Have 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