Scotch Tape and Prayer

Emma was in a little crib in the PICU, she was the only child there that night. My mom found a flight out of San Diego that night and she and my dad were in their way down there. Corey’s mom was in a car on her way from Conroe and her husband was an hour behind her. My brother was on the road from Nashville and his girlfriend was book on a flight the next day. Michelle, Emma’s Godmother, was booked on a plane graciously paid for by her classmates. And I didn’t know what else to do.

I did the only thing I could do, I begged for prayers! I’m part of a few larger groups on Facebook- doggy groups, a running group and a few mom groups. I didn’t know what else to do so I begged anyone and everyone of my groups to pray for my child. I sent messages to the church I grew up in in California and our church in Texas. I also put a pubic post on Facebook and begged people to share. Thousands of people responded, commented and shared. Our pastor came to visit, pray and sit with us. I prayed and sang Amazing Grace to my baby girl.

I felt helpless. When Emma was five days old, we took her to church for the first time. I gave her to God that day and many times over the course of her short life. Every time I felt anxious cause she was at day care, wouldn’t sleep or she wouldn’t stop crying- I prayed for peace and Gods protection. I knew he was with her and with us, but I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I couldn’t understand why- We were faithful, we prayed, we tithed, we trusted. I still don’t understand.

I know my God is big enough to do anything, but I also know that God sees the larger plan. He has given us free will, and he has given us the ability to make mistakes. I do not believe that it was God’s plan for my child to die but I also know that we live in a broke world and sometime, for us to keep our free will, God must allow bad things to happen. I also know that this was not our fault, this was not our mistake. This is the worst thing that could have happened, and I hate it. I wish my God would have taken away our free will to save my daughter, but I know that is also not the plan. I do not know why this happened, there is a lot I don’t know. But there is a few things I do know- I know I will see Emma again someday, I know she is safe, I know she is loved, I know she waiting for me and I know God will use this for good. Romans 8: 28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Support and prayer have come from all corners of the world. Many people just simply say “I’m sorry” or “we are praying for you.” But I also have had many women who reached out to say “I’ve been where you are and I’m here if you need to talk.” These women became a life line to know I could get through this and I am thankful for each and ever one of them. My running group was amazing. They encouraged me to get back out there and keeping running. These beautiful women started the #lovemilesforemma (one of them ran the route below, impressive, right?) and got me back on my feet in a very tangible way. My daughter and her stroller were my running partners and my first run without her was more difficult than I thought it would be. We were training for my first 10k, unfortunately, I missed it but some day I will run it for her.

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Each prayer, each message, each stranger is like a little piece of scotch tape holding a little piece of me together. The stranger and flight attendants who allowed me to cry and talk to them on my flight back from family in California held me together. My friends are always there when I need to cry or complain or yell or just need a distraction keep me together. My family who will never allow me to forget the good times and remember the hope protect the fragile bonds that are holding the pieces.

Thank you for your support, your love and above all your prayers. They truly are keeping me together and giving me hope.

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My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. -Psalm 119:28

 

The Eye of the Storm

20180311_110443Have you ever wondered how you would react in a crisis? Would you panic? Would your mind freeze or move 100 miles an hour? Would you know what you needed to do or would you run away?

When I first heard the dreaded words “Emma’s not breathing,” I panicked! I froze and collapse on the ground at work. I couldn’t see, couldn’t think, couldn’t speak. Then my mind cleared. I started yelling for someone to call Corey, my husband- I just stared repeating his cell phone number till someone said they were calling. Then I realized I needed to get there. My manager said let’s go and grabbed his keys. I don’t know how many traffic laws he broke to get me there in record time, but I know there were a few- the speed limit is just a suggestion right?

I was in motion. Corey was in motion. Now it was time to mobilize everyone else. Texts went out to my best friends and my church group. A call to my parents to notify them. No answer from mom, call to dad to find mom. No answer from my mother in law- next call was to my sister-in-law to ask her to get a hold of the mother-in-law. Everyone was in motion. My number one request was PRAY! PRAY Emma is ok! Pray! PRAY! Pray!

When we pulled into the day care parking lot, I was out of the car and running. A Williamson County Sheriffs Deputy caught me first and stopped me, then I saw my little girl. Three EMTs were pushing her toward the ambulance. She was covered with a thin sheet and they were pumping air into her little body. She was so little on that huge gurney. Corey was behind her and grabbed me. He held me and promised she would be ok. The sheriff deputy walked me to the front seat of the ambulance and a young EMT hopped into the driver’s seat. I heard the sirens scream as we pulled onto the road. As he drove the EMT explained that Emma’s heart was beating but she was not breathing on her own. He also told me to give them room when we got to the hospital, I knew this but the reminder was probably a good thing.

I stumbled out of the ambulance when we got to the hospital and walked into the side door with my husband’s arm around my waist. The cold, still air and hospital smell hit me and a young woman, whose face I will never forget but name I cannot remember, met us. She was a social worker and I hate that I cannot remember her name. We stood there as the wheeled Emma in, he was surrounded by nurses, doctors and her EMTs. We stood in the back of the room as they worked. The doctor called out that there was a red mark on her right ear, stating it was a possible injury. I corrected her, the red mark is a birth mark, she’d always had it. As they called out her vital signed I heard the worst words of the day. I heard the ER doctor call out that Emma’s eyes were “fixed and dilated.” I also know what this meant, this was not good. I cried NO and the young social worker (I think) pulled me into the hall way.

She tried to get me to sit, but I couldn’t. I needed to walk- I need to move- so she walked with me. I paced the ER. Small, slow steps. I stared at my feet and just kept them moving cause I needed to do something and I could not help my little one. She asked me about Emma and I talked about her. I talked about her smile and her little giggle. I held it together because I knew I needed to.

I don’t know how long we were in the ER but it felt like a lifetime. When the nurses took Emma for her first CT scan, the social workers took Corey and I up to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). The chaos and the storm raged around me, and I felt frozen and useless.

That feeling doesn’t stop. The evening, when they took Emma for more tests, Corey and I went outside for some fresh air, I remember listening to the cars in the road in front of the hospital, I could understand how they were still moving. I couldn’t understand how they didn’t realize the world- my world- was falling apart. I froze but the world kept spinning around me. I was the eye in the storm of chaos.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.—Matthew 5:4

 

The Journey Begins

On March 15th, my little Emma, was at day care when I got a call that she was not breathing and EMS was called. I work 20 miles south and immediately rushed North. My husband was home, he was there within 10 mins. I arrived just as EMS was loading my baby into an ambulance. All we knew was she had stopped breathing and her heart had stopped, they were able to restart her heart but she was not breathing on her own. I was allowed to ride in the front seat of the ambulance as we drove with lights and sirens to St David’s Children Hospital in Austin, TX. There she was evaluated by the pediatric intensive care doctor and pediatric neurologist. Unfortunately, she has suffered catastrophic brain damage and we were told to “pray for a miracle.” On Saturday, we made the decision to remove life support on Sunday March 18th. It was the easiest and most difficult decision I have ever made. My heart broke when her heart stopped.

My husband blamed himself because he had the day off work and could have kept her home with him but decided to take her so he could do some work around the house and on his truck. I blamed myself because I chose this day care and they failed to protect my child.

Throughout my life I have had many ups and downs. There were times when I never thought the sun would shine again. In these times, I have always leaned on my family, my friends and my faith. Here I was share the struggles we face as a family and the joys we find- raw and real. There will be typos because sometimes I just can’t type. There will be tears because sometimes it’s all I can do. There will be smiles because Emma was amazing. And above all there will be joy because I choose joy.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. -Romans 8:28

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