Chapter Seven – Christmas Eve
|Baby Curly's first ride in a truck.|
In November, Mom and Dad told us that we were going to have another baby. We were all excited. I was sure that it would be a boy since we already had four girls and only two boys.
Mom had her second doctor’s appointment on Christmas Eve and Dad decided to go with her since the doctor had promised that they could have a look at the baby on the ultrasound. They left about 9:30 in the morning and I was still tired.
I was lying in my bed feeling lazy, after all, it was the Christmas holidays and I deserved a break from getting up early. I knew that I was baby-sitting and responsible, but Kiy was asleep on Mom and Dad’s bed and Nathan was downstairs watching cartoons with Kinsey and Kiyna. When I heard the water running in Mom and Dad’s room, I figured that Neal was in their shower, so I let it run. As it turned out, Neal had heard the water too, but he thought that I was the one in the shower. He had just gotten a great present from a friend, root beer and a huge candy-cane and he was anxious to show them to me.
He ran up the stairs and yelled, “Kira, are you modest?” Hearing no answer, he opened the door to Mom and Dad’s room and Nathan ran out. Nathan was naked and wet and Neal knew that Nathan was not allowed to shower alone. It only took Neal a second to know that something was wrong. He ran into the bedroom and saw Kiylee floating face down in the big green tub. He threw the presents on the floor and grabbed her blue little body out of the ice-cold water.
Suddenly I heard him scream, “Kiylee’s dead! We killed Kiylee!” He pounded on my door and handed her to me. He was hysterical and crying. I grabbed her and said, “Neal, go call 911! Tell them we have a baby that we found in a tub, and stay calm!”
Neal ran down the stairs and called 911, while I sat on the stairs and cleared Kiy’s throat. She was so cold! I had learned CPR in school and in scouts, so I knew what to do, but something deep inside me shriveled into a tight little ball of fear as I started listening to her chest and automatically doing the things that had to be done. What if she died? My parents would never trust me again. What would I do without my little sunshine? She was my baby. I’d spent almost as much time cuddling with her as Mom had. I felt for her pulse and again pushed my fingers into her mouth and throat.
I was getting ready to start chest compressions and real CPR when she started to throw up and poop everywhere. There was some on my shirt and all over the stairs, but I didn’t care. Kiy was the most important and even though she was still blue, now at least she had shown some signs of life.
Neal yelled for me to come downstairs and sit by the telephone, so he could give me instructions from the dispatcher. I ran downstairs with Kiy in my arms and told Kinsey to get a blanket and clothes for Kiy. I told Kiyna to go get my glasses and then to keep Nathan in the family room. It wasn’t his fault. He had put Kiy in the tub and we all knew it, but he didn’t understand that what he had done would hurt her. He just wanted to give Kiy a bath. They had baths together all the time, but never without someone making sure that nothing bad happened.
I told Neal to tell the 911-dispatcher that Kiylee had a pulse and was breathing, but she was horribly blue and cold. Meanwhile, our next door neighbor who is a paramedic, was pulling out of his driveway when he heard the call on his scanner. He flagged down another neighbor who is also a paramedic. She happened to be driving in front of our house right when we needed her. Together, they began stabilizing Kiy within a minute of Neal's call. The South Jordan paramedics arrived about five minutes later and kicked us out of the kitchen.
We knew we had to call Mom and tell her what was going on. I knew she would be upset. She had worried that something would happen in Yellowstone, but she thought we were pretty safe in our own home. I knew she wouldn’t blame Nathan; she would blame me. I was supposed to be baby-sitting. I was supposed to be responsible. Kiy was so tiny and sweet and I had let her be in danger. She might even die and it was all my fault!
Neal called Mom and tried to tell her what was going on, but he ended up crying hysterically. Mom was trying hard to stay calm, but she lost it when I told her we found Kiy in the tub. I couldn’t tell her if Kiy would live or die, but I knew she wasn’t dead yet. I tried to tell her that they were life-flighting Kiy to Primary Children’s Medical Center, but Mom was so hysterical that I don’t think she understood me. A paramedic came in just then and I gratefully handed him the phone. He told her to calm down and carefully drive to the hospital because she would probably get there before Kiy. I stayed nearby during the entire conversation, but the paramedic didn’t tell them anything that I didn’t already know about Kiy’s condition. He told them that she was still breathing, but that was all.
I went back into the living room where all of my brothers and sisters were lined up on the couch. They were crying and upset. Neal was struggling with Nathan. He didn’t want to sit quietly; he wanted to watch TV. Neal was trying to put some clothes on him, but he wasn’t having much luck. I took Nathan’s hand and he settled down. I mechanically pulled on his Levis and t-shirt and slipped his arms into his coat. I knew that the helicopter was on its way and I didn’t think that they would let us stay there without my parents since we had already had one accident. I just wasn’t sure where we were going to go. I knew the paramedics didn’t want us to see them stick IVs and breathing tubes into Kiy. They also didn’t want us to know if she suddenly stopped breathing.
After a few minutes, our next door neighbor, Janice, took us all to her house. They wouldn’t even give me time to change my shirt. We sat on her living room window seat and we watched Kiy go down the street on a stretcher. They didn’t dress her and she was covered with all sorts of tubes and wires. The helicopter had landed in the middle of the street a couple of houses from ours. The policemen had put up a tape-line so that none of our neighbors could get in the way.
We watched the life-flight crew load her tiny body into the helicopter and then we saw the helicopter take off. All this time, our neighbors were gathering. By the time Kiy’s helicopter was in the air, about 50 of my neighbors had gathered at our mailbox. A neighbor organized a prayer circle and they all pleaded for a miracle. Most of the people were crying and hugging their own children. I think everyone thought that Kiy would probably die. Why would they life-flight her if she could have ridden in the ambulance? Besides, she was so cold and blue. How would they ever get her temperature back up to normal before it damaged some of her body parts?
I was scared. I looked at Neal and I could tell that he was scared too. By then, I didn’t care if Mom and Dad grounded me for the rest of my life, as long as my little Kiy lived. I just wanted to hold her in my arms and tell her everything would be OK, but I couldn’t. It was Christmas Eve and we really needed a miracle.