Do you remember the old Charlie Brown scenes where the teacher is speaking and all the student hears is “wha wha wha wha”? That was exactly what I was hearing when the doctors told me the extent of my injuries. I was unable to listen. I was unable to even care about what they were saying. I immediately asked the physician “What’s the news with my daughter? Where is she?”
Natalie never came back to that trauma room that afternoon. As I was lying on the cold hard exam table, shaking uncontrollably with a bladder ready to burst, all I cared about was Natalie. I remember feeling numb other than the worry I had for my daughter. The doctors began to tell me about Natalie.
Natalie has suffered extensive injuries. Her spleen is in pieces. She has blood on the brain. Her intestines do not look good. She is going to need a life threatening surgery and we are unsure of the outcome. She may be shipped to Denver.
Tears began to flood my face. My heart felt like it was in one million pieces. My body was flat against the cold hard table and I was unable to lift myself up to wipe my tears. They continued to flood my face and my neck. I got my face sutured and did not feel a thing. I was completely numb at this point. I do not remember much else about the trauma room except for the poor mans face as he was giving me this grim news. I was devastated.
I got wheeled up to my room in my bed and I remember seeing my mother in the hallway causing somewhat of a commotion (later I found out she caused one heck of a commotion because she wanted answers and she wanted them yesterday. I can appreciate that about my mother. She loves her family to pieces). As I approached my room I saw two of my very good friends in the hallway waiting for me. The tears I saw in their eyes is an image I will never forget. One friend later told me she was certain I was going to lose my baby that day and she did not know how she was going to help me through it.
I was numb. I had not eaten since breakfast and had zero appetite. My friends were at my bedside while Adam was with Natalie. The doctors at St. Francis did not feel comfortable performing such a high risk surgery on Natalie so they were thinking of flying her to Colorado immediately. The pediatric surgeon at Wesley was not comfortable doing it on her own, however, thankfully the Chief surgeon for Wesley agreed to assist. Both surgeons were going to take on this challenge together. Praise God! My daughter did not have to leave Wichita.
Before Natalie and Adam left for Wesley he ran up to my room. He did not have much time. He sat at the edge of my bed, held my hand, and began crying.
The Wesley surgeon agreed to do the surgery. It is going to take 5-6 hours. They said it is extremely high risk. Stacy, she may not make it.
She may not make it.
She may not make it.
She may not make it.
That was all I could hear.
How was this happening? It was not possible that I may never see my daughter again. We were just at church. She was supposed to be going to a play date. She was in school. She was so energetic and so lovable… this just could not be. Just the day prior we were out eating lunch together at her favorite spot.. Freddy’s. This was not real life.
Adam rushed out of my room to be with Natalie. I then began to think about what the doctors told me about my injuries…
You have fractured a vertebrae and will need to wear a back brace for 8 weeks.
We are unsure if your pelvis is fractured. There is too much swelling to tell.
Your right ankle is broken.
Your left foot is broken.
Your left ankle is sprained (later found out it was also broken).
I was devastated but I quickly changed my thoughts back to Natalie. I needed to get out of that hospital and over to Wesley ASAP. My friends tried to get me to eat but I could not. I ate a couple of bites of pizza and received a second dose of minimal pain medication. I have never been able to tolerate pain medication very well, so I only wanted a minimal amount, but I needed something. My back hurt so very badly. It was the worst pain I have ever been in… and I gave birth naturally so I know pain! 😳🤣
The house officer of St. Francis finally came into my room to tell me that they were going to make an exception to their policy and allow me to transfer to Wesley. Usually if you leave the hospital without being medically stable insurance will not cover anything beyond that point. They handled everything in a way that I would not be cheated for simply wanting to be near my daughter. I am forever grateful to both hospitals for their hospitality.
The rest of the evening is blurry. I was transferred and admitted to Wesley Medical Center that night. Shortly after I was admitted Adam and Britney walked in. Adam sat on my bed and held my hand.
Stacy, she is out of surgery. The doctor said what they saw on the scans was NOT what they saw when they opened her up. The doctors have no explanation other than a it is a pure miracle. It is a MIRACLE. She is going to be okay.
We cried together as we held hands. We were not able to hug as I could not bend or twist due to my broken vertebrae.
A miracle. God saved our daughters life that day. God performed a miracle that I was not sure was even possible. That moment, that day, this entire experience has changed my life forever. God performs miracles for reasons we do not understand and we do not need to. We just need to have faith and know nothing is impossible with him.
Back to the hospital…
Adam continued on…
They are uncertain of the severity of blood on the brain so they are taking precautions and will repeat scans soon. She will need to have the neck brace on for awhile. She did have some cuts on her spleen and her intestines that were repaired, but overall everything looked okay. They cut her open down the middle of her abdomen and she has about an 10 inch incision. She is on a pain pump and is still asleep.
That is all I remember about our conversation. Adam may remember it differently as I was traumatized and in pain.
I remember having a friend turn on the news and I learned of what actually happened to our family that day. I went from numbness to anger and then back to numbness in a matter of minutes. I laid in that hospital bed unable to move, unable to even urinate in the bed pan without extreme pain, unable to think clearly, and unable to feel anything. I heard voices of family members and friends but none of the words would sink in. My mind was on my babies. My two precious daughters who I would have given my life for on that day in order for them to be okay.
Somehow my husband had convinced Wesley to wheel me down in my bed to the PICU where Natalie was at. As they wheeled me into the room I saw my courageous warrior of a daughter lying in her bed…..lifeless. She was hooked up to multiple machines and had multiple tubes/lines attached to her body. The tears began to flow slowly. It wasn’t until I held her fragile little hand that I became sobbing uncontrollably.
I cried and cried and cried some more. Where was my energetic, full of life, sassy little Natalie?
She was nowhere to be found.
She gave me some reassurance as her hand gripped mine gently. She was weak, but she was alive. How could I ask for anything more?
My daughter was alive! I was uncertain of the future but my daughter was still on this earth with me. Her hand was in mine and I felt the presence of GOD. I felt comforted by the man who chose to spare my daughters life on that April 19, 2015.
I am so grateful that my husband was there with us that day. He used to travel a lot and I know God placed him home that day because we needed him.
While writing this blog I am reminded of the guilt I experienced by not being there for Britney. Adam was with Natalie, so I did not suffer from much guilt (yes still some guilt) for not being there for her, but Britney was basically parentless. Sure she had two sets of awesome grandparents step up to the plate but grandparents are not parents. She also had incredible friends assist her in so many ways. I am grateful that she is so selfless and mature and understood the trials that we were facing. Britney Lynn, you were amazingly brave on that day and throughout this entire journey! ❤️
April 19, 2015 was a day of miracles. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and we had people all over the country praying for us. Social media blew up. Gifts and cards were sent. It was amazing.
God, thank you so much for the blessings you have provided us with.
Part 3 of this journey will be written in the future. Summer has been busy and I am enjoying the time with my family.
I ask every single one of you to hug your family a little tighter tonight. We never know when our time here on earth is complete.