I know most {probably all} of you are also my friend on facebook and already know about everything we went through a couple of weeks ago. However, this is my attempt to sort my thoughts and clear up any questions that might be lingering about what exactly happened {not that we actually even know!}.
We have two girls. Two healthy girls. Two girls who haven't even been to a doctor in nearly 2 years. They are never sick. Sure, we get the occasional cold, bouts of seasonal allergies and maybe even a 24 hour flu now and then. In my opinion, nothing that a few extra movies, a nap on the couch and a cup-o-noodle won't fix. Maybe it's because I have a sister who has spent much of her life in a hospital or doctor's office, but I am just not a run-to-the-doctor kind of person. I'm grateful for them, but we just don't need them very often.
We've been very, very blessed.
On Labor Day, the girls and I went to the gym in the morning, we ran some errands, we went to Target and each girl picked out a new outfit to wear on their first day of enrichment {that Wednesday}, we ran home and ate lunch and then Emma had her piano lesson. We finally got home in the late afternoon and both the girls went to try on their new outfits. To say they were deliriously excited would be an understatement. This momma usually picks out all of their clothes. This time, I bit my tongue {rather hard} and let them choose whatever they wanted {and they did not go straight to the clearance rack. Proof that frugality is not genetic. sigh.}. They paraded around the living room, modeling their new clothes and backpacks.
And then, just like that, everything changed.
Emma had a seizure.
I still start shaking when I think about it, even now. How fast it happened. How we went from a perfect day to 911 in a matter of seconds, literally! Providentially, Jake had just walked in the door from work as it started to happen. I'll never forget the look on his face when he came running into the living room after I screamed for him. And I am so thankful that the Lord waited brought Jake home when He did. I can't imagine what I would have done alone...
I've had to go over the details of this day so many times with the fireman, paramedics, Memorial ER nurses and doctors, another set of paramedics, and the dozens of doctors, nurses and specialists at Valley Children's that I wanted to tape record it just so I wouldn't have to say it one more time. They all ask the same thing. "What happened?" And the most frustrating part for me is the only answer I can give, "I don't know!! She was completely fine just seconds before!" And then I'd go into a minute-by-minute run down of her day..."We went to the gym! Nobody said she fell or hit her head! Maybe she fell?! She was wearing new, not pre-washed clothes! Maybe there was a chemical or something on the clothes?! She gathered the eggs from our chicken coop just before it happened! I know I told her to make sure she washed her hands! Maybe she didn't?!" But of course, none of those things were it. Those were just a momma trying to make some sense out of something that just didn't seem to make any sense! There is a part of me that wishes I could say that she had complained of a headache, that she was just recovering from the flu or even a cold or that she had recently taken a fall. I wish there was something that might explain why. In my human-ness, I feel like if I had some reason, I might be able to prevent it....or at least be better able to predict it, should it ever happen again.
She was first taken from home to Memorial Hospital. I believe {I have to} that her ER doctor took this very seriously and did whatever he knew possible to do to try and figure out what was happening to our little girl. He was not one of those belligerent, know it all doctors. He didn't ignore us, her parents. He told us over and over again that we were welcome to stay by her side the entire time. We never felt like we were "in the way". I could tell by the way he talked to Emma {she was completely out of it during the entire stay due to the anti seizure drugs they administered in the ambulance} that he wanted desperately for her to open her eyes and be alright. I know from the way he immediately reassured us that she would be in much more capable hands at Valley that he had correctly read our looks of panic after telling us that she would be transported there. However, he attempted and failed {three times} to do a spinal tap on Emma to rule out meningitis. Three spinal taps that lead to days of agonizing pain for our girl. Three spinal taps that weren't necessary because she never had a fever and therefore, could not have had meningitis. Hindsight....
I honestly don't even know what time it was when Emma and I left Memorial in the ambulance with a paramedic, an RN and an EMT headed for Valley Children's. It was dark outside. {This is how much of the next 4 days passed....no concept of time or days...} Jake had left us at Memorial when he knew the transport team was on the way so that he could run by the house and pack us a few clothes. Emphasis on few. {Note to self: be really specific. If you want socks, say you want socks. ;)} We were taken into the ER at Valley and Emma was assessed by a few doctors and it was decided that she would be admitted {although they weren't so much deciding if to admit her, but rather where...originally we were told she could possibly go to the ICU.} I do know that this was at about 1 am. I know this because as we were parked outside of what was to be her room, she finally woke up! It had been a very long 9 hours of pleading with her to open her eyes. Of course, she was still in a drug induced fog and immediately panicked and began sobbing, asking where we were and why. Mostly, she wanted to know what day it was because she hoped that she hadn't missed enrichment. She remembered she had a cute, new outfit to wear. :)
I will write another post about how we feel about Valley Children's and the Ronald McDonald House. It's still too overwhelming right now. {In a good way.} Those are both amazing places and we were beyond blessed to be able to take advantage of them. {And I have a few ideas for how we - you, too! - can give back to them. Because I feel like that's a big part of what we learned in these places...there are needs and it's so, so easy for us to do something to help meet them!}
During our 3 day stay at Valley, Emma had an EEG and an MRI. We met with the neurologist that will be monitoring Emma from now on. We still don't know what caused this. There is something that showed up on the MRI that they're looking at a little more closely.
They told us not to worry. We're trying.
In the meantime, we have a medication {Lorazepam} that we are to give to Emma in the event of another seizure. So our lives have changes a little. We watch her a little more closely {although a little less everyday....and by "little less" I mean I let her out of my sight for 10 minutes at a time now, instead of trying to wear her in a sling. I call this progress.}, we let other adults know what to look for.
We pray. We pray more fervently, more thankfully.
See, we didn't anticipate this. We weren't prepared for it.
Our God was.
He wasn't caught off guard. He wasn't thrown for a loop. He knew before the very foundation of the world that this would happen.
He was right here in our living room as it happened, He was in the back of that ambulance with Emma {and in the front seat with me keeping me from coming out of my skin listening to the siren wail as we sped to the hospital}, He was listening as {what seems like} every person we know and many that we have never met hit their knees and pleaded for Emma on our behalf {Another aspect of this that is still too overwhelming to talk about. Just know that if you're one of those people, we are grateful beyond words.}.
And He knows if it's going to happen again. We don't. The doctors don't. He does.
Every week in church we recite, as a congregation, the Apostle's Creed. It's basically a summary statement of all the things we believe to be true about our faith.
The very first line is, "I believe in God the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth..". I think the explanation of this line as found in our Heidelberg Catechism explains what I'm feeling about my God, especially in this situation, better than I can. It's how I'm able to have hope and trust Him to take care of Emma {better than I or any doctor ever could}.
"What do you mean when you say, 'I believe in God the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth'?
That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth and all that in them is,
who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence,
is for the sake of Christ, His Son, my God and my Father,
in whom I so trust, as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul,
and further, that whatever evil He sends upon me in this vale of tears,
He will turn to my good;
for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,
and willing also, being a faithful Father."
And one of the proof texts for this is Matthew 6:26 {a verse that I heard Jake telling Emma often at the hospital when she would start to panic and get upset}..."Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"
On October 8, we return to Valley to meet with the neurologist. We hope to have a few more answers about what he saw on the MRI and where we go from here.
But our real hope, our real peace comes from the knowledge that our faithful Father formed Emma's very being and He is not puzzled by any irregular MRI.


Stacie said...


So scary and I don't even know what to say except we will continue to pray for Emma, and for you guys!

Sunny said...

You put this whole thing into such eloquent words. To see how your faith has carried you through the unknown, and that you are trusting our Lord through it all, it is amazing and inspiring. I do hope and pray that you get some answers. Just know that I am here for you whenever you need anything; a hug, a prayer, a shoulder to lean on. Anything at all.

*CPA* Su said...

Sunny's right - you really expressed all of this so wonderfully. I love the ending that brings so much hope and peace! I love your faith! Your family was in my prayers during this tough time and I will continue to hold you there as you seek out the answers.

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