Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween's Coming Early This Year

We've made a countdown chain to Halloween. We love putting on costumes and making scary faces. Peter's are never anything short of adorable.

Our first Halloween inspired dinner, pumpkin drinks and ghost toast. I am sure there will be many more Halloween-inspired posts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cute School Pictures

Eddie is sticking his tongue out in the pictures to be funny. I love my boys! They are so cute!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Remembering September 7, 2007

Today is the third anniversary of our car accident. I don't think I have ever recorded the events of that day, so I plan to do that here.

It was a Friday. I woke up that morning with a strong impression that I should take a pregnancy test. We were trying to be pregnant, and I knew there was a possibility I might be. After having Eddie my cycles varied between 28 to 38 days long, so I may have already been late but I may not have been. My plan had been to wait until the next week to take a test, but I felt like I should. I got up and took a test, and it came out positive. I woke Ben up and showed him. We were excited. I think I may have written in my journal right away. I don't remember anything else about that morning.

At about 1 p.m. Ben suggested we go to the gas station to buy a drink and then go to the video store and rent a movie to watch later. I was about to make lunch, but we decided a quick trip out would be fine. I had been chatting with my brother, Brent, and my friend, Joni, on gmail. I said a quick goodbye to them, picked up Eddie, and we headed out the door. Because we were just going to be gone for a few minutes, I left my purse and the diaper bag at home.

While out there were two moments where I felt impressed to change our plans. Of course, I didn't recognize these feelings as impressions at the time. After the gas station, I felt a strong desire to just go home and skip the movie store. It was already the plan, though. Ben was expecting it, so I didn't mention anything. The second impression was on our way home from the video store. We passed a store that had some wooden rocking chairs on display outside. I really wanted to buy a rocking chair because I had never had one. I was all excited about being pregnant, and Eddie was only 14 months old, anyway. I really felt I should stop and look at the chairs, but I dismissed the feeling because we needed to go home and feed Eddie lunch and we didn't have room in our car for a rocking chair anyway.

I also think that when I was buckling Eddie into his carseat after the video store, the seatbelt seemed a little messed up near his neck, maybe not tight enough on one side. I thought about taking the time to fix it, but I wanted to hurry home. I am sure we would have missed the accident if I had fixed his seatbelt, and I wonder if his neck wouldn't have been so cut up if the seatbelt had been more secure. Regrets...

So Ben was driving. We were turning left onto our street. The intersection was busy (Peachtree Industrial Blvd and Chamblee-Dunwoody, I believe), as always. The light was green, so Ben had pulled out into the middle of the intersection, waiting for a clear spot to turn left through the two lanes of oncoming traffic. That was how both Ben and I were taught to handle an unprotected left turn, inch out into the intersection and turn when it was clear or when the light was turning red.

Eddie had dropped something and was requesting it, so my head was turned and I was reaching behind me when the accident happened. I knew it was going to happen, though, because Ben said we were about to be hit right before it happened. What had happened is that the light had turned yellow (I saw it yellow before I turned my head). Ben waited for a car to go through the light that he could tell was going to go through the light. There was another car quite a distance behind the car that Ben had waited for. It never crossed Ben's mind that this car would try to make it through the light because it was so far away, but this car did. He was going 55 to 60 miles an hour. The speed limit was 50 mph, but everyone goes faster than that on Peachtree Industrial Blvd. The car was in the innermost lane. So Ben had begun to turn when he realized this car was not stopping. Ben stopped going forward, but didn't have time to reverse. The impact was a head-on collision because the front of his car hit the front of our car on the passenger side (my side). Our car was turned so we were facing the same way the other car had been facing. Our car was pushed a minimum of 30 feet, maybe more. I still remember the noise of the tires being pushed over the road.

Everything happened very fast, but here were the thoughts that crossed my mind before anything else happened. 1. I knew without a doubt that my garments had protected me from more serious injury. That was very clear knowledge that came to my mind-the first thought I had. 2. "Well, at least now we can get a new car with working a/c." We didn't have a/c at the time. We'd tried to have it fixed multiple times, but it didn't ever work. It never once crossed my mind that this accident could be construed as anyone's fault but the other driver's.

The impact caused two interesting things. 1. My glasses had flown off my face, and I couldn't find them anywhere. I can't see so well without my glasses. The remainder of this day, I couldn't see. 2. I was wearing a button up shirt that was buttoned up. All of the buttons came unbuttoned and most of the buttons flew off the shirt in the impact. I think I had one button left after the accident. Thankfully I had a tank top on underneath the shirt.

Immediately after the impact Ben asked if everyone was okay. I remember saying I didn't know if I was okay. I felt like I couldn't breathe. It was just the impact of the airbag knocking the wind out of me. It was weird to me at the time and still now that my first concern was myself. I expected it would have been Eddie, but I guess if you aren't sure you are breathing, you naturally focus on yourself. Ben then looked back at Eddie. When he saw Eddie, he panicked a bit because Eddie was bleeding from the neck. We realize now that the amount of blood coming out of Eddie's neck was minimal, but at the time seeing blood pouring from your baby's neck, you kind of panic. At this time Eddie starting screaming and panicking, too. I opened my door, which, thankfully did open just enough for me to squeeze out of it, and ran to the back door to get Eddie.

It was at this point that all sorts of other people were arriving at our car to check on us. One man opened the back door to check Eddie. He saw me trying to get Eddie out and he told me he was a carseat expert (whatever that is), and that I needed to leave Eddie in his carseat, and that he was buckled in really well-that I had done a good job. I didn't even hesitate to remove Eddie from his carseat, as he was screaming. A man who worked at a car repair shop also arrived at the car and told me I could wait in their shop where it was nice and cool. I don't even know if I asked Ben if he was okay. I took off to the shop. It was very hot outside, Eddie was very upset, there was a lot of commotion. Ben knew where I was going, and I left.

At the shop, we were given cold water and one muffin. It had nuts in it, which Eddie had never had. I prayed he wouldn't be allergic to nuts and began pulling out the actual nuts and feeding Eddie the muffin in small chunks. He calmed down, and I calmed down a bit. Tears ran down my face the whole time I was at the shop, though.

After maybe 15 minutes, I took Eddie back to the accident. An ambulance was there. Ben was still sitting in the driver's seat and was surrounded by people. I learned that the other driver, a man, was unconscious and had already been taken to the hospital. (I prayed for this man a lot that day; he ended up being okay. He was from out of state, in ATL on business, the car was a rental). There was an ambulance there for us, just one. The paramedic was telling me I could refuse to be treated or I could go in the ambulance. Apparently, though, children had to go to a different hospital than adults, so I would have to be separated from Eddie. I refused. I signed some paper that refused treatment for me and rode in the ambulance with Eddie. We didn't have family to call. I didn't know what to do. If I had been clearer headed, I wouldn't have taken an ambulance to the hospital. I was just worried about Eddie, not sure if he was really okay and I wanted him to be treated. Here was an ambulance. I was forced to make a decision, so I got in. Ben knew where Eddie and I were going. He had the logic to grab a few things from the car and put them in my purse (like the rented movies). I knew his foot hurt and was bleeding, and I knew he was going to be taken to the adult hospital in another ambulance. The paramedic told me that the hospitals were kitty corner to each other, so I told Ben to just wait at his hospital and I would come and find him when we were done at the children's hospital. I had a cell phone and Ben did not. Ben at this point had not tried to stand up, and I had no idea how serious his injuries were.

The paramedic removed Eddie's carseat from our car (who knows why since you aren't supposed to use them after an accident) and buckled it into the ambulance. He put Eddie in it and made me sit on the other side of the ambulance, also in a seatbelt. Eddie screamed his head off the whole time. His arms were reached out to me, and I couldn't reach him by a long shot. I just sang "I Am a Child of God" to him the whole ride to the hospital, not caring how I sounded or what others thought. It broke my heart then and still now to see how scared he was and how much he wanted me and that I couldn't do anything about it.

We arrived at the hospital and Eddie and I were taken into a room. I don't remember much about the visit, other than that we were taken care of quickly. They said he was fine; he'd be bruised and sore and I had to keep his seatbelt cut medicated so he didn't get infection. I asked for a diaper and they gave me a couple and they also gave Eddie an apple juice. At this point someone came in and asked my name and said someone was on the phone for me.

I went to the front desk and Ben was on the phone. He was at the other hospital. He was in a room. He'd been seen and was waiting for doctors to come back. He apologized about the accident. He said the cops said it was his fault, and he got the ticket. He felt terrible and was really worried about us. He did say that one witness had left his card saying he knew it wasn't Ben's fault. I think this may have been when he told me he was going to be admitted. The only thought I had held onto during all of this is that soon we would all be back home together. I was just holding on until then. The news that he wouldn't be coming home with me was devastating.

I used the bathroom and asked someone how to get to the other hospital. They explained it to me, and Eddie and I started what felt like a long walk, though it was actually very short. It just felt long because I was almost completely blind without my glasses. I honestly couldn't see anything and had to rely on knowledge in my head for finding the place. I had to cross a super busy road, which scared me to death even though I was crossing on a crosswalk with the green walking guy signaling it was okay. I held out one arm, signaling to traffic to stop with my hand because I was so scared we were going to get hit.

I found the emergency room in the other hospital. I inquired about Ben and was sent back to a room, where he was laying in a bed. His foot was completely dressed in gauze, but it was also completely soaked with blood. I was surprised by all the blood. He said there had been much more blood earlier. I learned that his heel had been shattered, that surgery would most likely be necessary, and that they didn't know when it would take place. He needed an orthopedic surgeon to come see him. For the time being he was just to wait in this room until he could be moved to a permanent room in the hospital. He ended up not being moved until maybe 8 p.m. or even 9 p.m. Doctors and nurses did check on him every few hours. His foot may have been dressed a few times. Ben asked for food at some point. They said they'd bring him some but they never did. When he got to his room late that night they also said they'd bring him food and never did.

Eddie and I went in and out of his room, visiting him. I remember going outside and calling my mom at some point (several hours after the accident, the first phone call I made). She sounded all excited to hear from me. She said she was just about to call me, and I felt sad to have to interrupt what would have been happy chit chatting with such terrible news. She cried and asked if I wanted her to come out. Of course I did, but I knew it was stupid. What could she do? So I said no and told her I would keep her posted. I wanted to cry to her to tell her that I was pregnant and I was so worried about the baby, but I didn't mention the pregnancy because Ben and I hadn't talked about telling people yet, and we'd waited months to tell people we were having Eddie. Ben called his family at some point, but I don't remember if he used my cell phone or not.

I knew I would need to call someone to ask for help, so I called my friend Jen. She lived the closest to us. I was closer with her than anyone, not that we knew each other very well yet at all. She was at a farmer's market. I told her what had happened and where we were. I asked if she could come be with me at the hospital. I told her Eddie was hungry. She came right away. I remember watching for her through the window of the waiting room. I remember seeing someone in white capris with really tan legs, and I knew it must be her (remember I was practically blind). She came in and gave Eddie food, some sort of drink and maybe a granola bar? I don't remember. She sat with me. My brother Brent called, and she sat with me while I cried to him. I then talked to her about whether I should be seen by a doctor or not. My chest hurt, and I was worried because I was pregnant, though I didn't mention that yet. She encouraged me to be checked. She helped with Eddie while I talked to the people at the front desk and they took my info. She went back with me so she could help with Eddie while I was being checked (I didn't want to be out of Eddie's sight, and I didn't want to be out of his). She had her son with her, who was one year older than Eddie. I told her while we waited for the doctor that I was pregnant cuz I knew she was going to hear me tell the doctor about it in just a minute, and I wonder if she'd already overheard me tell the nurse when I was getting checked in. She was so nice about it, so excited for me.

I had some xrays done and everything looked good, so I guess I just had some internal bruising. By this point it was dinner time and we were all starving. Her husband was finishing up school. They had had plans with friends that she canceled. She asked her husband to come to the hospital and bring Chick-fil-A. She asked what I wanted, chicken nuggets, fries, and lemonade. I said I would share with Eddie, which she thought was silly, but that is what I would've done anyway. We didn't think about Ben needing food because we didn't know how neglected he was.

James, her husband, showed up with food and took Jonah, their son, home. Jen ended up giving Ben her food because she realized how hungry he was.

Our hometeachers showed up, don't know who called them. It was good to see familiar faces, though I wouldn't call us friends with them at that point. They were dressed up. They gave Ben a blessing and helped him give me a blessing. I don't remember Ben's blessing, and all I remember from mine is that I need to stop questioning why this was happening to us (this thought had been in my mind all day) and start feeling so grateful that we were so protected. All day long Ben had been saying how blessed we were, how happy he was that we were okay. I just felt negative and upset. Oh, the blessing also said that I should let Eddie sleep with me that night and take comfort in being with him.

Once they came to move Ben to a room, we said goodbye to him. Jen went to the children's hospital to pick up the carseat I had left there (I hadn't realized yet that it was compromised). She came back, picked me and Eddie up, and took us home. She then went to her house to get some antibacterial medicine for Eddie's neck and came and brought that to me.

Ben called after he got settled in his room and told me how he was still so hungry and how he was basically being ignored. He also told me he was in a lot of pain and no one was giving him pain medicine, though they said they would. These things upset and worried me.

Eddie and I laid down in my bed. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw and heard the accident. Eddie slept, and I eventually dozed.

Sometime that evening my mom had called my brother, William, who lived four hours from us. He stopped mid-mowing the lawn to take my mom's phone call and never went back to finishing it. He gathered up his family, quickly packed up, and drove to Atlanta to be with me. I learned at some point while I was at the hospital that he was coming. He arrived at midnight. He gave me a blessing that night that confirmed what I already knew about my garments protecting me and that said that's it's true that death is around every corner (I couldn't stop thinking about how we could have lost our lives).

It was a hard day and I had no idea how much harder it was going to get before it got better. I got new glasses the next morning. Ben came home from the hospital the next day. His surgery was scheduled for a couple of weeks later, when the swelling went down. I had no idea that Ben would be confined to our couch for so long. I didn't know how many hours we would spend each week at his doctor's office or how many months of physical therapy he would require. I had no idea how much he would struggle just to get to school and how much I would worry about him. I had no idea he would be on crutches for months. I had no idea we would have to spend days in court (the court eventually decided that both drivers were at fault) or pay so much money on hospital bills and deal with such headaches with insurance (we hadn't even had our insurance cards with us). But it all worked out for the best. We witnessed a lot of love. We were given a new carseat. Multiple ward members let us borrow cars long term (it was two months before we bought a new car), and we received many rides to appointments. Ben's parents drove 17 hours from Arkansas to see us, though they only stayed an hour. The best blessing of this accident, though, was how our family grew closer. Prior to this accident, Ben was so consumed by school that he literally never had time for us, especially for Eddie. Ben and Eddie fell in love with each other these months while Ben laid on the couch. They played a lot together. Our family grew so much because of it.

I am happy to be so removed from this day, but I am grateful for all the lessons I learned. Here's to no more car accidents!