It Takes a Village

In life, marriage and raising kids you want to surround yourself with people who cheer for you, lift you up and watch your back. This is sound advice and in the last few weeks (not for the first time) my family has been so incredibly grateful for the community that has done just this for us.

Our fifth daughter was admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for acute respiratory failure from RSV, she was only 41 days old (5 weeks). Babies that age challenge even the best doctors and nurses because their health is very unpredictable and their bodies don’t always respond in predictable ways.

The call for prayer went out and was it answered in a big way. Within 12 hours of me requesting prayers from my closest friends, my family and our daughter were on every prayer chain in Niobrara county. The word spread, and the very same “rumor mill” that many scoff at or disdain was working overtime to help save our AnnaLee. People were reaching out to my husband still at home in Lusk offering help with the ranch responsibilities, vehicles, pet sitting and more.

My phone was filled with kind and uplifting prayers, words of encouragement and support. Even more, I KNEW that when people in Niobrara county say they will pray for you, they do. I have no doubt that this community rallied like no one’s business, because I have seen it happen before.

The prayers were heard and our daughter did a 12 hour turnaround mid-week that even surprised the doctors. We went from “prepare for your daughter to be on a ventilator” to, “we are taking her off bipap and putting her on regular oxygen” faster than even the nurses anticipated (except our night nurse who KNEW our kiddo was a fighter).

You know that scene in “Its a Wonderful Life” at the climax of the film when George Bailey is standing on the bridge considering suicide and the viewer hears all of the prayers drifting heavenward for George? When I was sitting in that hospital room I have no doubt that this is what God heard from our community. Heaven was filled with the sound of prayers for our little one. Even now, typing this, it is hard for me to imagine what the outcome could have been without the love and prayers.

There is no doubt in our minds that those prayers helped us to see the miracle that occurred in the PICU room 350. Those prayers sustained us in the dark hours through the night as watched numbers on a monitor praying they would stabilize and remain good. Those prayers gave us courage to face what, at the time, seemed like the inevitable outcome of coming home without our sweet baby. And those prayers gave us hope when the sun came up and we started to see her improve.

I have always loved Lusk for the support and love they show our family. I love knowing people are watching out for my kiddos when they walk to the library, when we hang out at county fair and when they run downtown to Allbrights. We have amazing friends who are always offering help and making my kids feel special with their support. But this, this took “it takes a village” to a whole new level.

The prayers and support never wavered and have continued as we were discharged and started our journey home. Once home they continued to fight for us knowing that getting settled back in would present its own challenged. Meals, help with my other kiddos and again, the all important prayers have been ongoing.

I always knew it would take a village to raise our kids and I am incredibly grateful for this one.