“Nooooooooo!!!” I screamed. I braced myself as I hear the screeching tires and see the spinning white car forcefully hit our windshield. Then another hit. And then again once more. It all happened so quickly, but at the same time all was in slow motion.
I remember thinking this must be a movie. I remember thinking this cannot be real. As I open my eyes and see the flying debris, the smoke, the bloody airbag, and the cars in front of me at a halt I could not determine if this was a nightmare or real life.
The pain in my back was as sharp as a knife. I immediately call my precious daughters names… “Britney?! Natalie?!” Britney responded. Her voice was so innocent and I could hear the fear. Natalie only grunted. I turn around and all I can see is blood coming from her mouth. She was awake but not well. Her eyes and lifeless body suddenly told me that something was seriously wrong with her.
The pain begins to worsen in my back and now I feel the pain in my feet as I see blood dripping from my face. I look down and see both ankles the size of softballs. I cannot walk. I push the door open and begin yelling “HELP!”. I instruct Britney to get out of the car after I make sure she is okay. I tell her to watch for cars (yes, even in traumatic events I have my protective mama bear instinct in me). She starts running in the smoke filled street. HELP! Please help us!
A tiny, beautiful, brave, injured, traumatized, innocent little blonde hair girl having to run to get help.
Within what felt like seconds I saw a swarm of people running our way. Selfless, generous, genuine, caring individuals. These people were purposefully placed in our paths that day. The details are blurry as I had only one thing on my mind… my children.
I was then lifted from my drivers seat from a man I have never met and that I would never see again. I only allowed him to take me once I knew someone was taking care of Natalie. I lost sight of her for a few moments and I panicked. I saw flames. Where was Natalie??!! Britney was already on the opposite side of the street where I would be placed on the grass for safety. Britney has always been such a mama bear. She was standing on the grass keeping her eyes on Natalie and myself to make sure we were taken care of properly. She later told me that she was not scared. She knew what she had to do. Her fear did not set in until we settled in the ambulance and she got to actually look calmly at Natalie.
Natalie was placed in the grass behind me maybe 20 feet away. I heard a lot of people yelling. Commotion everywhere. People running to the flames.
“Natalie! Natalie! Mommy is coming!”
I was instructed to lie flat to protect my neck and back. I was instructed to also stay still, but no amount of pain, debility, or instruction was going to keep me from my baby.
I started scooting myself along the grass. I did as good as I could with a broken back, two broken ankles, and a broken foot. I was trying my best to keep my body flat while I scooted along the grass to hold my daughters hand. I finally got close enough to her that she could hear my voice and I could touch and see her. She was not well. Her voice was weak.
Mom, my stomach hurts. It really hurts.
I could hear how badly she was in pain by her voice. I told her not to speak any more. I wanted her to save up all of her energy. I did not know what lied ahead but I wanted her to have rest. I wanted her to be calm and to not stress. Several people began praying over her. Others were attending to her needs and asking her questions.
My husband arrived after he had received a phone call from a stranger on my phone telling him Your family was in a horrible wreck. You need to get here as soon as you can. He fortunately was only a couple of miles away as we had left Sunday church close to the same time. My father and my husband were going to play golf while the girls and I were headed home. He ran down the street from the nearest stoplight as fast as he could as my father was not driving fast enough for his liking. He came to me first and I told him to go to Natalie. He then knelt down beside her and immediately pulled out some of her teeth that were just sitting in her blood filled mouth. The terror I felt when I heard someone ask my husband “will you grab those teeth so she doesn’t swallow them?”
“God, what just happened??? God, please save us! God please save Natalie”.
I began bartering with God. I began telling him what all I would give up in order to save my daughters life. I begged of him to take my life and to spare hers. Yes, I realize this is not how God works. In the moment of crisis I needed to tell God how to handle the situation because that was all I could do. I had zero control. Our lives were in his hands and possibly for the very first time ever I realized that our lives are always in his hands. In between talking to Natalie and to the emergency room physician who just so happened to be at the church right by the wreck I kept praying.
“God, please heal Natalie. Take away her pain.”
I never prayed for myself. It never even crossed my mind. I did ask God “why us?” a lot on that April 19th, 2015. Otherwise I wanted my children to be safe and to feel no pain.
We were finally lifted into the ambulance. My pain seemed unbearable. I began shaking uncontrollably and became very angry. “What is taking so long? Let’s go! This is an emergency!” Never mind my pain. My daughter needed help and she needed it awhile ago. She continued to complain that her stomach hurt and by this time she was having difficulty talking. Natalie began grunting again.
It hurts mommy.
I am so tired.
I want to sleep.
I just want to close my eyes.
“Don’t you stop talking to me Natalie. You cannot sleep right now, okay? Please keep talking to me. You keep fighting.” My heart was in 1000 pieces at this point. I was dying inside for my little Natalie.
Britney, Adam, and myself were all telling Natalie she had to keep here eyes open. I am a Nurse Practitioner and I know how important it is to stay awake after an event like this. I refused to let her fall asleep!
Britney had reassured me time and time again that she was okay. Her chest was hurting and I could see a horrible burn from the seatbelt. She was brave. She was so strong and mature. She made a call to our friend Jill who was expecting Natalie for a play date to let her know she would not be there because we were heading to the hospital.
The moaning and the pain continued for Natalie.
Ouch it hurts!
The ambulance ride seemed to have taken forever. We finally arrived at St. Francis hospital and they wheeled us into the emergency trauma area in a hurry. Doctors, nurses, and resident physicians were all around me. While other doctors, nurses, and resident physicians were hovering around Natalie. They were asking us a billion questions while they were cutting off our clothing and examining us. I kept telling them I wanted Natalie to be addressed first and they reassured me she was being examined at the same time. All I could think about was Natalie. “Natalie, stay awake sweetie. You have to fight Natalie! You can sleep later!” I would hear her soft little voice respond to me with an one word response. She was still moaning.
We eventually went our separate ways when we both needed MRI’s and CT scans done. As they wheeled Natalie out of the room I told her “I love you Natalie. You do not stop fighting.”
That was the last I saw of Natalie until many of hours later. It was not until after I underwent my testing that I learned that I may never get to see my baby again…..
People are placed in our lives for a reason. The incredible people placed at the scene of the accident was not by mistake or by chance. God placed them there. God is great. God is my best friend. God can move mountains. Do not lose your faith in our God. He is mighty. He is good and he is gracious.
Part 2 of my story of miracles and inspiration will be posted soon…. stay tuned.