Part I. The Day...

I can't think of a decent title for this story. The fact of the matter is that this phrase can end in almost any string of words and it would describe that day.

It was Christmas Eve of 2012. I had a newborn, a 2 year-old, and a gorgeous husband. It had been an inconsistent night of sleeping and when the baby awoke at 6AM, my very sweet husband got up quietly, gathered our little one into his arms, and made his way downstairs. Merry Christmas to me. More sleep. He is so very thoughtful.

And then I heard it. I can say it was a series of bumps. I can say it sounded like drums, but the only apt description is the sound of helpless weight rolling down stairs accompanied by the frantic cries of a man. For a split second there was silence...and then (thank God) a wail. A very small wail.

I don't know how my legs got me downstairs, but I met them both in the living room. She looked pale. He looked as uncharacteristically unsettled as I have ever seen him. It was clear she was uncomfortable and then she threw up. By 6:04, my husband - in nothing but his slippers and pajamas rushed our barely clothed newborn across the icy street and into the E.R.

I threw on anything I could find and gathered up my toddler. I remembered to bring toys - just in case it was a long day. I rushed her along the street in the cold, dark morning while she clung her baby to her chest...not the Christmas we had envisioned.

I walked into the ER - which was empty- and just said, "I'm looking for my husband and my baby." I could see a small group of nurses and techs and office staff huddled together with grim looks on their faces. They shot glances in my direction and hushed their conversation to a whisper. I saw a man kind of shake his head.

As I entered the room I didn't notice my husband and stared past the doctors as they made introductions. All I saw was her. She was ashen. That means "gray." There is no other way to say it elegantly or poetically. Her skin was gray. They were trying to get needles into her and couldn't. They were trying to get veins, but nothing seemed to be working. So, without intravenous anything, they took her to have a CT. I went with her. I hushed and tried to calm her...which seemed more for myself than for her. At this point, she was moaning...barely audible moans.

We walked back to the room - where the nurses again tried to get a vein - no luck. Two seconds behind us was a man in glasses and black scrubs. He said "Brain hemorrhage, life flight, chaplain." My husband crumbled. He's not a crier. So, I kind of stared at him. I declined the chaplain and walked over to my girl. I just talked to her. I knew at some point my husband walked out to call an Uncle (also a neurologist) to try and decipher what was really happening. I just stood next to my girl. I talked calmly to her and to our oldest. The nurses were no longer trying to get veins...they would wait on the air medics...as air medics were generally more experienced with babies this small. I told my husband to take our oldest back home to pack a few bags - he needed a job. We would need to drive two hours to meet her at the Children's Hospital and I didn't want us to waste any time once she was in the air.

The medics entered and I just tried to stay as close to my baby for as long possible. I needed to see her, to smell her, to let her know I was there. She was so gray and so very quiet. One of the medics got my attention.

"Do you get air sick?"


"Will you impede our treatment of your daughter should something happen? We can't worry about you - she is our priority."

No. Of course.

"Would you like to fly with us?"

Yes. Thank you.

I called my husband and told him to get a head start on the road. The medics and I loaded up and took off for a 45 minute flight. My baby was "not stable." The air-medics did their thing. They moved quickly and soon had IVs in her little arms (finally). She was still grey. I was silent. The whole time I was praying. Not eloquently. A little girl's prayer of faith. "Father, please...please." I am comforted by the fact that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.

Once they had done all they could do and all to be done was wait, the men tried to calm or distract me with banter about one's upcoming nuptials. His fiance was a nurse at the Children's hospital. Would we mind if he checked in on us in a few days...they never have the luxury to check in on their patients...it would be his day off. Then...

I heard words like "stabilizing" and I could see her cheeks were pink.


  1. just so you know this made me cry and im really fighting the urge to walk to your house and give you a hug. Love you and your strength.

  2. I am on the edge of my seat.