Life was sailing on smoothly. We had just welcomed our third baby into the world three weeks prior and we celebrated her baptism that morning with a “party” as my 3-year old called it; our dearest friends and family celebrating with brunch and gifts. We were happy, we were content, we knew we were blessed but we were just going through the motions, we went to church on Sundays but were not taking the time to really thank the good Lord for the things he had given us recently.
February 15, 2015, just after 10:00pm. She should have been in bed hours ago, but the day was so exciting, and the day before was Valentine’s Day, this is what kids live for! She had been looking forward to this weekend for weeks, and for a 3-year old, that’s a really long time! She just could not wind down and came into our room time and after time needing that one more thing: a glass of water, to go potty, a song, a kiss. In her sweetest voice she asked her daddy to cuddle her one more time. He and I shared the look and, with a simultaneous eye roll, we both knew he needed to go, though our fuses were getting short.
After a few minutes, I began to drift to sleep, the baby began to fuss and I automatically got up to tend her. Then, I heard my husband, in a tone that I will never be able to shake… “Lex… LEX!” I knew immediately something was terribly wrong and rushed to meet him in the hallway where he held our sweet girl in his arms, I froze, her body was stiff, eyes wide, fists clenched, shaking uncontrollably… then she went limp “Bryn” he shook her… “Bryn, stay with me, stay with me… Lex, help, call 9-1-1!” The panic in his voice was unbearable. My body was numb with fear and adrenaline, I rushed to our room and felt around in the darkness for my phone to make the call. I couldn’t breath, what was happening?
I had a flashback to elementary school when we were told the best thing a person can do when calling 9-1-1 is stay calm, so, after hearing “9-1-1 what’s your emergency” on the other end, I took a deep breath and calmly explained through tears and a trembling voice. She was unconscious, there were tears in my husband’s eyes when he looked up from her belly as we discovered she was still breathing. Thank you, God. I stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until the ambulance arrived. Meanwhile, using my husbands phone, we called my parents who were thankfully still in town to come over, it was late and they knew right away something was wrong, all we said was “It’s Bryn, she is breathing but the ambulance is coming” and they hung up and were there in an instant.
We watched as the paramedics attempted to wake her and check her vitals, she seemed to check out okay. My husband knelt by her side and stroked her cheek; I could see the agony in his eyes, the confusion in hers. The paramedics insisted we take her to the E.R. in the ambulance so that she could be monitored. “Seizures occur in your brain and it’s not something to mess with”, the paramedic insisted. Almost as if it were a sign, she began vomiting uncontrollably. So, with a quick change of clothes and a substitute blanky, my husband rushed out of the house to the ambulance with her. I stayed behind until someone could come to be with our 17-month old as she was asleep.
My dad waited with me a few minutes until we knew our 1-year old was set, then we loaded the baby and drove down to the hospital where Bryn was taken. We held hands and prayed the entire way there, which was more than I had done in a year–the drive itself seemed to take a year. None of us knew what the next 48 hours would bring, but looking back, I’m thankful for it all.