Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God has Big Plans for Jacob

I'm not sure how to begin a post about a day that my 2 year old son almost lost his life, except to say that God is good, and His hand of protection was upon Jacob.

Jacob & Mommy, One month after his injury
God has big plans for this boy.  If you have been around Jacob, you know that there is one word that best describes him: i-n-t-e-n-s-e. The boys in my family are calm, quiet, pretty 'keep to themselves.'  It's the girls who are loud, chatty (I have clear memories of my Grandma talking to everyone we met when department store shopping), always analyzing and thinking.  But this boy, this boy is LOUD, ACTIVE, friendly, and endearing.  He can make anyone smile just by flashing those big brown eyes and dimples.  And he knows it.  My hope and prayer is that he learns early to use this, among the many other talents God has given him, for the Lord.  That he will use his loudness, his intensity, and his endearing character to draw and point others to Christ.

So God has big plans for Jacob... He repeatedly protects him when we, as parents, are unable.  In his first year and half, Jacob managed to swallow a penny and receive 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his hands.  He keeps my prayers for safety flowing!

One such time is June 14, when Jacob was involved in an accident that could have taken his life.  We were having a garage sale, Scott was mowing the yard, the kids were running everywhere, eating donuts, and watching some TV.  It was as typical as a Mid-Western summer Saturday can get.  

As the mowing was finished, Scott loaded the mower on to the trailer to return it to the farm.  Jacob was standing beside Scott, on his right, as Scott was chaining up the second of two ramps.  Something happened with the chain, and the ramp fell.  As it started to go, Scott looked to the right to be sure Jacob was there, but he was not.  The next thing he saw was Jacob on the ground.  Apparently, at precisely the moment that the ramp started to fall, Jacob started to run to me, far out from the trailer, exactly the length of the ramp.  The end of it hit him in the forehead above his left eyebrow, and knocked him to the ground.  He was unconscious, bleeding from his forehead and his right ear.

The trailer
A lot happened, but I will not include that now.  I will just say, there is no reason that that ramp should not have crushed Jacob's skull.  It is very heavy, and had the momentum of falling.  On my own, I cannot lift it.

The ambulance took Jacob to a hospital 45 minutes away because they were a Level 1 Trauma Center.  There were doctors there waiting, prepared to do surgery immediately, if needed.

Scott and I sat with our family, waiting for them to tell us we could see him.  I remember a lot of staff people coming into the private emergency waiting room that they placed us in, giving us updates, information, etc.  A chaplain came and prayed with us. The pediatric trauma doctor came to introduce himself.  I was in a state of shock, it seems.  My thoughts were protected.  My mind did not do the 'what ifs' cycle.  I just sat, waiting.  Praying. When a nurse came once, I remember asking if we could just go be in the room with him.  She said, "There are too many doctors and nurses around your son to even see him right now."  It took weeks for me to realize exactly what that meant.  My boy was fighting for his life.

After an eternity, we finally got to see him.  He was on a ventilator, had a neck brace, IVs, and tubes everywhere it seemed. And what is truly amazing is how seeing him made us feel better. The concrete reality of being with him was better than the abstract unknown of the waiting room.

Jacob in the CCU
The doctor came, after a second CAT scan, and as we walked back to see Jacob for the second time, he was talking of severed blood vessels and arteries to the brain, of surgery, of possible transfer to a children's hospital, and decisions.  I will never forget him saying, "There may be some decisions we will all have to make."  They would need to do an MRI to get a better picture of the exact injury.  He let Carotid slip out once, and I knew that this was very serious, and yet, I had a peace that there was no understanding for.  I was not crying or wringing my hands.  I was sitting quietly with Scott and my family, praying.  Generally, I would be a complete mess. Instead, I was sending out a call on social media for a very specific prayer for an extremely clear and perfect MRI, after this discussion with the doctor, not telling anyone aside from our family of the words the doctor had used.

And finally, three and a half hours later, eight or nine hours after the accident, we had answers. A couple MRIs and MRAs (I don't know the difference!) showed that Jacob had several injuries.  A wide gash, which required 12 stitches externally, plus whatever it took internally to sew the muscle back together.  (It was a very clean cut that pulled the skin apart to expose his skull.  I will never forget that sight!  A mother is not supposed to see her son's skull!) A fracture in the temporal bone above his right ear.  And the most critical, a fractured Clivus.

Many of you have never heard of the Clivus, unless you are in the medical field.  If you are in the medical field, you will know immediately of the miracle that is my son.  Google Clivus, and the first thing you will read is that with Clivus injuries, there is a very high mortality rate, and at the very least, often much nerve damage in the brain, causing extensive damage and long term disabilities.

The Clivus is a bone that sits at the base of the skull.  Its kind of rectangular, with two corners carved out where the Carotid arteries enter the brain from the spinal column.  Basically, the Clivus sits on top of the spinal column between your neck and your brain.  If any part of the fracture had caused the bone to move at all, blood vessels would be injured, decreasing blood flow to the brain.  This was the initial concern, and cause for words like surgery, decisions, transferring.  The second CAT scan was done with dye, and it showed a distinct line through one artery.  I know this because we saw it a few weeks later.
The vent & neck brace removed next day

But the MRIs, the MRIs shocked the doctors.  Not one blood vessel had been injured.  I could see it in the doctor's eyes.  He fully expected that Jacob would need surgery, possible transfer to a children's hospital where a doctor with more experience performing this sort of surgery on children could care for him.

What an answer to our prayers!! 

By 10 pm, we were settling into Jacob's critical care unit room, staring at our miracle child.  All we wanted to do was pick him up and hold him.  He was still on the ventilator, still had a neck brace, there were still some question as to what therapies he would need, but we left that for the days to come. For now, we were praising God for his healing touch on Jacob.

Five days later, we took our little boy home.  
No therapies needed.  
No surgery needed.  
No long term injury.  

Just an answer to prayer. Thank you, Jesus, for your goodness to us.

Jacob's first night at home
I tell you all of this because God did this.  It was not luck.  It was not the doctors, though God worked through them to bring about this miracle.  Without their talent and abilities that God gave them to care for our little boy, he would have died.

There were people all around the world praying for Jacob, for our family.  Thank you.  Though it is not enough, THANK YOU for bringing our boy's name to the throne room of God.

God has big plans for this little boy.  We know it, and we have again, as we did when he was an infant, given him to God to use as he has planned, promised to raise him with a love for God and others.

*****If you were one who prayed for our Jacob during our hours of distress and the weeks that followed, would you please comment with your location?  I think it would be awesome to see a world map with pins of every location!  Thank you!*****


  1. Jennifer Smith - Washington D.C.

  2. Vicki Patterson (Brandon O'Hair's Mom) Cloverdale, IN

  3. Melissa Wilson, Champaign, IL

  4. Sioux Falls, SD

  5. Todd and Cathy Burton, Fishers, IN

  6. Overland Park, KS

  7. Bloomfield Hills, MI

  8. Jeff and Becky Fritz - East Norriton, PA

  9. Archbold, Ohio