Life: it can change at any given moment, cherish each moment.
5 days ago, yes, 5 days ago we learned this the hard way. We praise Our Lord that our outcome is positive, and we pray for those people who don’t have the same happy ending we did.
Saturday morning, December 28th, 2013: a day I will never forget and hope to never relive. We were packing for a ski trip with my family to Boyne Mountain in Michigan, a tradition we were so excited to bring back. Originally, I had wanted to leave at around 10am, but Josh wanted to get some things done at the other house so I agreed to wait until later in the day. Looking back, this wasn’t my plan, it was God’s way of working. I was getting into our hallway closet packing Claire’s bathroom items for the week. She was being her normal self all morning: playing, laughing, talking and at the time crawling all over me. For a second I didn’t feel her or hear her so I looked to my left and there was my sweet Claire with her head agains our wall, body stiff and eyes rolled back. I panicked! I picked her up and ran her to Josh screaming, “there is something wrong with her, help there is something wrong with her!” (The tears are building as I recant this memory.) I ran to our bedroom, grabbed my phone and told Josh to call 911 while I started CPR- it was my first instinct. I remembered my recent CPR training and transferred Claire from the bed to our floor and continued the compressions. As Josh was on the phone with the dispatcher she opened her eyes and lifted her head back and took a breath, but her head went back again and her body stiffened once again. The dispatcher told me to stop CPR. I remember feeling like it was helping and didn’t want to stop it. I also remember Josh yelling, “Our daughter is dying, someone needs to get here fast, we are losing her!”
What a scary moment, a moment I never wish upon any parent, any person.
We finally, after what seemed like an eternity heard the ambulance coming down our street. As soon as we heard it we ran outside. I was carrying Claire. She still wasn’t awake. I gave her to the EMTs and yelled something to the extent of don’t let her go, help my baby. I was hysterical. They took her into the ambulance and worked on her. Shortly they came out and said she was stable. They let Josh go in there and listen to her heart. I was still hysterical so they did not let me. My dear neighbor came out and just held me as I cried and prayed for my sweet girl.
I am not sure how long it was, but they came out and said she was stable and that I could come in and see her and listen to her heart. Saying I was relieved was an understatement, but still so fearful of what was wrong with our sweet girl. They asked many questions, but we were unsure of what had happened. They thought maybe it was a seizure, but they didn’t see it and we had told them she was not convulsing: it was more of a stiffening of her body and jerking her head back. We decided Riley was the best place for us to go, so off we went in an ambulance.
It was the longest ride of my life to downtown Indianapolis. Claire slept the whole ride down, all I could do was pray: I prayed we she would be okay, we would be able to bring her back to our home, and that God wasn’t taking her. I was so fearful! Claire immediately woke up when the ambulance hit a pot hole and then started to pull off her oxygen mask and fought the EMT when he put it back on her.
We were admitted to the Emergency Department where there were more questions and more checking of Claire. She started to act more like herself: wanted to walk, trying to pull off all the cords and wanted to feed her baby doll. They ran a test and it came back clear and they were ready to just transfer us to be monitored through the night…. until… they came into check her ears (she had just had tubes), stuck the triangular device in her right ear and she immediately seized again. This time it looked like a seizure and she convulsed a little more. It was a little shorter than the first time. They then loaded her with some anti seizure medicine and let her recover until they began to run more tests and transfer us to the ICU at Riley Children’s Hospital.
It was a long day & night to say the least.
With each test came more fear.
We cried… a lot, we prayed… even more, and fear overwhelmed my heart.
The outpouring love from family & friends was the only thing that kept us going. The number of voicemails, text messages, and Facebook posts and messages we got were incredible! There were people all over this country praying for Claire! Our family… our friends…. Friends of family… family members of friends… friends of friends… fraternity brothers…. friends from the Y… co-workers… my grad school family… friends from high school I haven’t talked to in years… friends from our church… friends from the church Josh grew up in… the list goes on. I even got a message from a girl we met on a cruise we took 2.5 years ago who worked at Riley and wanted to visit and say hi when she was at work the next day and that she would be praying for our sweet girl. I met this girl on a cruise, we became “Facebook friends”, but we never kept in touch or hung out and she was kind enough to reach out to me, send me a personal message, offer her prayers, and come to our room to say hello. My heart was just overwhelmed with her kindness… the kindness of everyone, really!
Luckily we never got to see the girl because she worked the night shift on Sunday and after a long day on Saturday, a sleepless night and many rounds with doctors on Sunday morning we were released to go home! The cause for Claire’s two seizures are still unknown, but we do know it is not anything major or what the neurologist called “scary”: no bleeding of the brain, no tumor, no swelling, etc. The doctors say because it was 48 hours after her ear tubes it couldn’t be related to them, but our parental instincts are making us feel differently.
In the meantime, Claire is on anti-seizure medicine and will have an MRI on January 13th. Each day without a seizure my fear decreases… a little. I am hypersensitive to any move that even resembles the beginning of one of her seizures. Each day I cry a little less and Praise Our Lord more, giving him thanks that our sweet girl is in our home laughing, crying and being the little girl we love and adore.
The image of her laying lifeless on our floor, giving her CPR and running her to the ambulance still taunts our minds. We so bad want it to go away, but at the same time we never want to forget how we felt so we can continue to be grateful for each day we have and remember what a blessing it is to be together in this Earthly life- it is short.
The care we were given at Riley was amazing! In just 30 hours we were given a new appreciation for the doctors, nurses and staff at a hospital that is in our own city- we will forever be supportive. We were humbled by the other families at Riley. There were children on our floor who had been there for what seemed to be weeks and we know there are children in that hospital that will never leave. On that day, 5 days ago, we had a glimpse of a world we never want to see again… a world we don’t wish upon anyone… a world that will forever be in our hearts, in our minds and in our prayers.
Sometimes we don’t understand God’s plan… we just have to trust it is His plan….
Through this plan he taught us to trust in Him: He is faithful. He taught us to take more time to pray not just for our family and loved ones, but for people we do not even know. He taught us to be grateful for each moment we have together as it is a true gift.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4: 6-7