SAN ANTONIO — Part-way through her pregnancy, a woman on San Antonio’s southeast side discovered she had a mass growing in her brain.
Standing in a courtyard near the entrance of her neighborhood Saturday, Briana Gutierrez mused about the bouncing baby boy she has on the way.
"We got like a sonogram when he shows his face, and it just like hit me like ‘wow, he looks like his dad.’"
She learned she was pregnant last September right around her 19th birthday. What she was not expecting: something else was also growing in her body.
She said after she got pregnant, she started having migraines early January, she said one landed her in the emergency room.
"This whole side went numb,” she said. “Like, I can feel my eye just drowsing and I was throwing up a lot."
She said doctors found bleeding in her brain along with a mass that could be a tumor. But they can't be sure what it is until after she gives birth.
"They don't want to put stress on her body,” said Briana's mother Maria.
Maria said the doctors at University Hospital suggested she take time off from her job working overnight at an HEB warehouse so she can watch Briana for seizures.
"But of course, you know, I can't because I'm the breadwinner,” Maria said. “So if I do not work, I don't get money coming in. "
She said there are nights when either she or Briana’s brother, who also works at the warehouse, can be with her overnight. But on nights when they both work, they wouldn’t know if Briana had a seizure until the morning.
Briana said she recently started a job at Whataburger, and she says focusing on work helps ease her stress over the situation, at least until she gets home.
“It's helpful to not think about it.” she said. “But when I get home, I feel my body just aching. It's gotten, like, my head's just pounding, I can feel it throbbing. And, it's kind of like scary, you know?”
Briana said she is taking medication to keep the mass from growing as well as prevent seizures, but there is still a risk.
“It's kind of hard. Like, what would if I do have one? What am I supposed to do? Or how would I - Anybody know, you know?” she said. “It's kind of like one of those situations where you don't really know what to do.”
Briana said she doesn't want to be a burden, but she admits having someone around would give her some peace of mind.
"I could take care of myself, but it's not really like that right now, in this situation," she said.