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A mother's intuition helped save her baby's life

CREATED May. 15, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - They say seeing is believing. But for a Belgium, Wis. family, seeing brought on the unbelievable.

"I for a long time was the only one who could see it," says mom, Heidi.

Baby Natalie then was just a year old.

"She had the most beautiful eyes," remembers Heidi.

Heidi says her daughter's eyes were so beautiful, she was startled when she first saw it.

"I would be looking into her eye and the light would reflect back at me," she said.

Heidi describes it as a white flash. However, every time she called her husband, Jason over to see it, it was gone.

"Even thinking about it now, I can feel tears coming to the surface," says Jason as he remembers the day both him and Heidi saw what Heidi had been talking about for weeks, something eerily reflecting inside Natalie's right eye, and the critical days that followed.

"The doctor said okay come in. I will take a look at her," remembers Heidi.

And then they heard that word, no parents wants to hear.

"We were like tumor?" says Heidi.

A tumor growing, probably, since the day she was born. So large, Natalie was blind in that eye. So large, doctors couldn't save it.

"That following day, I believe it was a Wednesday, she had surgery to have her hole eye removed," says Jason.

It was Retinoblastoma, a form of cancer. And it could have easily spread to her other eye, or to her brain.

"She is lucky to have a mom that is very cognizant and proactive about going somewhere for help," says Natalie's doctor from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Dr. Sachin Jogal.

Doctors gave Natalie a prosthetic. Now she's back to being a brown eyed girl with pink glasses. Seeing is believing. Natalie's life, now proof of a mother's intuition.

"If you think there is something wrong, don't doubt yourself," assures Heidi.

Natalie's battle is not over yet. Every couple months doctors check to make sure the cancer is not back. So far, so good.