The Rest of the Story

Rachel teaching Anna violin a few weeks ago

Several people have contacted me and asked how Anna is doing and how she got injured.  I have meant to post about it; but this past week has been very eventful and I just have not had the time to sit down and write.  Also, we needed time as a family to pull together and help the two who were deeply hurting through this whole ordeal.  We are so thankful for the difference a week can make!  God has been so good to us.

Last Wednesday, we were getting ready to leave for church.  I had just finished the dinner dishes in the kitchen when Anna came in and asked me if she could go out and get in the van because she was ready to go.  I remember looking right at her and wondering if I should have her stay inside because it was going to be a few minutes before Rob was ready to leave; but I told her that she could go and wait for Dad.   I can see her in my mind’s eye opening the door and telling me goodbye as she walked out the door.  (I was not going to be going to church because James had been into the doctor earlier that day and was sick, had just started his antibiotics and been in bed most of the day.  I would be staying home with him while Rob and the others went to church.)
Anna working on school work a couple of weeks ago

I came in and sat down on the couch and was talking to Rob as he was finishing getting ready.  He was straightening his tie in front of the bedroom mirror and I could see him through the doorway as we chatted about his day at work and just normal life stuff.  It was as we were talking that I heard the most horrific scream I have ever heard in my life.  It was Abbey and every decibel of her voice was laced with fear.  I jumped off the couch and I kept hearing her call for both me and Rob and she was screaming for us to come fast.  My feet could not run fast enough.  I knew something was really wrong.  I threw the front door open and remember it hitting the wall as I ran out.  The screams continued.  I was sure that the girls were being attacked by a vicious animal – I could hear the fear.  At the same time Rob was running out of the house right behind me; and Rachel in another area of the house was running through the kitchen grabbing a drying towel.  (She was sure that someone had been bitten by a poisonous snake.)

I rounded the side of the house to see Abbey laying over Anna, when she saw me coming she stood up and I saw that Abbey’s hand and arm were covered in blood.  I thought she had cut herself and went for her and then I heard Abbey telling me that it was Anna.   Abbey ran over towards the porch and knelt down on the ground sobbing and pounding the ground.  I picked Anna up and saw the blood spurting out of her head; I looked towards the woods to see what was around that would have caused her to get hurt.  It was then that I saw the baseball bat and my heart sank.  I felt a sadness that overwhelmed me.    I laid Anna on the back porch; Rachel came and knelt beside her and started compressing the wound and assessing the damage.  When she looked at the wound she could see the skull despite all the blood that was coming out; it was then that she looked at me and said, “We need an ambulance.  Call 911.” I rushed for my phone in the house and Rob grabbed as many kitchen towels as he could and ran to help Rachel on the back porch. 

When I got inside James was already on the phone with the 911 operator.  I took the phone and started talking to the dispatcher.  In the next 15 minutes we waited for help to get there.  Rachel monitored Anna’s pulse and Rob tried to talk to Anna to keep her calm.  I assigned James to stay with Abbey who continued to sob on the ground by the front porch.  It was as excruciating wait.  We contacted our Pastor and his wife to tell them what had happened and that we needed their prayers.  Anna’s pulse continued to drop with the blood loss; but she was still conscious and Rob kept telling her that she was going to be OK.  For a while there, we were not sure that was going to be the case.

I have never felt so torn as I did during those fifteen minutes.  On the back porch I had a little girl with a serious head injury; while on the front porch, I had another daughter who was overwhelmed with sorrow and kept repeating, “I didn’t see her.  I tried to stop the swing; but she came up behind me!”  I kept going back and forth to both daughters – my heart hurt for both of them!

After Anna was transported to the hospital thirty minutes away a CT scan revealed that she had a compressed fracture to the skull and would need specialized care at a Children’s hospital.  An ambulance was called for transport and we were told that she would most certainly need surgery to clean up the fracture.  I texted our Pastor the news and asked the church to pray.  (My text came in just as our church was breaking to pray during the midweek service.)  As we prepared to go to Children’s our church family was going before the throne of God on our behalf.  I believe that God answered their prayers and the peace of God that filled our hearts during this time was unexplainable and supernatural.  God is so good! 

When we got to Children’s they were waiting for the neurosurgeon to come and told us that we were looking at surgery in just a few hours.  We continued to pray and to sit and wait; but when the neurosurgeon came; he felt that since there was no signs of  swelling going on in the brain he was comfortable waiting through the night to see how she did.  Around three in the morning we were able to dim the lights to her room and rest a little.  Abbey sat by her bed and held her hand the entire night.  I prayed for both of my girls as I rested in the recliner next to Anna’s bed.  Through the night people from church would text me telling me that God had awakened them and prompted them to pray for us through the night.  One friend messaged me and told me she was going to spend the entire night in prayer for us on our behalf.  It was overwhelming and comforting to know that not only God was with us through this valley – our friends were walking right beside us in their prayers for our little girl.

After a lengthy wait, it was determined by a team of doctors that we were good to wait and not have to do surgery.  There was no swelling on the brain and there was no sign of damage to the brain.  We were so thankful!   Anna was sent home late that afternoon and we are continuing to monitor.  We go in for another CT scan to see if the skull has popped out and is in the proper place where it can heal together.  They have mentioned that if that does not happen after the swelling in the head goes down; they will need to go in a do a surgery to pull that little part out.  (Like a dent in a car is how they explained it.)  They are very confident that it will repair properly without surgery and we are praying to that end. 

As we look back on the events of last week; we find we have so much to be thankful for.  So many little blessings.  I just wanted to list a few of them; because once again we are in awe with how God works and realize that there are no coincidences in our lives.  Our Heavenly Father fine tunes the details and works all things for our good.  We, as His children are able to trace His fingerprints in our lives and see how He works all things for our good.   Here are some of  the blessings we have seen through this:

*Rachel was scheduled to be gone last week.  She was to be training for a mission’s trip she was planning on going on.  She found out a few weeks ago that her EMT training was not enough for the trip to Liberia and so she would not be going with the team overseas; and thus would not need training in Atlanta.  Thus, Rachel was home!  We were so thankful to have her there with us helping Anna with her EMT training.  God is so good.

Eating lunch on Thursday.  Chicken nuggets are her favorite! 

*Abbey had just covered in one of her classes in school how to handle an emergency when someone is hurt. God had given her the information she needed just days before.  She remembered from her class to try to help the person lie down so that they did not hurt themselves secondarily from falling after the injury.  She said that point came right to her mind the moment the bat hit Anna and somehow God allowed Abbey to catch Anna so that there were no other injuries from her falling or being thrown from the hit.  She fell into Abbey’s arms!    Abbey also remembered that her teacher had told them to never leave someone who was injured; but to call of help.  Abbey stayed with Anna until we got to them and compressed the head wound because of the training she had received in her class just days before.  Again, God is SO good!

*A neighbor was across the road and heard Abbey yelling for help.  He came running over and also was able to make a 911 call.  He also helped Rachel with Anna until help arrived from the ambulance team.  How thankful we were that even out here in the country there was help available to us and God allowed someone to hear Abbey’s screams for help.  What a blessing to have people who are willing to offer their assistance and help when needed! 

*Anna never lost consciousness.  This is a HUGE blessing.  

*Anna’s pulse was dropping lower and lower because of the blood loss.  Within minutes of people finding out from church that we were in need of prayer we saw Anna’s pulse come up and a calmness come over her.  She was so calm that when they got her into the ambulance and hooked her up to the heart monitors her heart rate was NORMAL and her blood pressure was NORMAL.  I am certain that God gave her a peace in her heart that kept her calm; and that this was in response to people praying for her at that very moment!

*Another thing I am so thankful for is that we live in a country where we have first responders.  How I offered my praise to the Lord when I heard the sirens approaching.  What a blessing!

*I am so thankful for my family. I watched as Zak went up and knelt beside Abbey and held her and patted her back telling her it was OK.  Even though his words were scrambled at times because of all the stimuli you could see his care and compassion for his hurting sister.  Not even Autism was powerful enough  to hide the love and concern he had for Abbey.   As I sat in the ambulance as they stabilized Anna and got us ready to head to the hospital, I watched as my kids made arrangements of who would come to the hospital.  James gave Rachel money out of his pocket in case there were expenses where we would need cash.  Zak was standing beside the side door of the Ambulance telling Anna that he was praying for her and Rob was rubbing his back and promising that he was stay with him.

*Normally Zak has a very hard time with traumatic events and we find that we have a huge set back after dramatic situations.  Zak has had NO issues because of this!  God gave His peace to more than just Anna!  Rob was able to stay with Zak who needed his Dad to be with him; and that helped him through this. How thankful I am for a husband who cares for his children.  Rob said he was so torn as to what to do because he so wanted to be with Anna.  How thankful I am for how tenderly Rob cares for Zak and his needs.  Truly there is a bond between Zak and Rob that is breathtaking.  I am blessed!

*Abbey has a verse of scripture that is texted to her phone every day.  As the doctor was telling us that Anna’s skull was fractured Abbey’s phone buzzed with her verse for that day.  It was this verse:  “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.”   
Nahum 1:7.    I have prayed that this event will strengthen Abbey’s faith in the Lord.  She was telling me just yesterday how much that verse meant to her the moment it came and how she has clung to that verse in the past several days.  God uses ALL things for our good. 

Abbey sitting next to Anna through the night.  Perhaps one of the most precious pictures I have of these two.  One daughter resting soundly - the other daughter fervently praying. 

*When they were putting Anna in the ambulance to head to Charlotte I was able to sit right beside her.  As she lay there on the stretcher resting I watched the heart monitors and thy blinked and prayed to God.  I told the Lord she was His.  How thankful I am that God knows and understands the heart of a Mom.  While I gave her to the Lord and left her in His hands – I know He also understood the desire of my heart and did not fault me for that.  He knows I love her.  How thankful I am that He allowed us to keep her!  How thankful I am to know that if God had decided to take her home to Heaven that He would have given the grace to walk through that time also.  My God can be trusted with my heart and my treasures.  How thankful I am for a God that loves me!

Anna had a bit of a difficult morning on Thursday.  She looks so little in that big bed!

Thanks so much for all your prayers.  Now, you all know the ‘rest of the story’ – so to speak.  God is so good to us and I am so thankful for all He has done in this situation. The night we brought Anna home from the hospital we all gathered together as a family in the front room and thanked the Lord that He had allowed us to be together as a family again.  It was a sweet time as we reflected on how fast life can change.  One moment we were getting ready for church – the next moment one of us was hanging between life and death.  Cherish the days you have with your family – you never know what tomorrow can bring!

Painting a pumpkin in the Children's Hospital Rec room while they were observing her for brain swelling.  BTW, her hair was stiff like glue from all the blood.  We still had not been able to give her a shower yet at the time of this pic!  :)

I trust as you read this you have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  He brings peace through the difficulties of life; and the assurance that this life is not the end.  I know if Anna had not made it through this that she would have been ushered into the arms of Jesus; because she has placed her faith and dependence upon Jesus Christ.  I trust you have that assurance too; if you do not – I would love to talk with you about how you can know Christ and experience His salvation.  

Going in for her stitches to be taken out.  She was very scared; but she said,"it didn't hurt a bit!"  

Reading a book "All by herself" while waiting for the doctor to come in and take the stitches out.  God is so good! 



God is so great and our only reason for Hope in all things. I am so thankful for your family and am thankful that God is there for you and for the healing he has given. God bless you all. love you, connie

Jennifer Fink said...

Your writing and testimony are so powerful. I have tears running down my face as I read this, b/c you put me right in the moment. God bless you and your family, and bring peace to Abbey. What a horrible accident -- but just an accident, and an accident that led, ultimately, to so much good. I loved hearing about the way your family came together to support one another. You are doing something very good indeeed.