Crystal Johnson

For a young couple, the birth of their first child is an exciting time. Crystal Johnson and her husband, Dupre, couldn’t wait to meet their little one. Crystal worked in the emergency department at Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Apple Valley. On the front line during the coronavirus pandemic, Crystal took leave two weeks prior to her due date.

Early on the morning of April 23, Sophia Joy Johnson was born. Crystal’s labor was complicated and required a cesarean section, but mom and baby were doing well.

Crystal and Dupre met several years ago while in training at the Job Corps in San Bernardino. They married on August 10, 2015, before moving to the High Desert to start their lives together. With their careers established they were ready to start a family. Crystal and Dupre picked out four names for their baby girl. They decided to wait until they held her to select the name. Once they met their little girl, they agreed to call her Sophia Joy.

The family of three returned home, but only for a short while. Crystal didn’t know she had hypertension during and after the pregnancy. With Sophia Joy only a week old, Crystal began feeling unwell. She experienced a headache, left-sided weakness, and slurred speech. Taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, Crystal soon transferred to Arrowhead Regional Hospital. There, she was diagnosed with a right hemorrhagic stroke due to postpartum acute preeclampsia. The stroke affected Crystal’s left side and her cognition and memory.

To safely care for herself and little Sophia Joy, Crystal needed rehabilitation. She was referred to Ballard Rehabilitation Hospital. Crystal spent 16 days at Ballard participating in physical, occupational, and speech therapies each day. During her stay, Crystal longed to see her baby, but the COVID-19 crisis posed a challenge.

Bonding between a mother and her newborn is of great importance. Ballard’s nursing and case management staff got to work on a solution. They made the necessary arrangements to ensure safety for the family and facilitated a visit for Sophia Joy. Isolated in the mobility court, wearing proper personal protective equipment, Crystal, Dupre, and Sophia Joy spent a short time together. Crystal was so happy to hold her little girl again and spend some much-needed bonding time together.

On May 23, one month after the birth of her beautiful daughter, Crystal discharged home. She can transfer from her wheelchair with minimal assistance and walk with a front-wheeled walker. Most importantly, she can hold her sweet Sophia Joy. Receiving home health services, Crystal will transition to outpatient therapy soon.