The Worst Minutes of My Life, Part 1

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Mike, she's not breathing. Her lips are blue!!"

"Get her out of her seat, Get her out of seat!" Mike frantically shouted.

I felt deranged as I struggled to find the release button to pull the straps loose. We've only had Cayman's car seat for a short time and its differences compared to her infant seat have not become familiar to me yet. My shaky hands worked quickly though and got her unstrapped. I reached under her body and lifted Cayman out of her seat. Her head plopped backwards and her arms and legs just hung there. My little toddler has never been more heavy and awkward to move. Twenty pounds, 34 inches of complete dead weight. It was in that minute when I felt my body begin to shiver.

Mike took her from my arms and ran for the revolving doors to the hospital. It was not the smart route for us to take as those doors automatically move at a speed much too slow for such an emergency. It was the most noticeable, most obvious entrance and in our panic we did not see the regular doors next to the revolving ones. I stepped into the next compartment behind Mike and Cayman. I pushed the revolving doors with all my might, unsuccessfully trying to move them faster.

When in the clearance Mike ran with Cayman down the hallway to the E.R.

He disappeared quickly from my sight as I was still caught within the revolving doors. Out of breath, I put my head down and pushed with all my might, formulating plans to break the glass if the door would shut down against my force.

Once in the clearance I felt flustered by the construction's plastic tarps all around. We've been in this hospital's emergency entrance before but since the remodeling it seemed different to me and I felt lost.

All the people around watching our frantic scene began pointing and shouting to me, showing me the direction to go.

I ran - I ran with a mighty strength that I have never felt and did not even know my legs were capable of since my spinal cord injury 16 years ago.

I turned the corner passing by the window's view of the emergency room. I caught a glimpse of Mike's face. Cayman was not in his arms.

In my mind as I had been running I was thinking Cayman would just start breathing again on her own with ease as if she had only been voluntarily holding her breath. She would be okay.

The look on Mike's face - terror! And I knew everything was not okay.

"Where is she?" I asked Mike.

He pointed to a doorway straight ahead. I could hear Mike's wailing sobs become faint as I ran toward Cayman's room.

The level of fright I felt at that moment when I saw her nearly paralyzed me and I stopped running just a few steps from her.


Blue all over.

And completely pale.

"Is there a heartbeat?" I asked.

"No." The nurse responded quickly as she turned toward the intercom and called out "I need a crash cart in here." She started performing CPR on Cayman.

The necessary force of the compressions were hard to watch - the brutal movements, Cayman's lifeless body.

I left the room.

Mike and I fell into each other's arms and just sobbed.

Nearly fifteen people appeared in Cayman's room almost instantly.

There was so much noise and commotion. I had to break out of Mike's tight embrace and walk just enough of a distance away to muffle the sounds coming from Cayman's room.

Praying, hoping, wishing.

Realizing that in the next few minutes we would be hearing the final words of pronouncing Cayman dead or that she's been revived.

Time stood still.

We were told it was less than a minute -around 45 seconds- that they performed CPR. It seemed so much longer.

And then we heard the most beautiful words ever -

She's alive!

*The Worst Minutes of My Life, Part 2

21 Showin' Comment Love:

Grandma S said...


It breaks my heart to hear what you and Mike went through. How I wish I could take your pain away. I am so glad that you can put your feelings into words though. It has to be therapeutic to do so.

Hopefully, soon those memories will just seem like a bad dream. We're already starting to see our beautiful little Cayman Cindy again. The smiles in her pictures are priceless.

We love you.

Tara said...

This brought tears to my eyes just reading it. The complete emotion I know was just unbearable. I pray you find peace with this situation and that it does not haunt you and Mike.

Shannon said...

Oh Kristen! I could barely finish reading through the tears. My heart pleads that over the coming days and weeks (or however long), God will bring you peace, relief, and freedom from the memory of that fear, and that He'll wrap you, Mike, and sweet, strong little Cayman in His inpenetrable comfort and healing. What an awesome reassurance we have to know, even in those moments, that He had not loosened His grip on your family.
The girls, Ian and I are praying for you all, and especially for Cayman as so much still lies ahead. ((HUGS!!))

Lisa said...

I am sorry that I missed these past few updates, but even while I was away from the computer, my thoughts have been constantly with you and Cayman.

My heart is so glad to see pictures of her smiling and to read about your great faith.

I pray that you will continue to see miracles in the days to come.

Give Cayman a snuggle for me :)

The Soldatke family said...


Now that I can see again through my tears, and my hands aren't trembling, I might be able to write you a comment.
My heart is breaking for you. I'm glad you were able to "put in on paper" so to speak; to get your feelings and thoughts out there. And how scary. CPR is not something a parent should ever have to watch done.

I, too, hope time heals this raw emotion and it will only be remembered as a bad dream is.

Diana Parker said...

Even knowing the outcome before I read through the story, I feel hollow inside after reading it. I can't imagine how horrific that must have been. I'm grateful to my God in heaven that he spared Cayman and left her here to teach us even more about love and living and life. Thank you for sharing with all of us all that you are going through!

Katie said...

I have TEARS in my eyes. HOW I wish I could HUG you, hold you, pray with you, place my hand on Cayman and PRAY.

THANK YOU JESUS. THANK YOU for giving Kristen and Mike MORE time.

I will pray that these images are removed from your memory. YOU and Mike are pillars of strength.

Thank you God for breath and life!

Stacie Windisch said...

This tears me up inside. I can't even imagine Kristen. Thank the Lord she is ok. and thank Him for the quick actions of you two and the hospital staff.

Lindsey Alexander said...

Kristen -

I have chills all over and I'm fighting backs tears!! Tears of sadness imagining your helpless feeling and tears of PURE JOY that Ms. Cayman pulled through!! GOD is amazing and works miracles!! Myself and two little ones will continue to pray for her swift and UNeventful recovery!! We are also praying for you and ease your anxiety and bring you peace during such a difficult time.

We're here and praying....always!


dswillis said...

I am so glad the outcome is postive. I can hardly read the words......... Prayers answered.

Jennifer said...

Oh, Kristen. I just don't have any words. I hope you can feel our hugs and love even across the distance. What a terrifying, haunting, traumatic experience.

Now I'm going to go stare at the pictures of Cayman's smiling face for a while and be grateful she is recovering.

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

Oh my goodness ... I have goosebumps on my arms and legs, and tears on my cheeks.

I pray that Cayman continues to recover and this is all just a bad memory soon!

Aunt Sam said...

Cayman is our little miracle baby, I've always said that! she is the strongest little girl I know! Love you guys!

Bonnie said...

I have been thinking of you guys!!! I am so glad she is doing ok and is smiling that adorable smile again...she is truely a miracle....You and Mike are sooo brave and I am so proud of you two for acting so fast and being so strong..Caymen felt your strength:)

Tiffany said...

Keep the miracles coming, Cayman!!! Still praying away...

Marla said...

I found your blog through Audrey Sue's blog and I just wanted to let you know that I prayed for your sweet daughter and your family last night. I will continue to lift you up in prayer. Thank you for sharing your story.

Gabriella said...

No words to express what I feel after reading this. May God wrap His arms around you both and continue to keep Cayman strong!

Anonymous said...

I am sitting here in went through something no parent should have to in their lifetime.

Just keeps reminding me of just what can go wrong during shunt malfunctions.

Stay strong!

Hannon! said...

I am in tears reading this. My heart broke reading this, it broke on Friday morning when I read your husband's FB status post, but reading the events as they occurred was difficult to say the least. I can't imagine for a second the pain and fear you felt that night. I am so sorry this hit you guys. But, man am I reminded how God is good and He brought your little miracle back to life. Even though we've never met, I still feel very connected to your family through your blog. God Bless Cayman!!

Beth said...

I simply cannot image. I am sobbing over this post. Please know you guys are still in our thoughts and prayers!!!

Pauline said...

I do hope Cayman is doing better...your post was heartbreaking and I can't imagine going through that. Now that my kids are grown I worry about my g'kids...I couldn't and can't imagine...Prayers with you all!