.
Katherine brought the family closer
together, Kim said, and brought her and
Clete closer together.
“There is nothing negative about
this baby.”
And Kim’s outlook as a young
mother is that she'll have a strong bond
with her daughter. She looked over at
the sleeping Katherine and said, in an
intense whispery voice. “Oh, God. 1
love her.”
Indeed, as Kim. Clete and their
families agree, Katherine Grace is the
grace of God.
Photographs f