October 6, 2018: the Day Three of my Children Could Have Died

I have tried to write in my blog since October, yet no courage could I find. Since January, I have struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. I noticed that as soon as my second child, Sophia, went back to school after her injury on October 6, 2018, I lost it emotionally. Post Traumatic Stress found me, and I cannot seem to write and to suffer PTSD at the same time. However, today, the day before Spring Break for my colleagues and my students, I promised myself that our family has a story to tell. I swore  that I will attempt to tell it. Regardless of how it feels to process it, I must think about that day and recount the tragedy and the terror.

Sophia often takes risks, and she then has to face the consequences. She has abused privileges and acted out in anger, which led to her being grounded for several months prior to October 6th. Finally, the weekend of our Fall Break, her restriction time had ended, and I allowed her to have a friend over for the weekend. It was also the annual weekend of my husband’s family reunion. That Saturday was an ALL day reunion excursion. However, I found myself with a very cranky and loud two-year-old, and I was determined for him to nap before that evening’s auction and dinner. So, I took Bailey, Liam, Angel, Alley, and Sophia home with the intention of returning later.

After returning home, it became apparent that Liam would not nap, so Chris fueled up our Polaris Ranger for the children to ride in the yard while we helped the movers deliver our oven that we ordered. In less than fifteen minutes, Sophia disobeyed us, switched drivers, and left the yard with the Ranger. What happened next would change us all forever. My sister-in-law texted me to get to the end of our dirt road. My babies were all in the road beside the Ranger that was lying on its side. All looked at us except Sophia. She stuck her leg out as it tipped over. Her tibia and fibula were snapped like twigs and were forced through her skin. She was screaming, “MAMA” at a ear piercing levels, and I quickly ran to her. I wanted to know why she left the yard. I wanted to know why she wasn’t driving. I tried so hard to calm her, yet how does one do that exactly?

First responders came. EMTs came. Ambulances came. Helicopters came.

Angel and Sophia were airlifted to the medical center in Macon. I had to tell one of my former students that her child was injured while under my supervision. We never made it back to the reunion. Family members took Liam, Bailey, and Alley back to enjoy the festivities, yet I know they must have felt shock and fear.  Sophia and Angel’s health and recovery were my new objectives. I knew surgery was coming, but I did not grasp the length of recovery. Angel and Sophia spent the first night in the Pediatric Unit at The Medical Center. We parents waited and prayed. Sophia would stay three days; Angel went home after a day.

She received a rod and four pins. The wound even now five months later has not completely healed. I can still see a layer of adipose tissue. It still bleeds. She limps.

sophia's leg
One week post-op

Chris still takes her to see the surgeon each month, and we measure the wound’s progress. The necrotic tissue did fall off. So, she has had to heal and regrow the tissue from inside the wound. Sophia has suffered the most from emotional trauma and guilt from her poor decisions that lead to the accident. Her doctors continue to change medications to help ease her PTSD, and she receives psychotherapy when needed. We talk about her nightmares each morning on our way to school. She returned to school in January and looks almost normal in a group of her peers.

I hope she has learned from this experience. There are many lessons to take away. I am a better person and mother since this experience. I don’t take anything for granted. Chris and I increased our bond over it, and our relationship is stronger. The emotional trauma may not get better for awhile. There were three different families represented in that Ranger accident. I am so grateful and humbled that we all have our children at home to love. Sophia’s military career ended that day; however, I never believed she would have gone into the military anyway.

Unbeknownst to us that Monday in October, Sophia dealt with recovery, and  Hurricane Michael was headed straight for us from the Gulf. His wrath will be my next topic of adventure!

 

The First Sketch of Esmeralda

Esmeralda's first sketch
This is Clare’s first sketch of Esmeralda. My illustrator has made me a happy writer today!! 

When Anya was a baby, I worked on several children’s books to read to her during our year long “term” as mother and child. The year I stayed home with Anya brought many ups and downs for both of us, yet I am so happy that seventeen years after I first imagined this character I see her in reality.  Esmeralda has had so much to do during her imagined childhood that she should be ancient by now. As her first book is illustrated, I feel that I am few steps closer to seeing her in bookstores for many other children to enjoy. Poor Anya has been my guinea pig for more than just my writing. She had to live through my learning to be her mother.