Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
The amazing stories of survival abound in the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, and now Shayla Taylor’s remarkable story of how she endured active labor during the worst of the storm–in a hospital that took a direct hit–is among those stories. NBC.com reports:
The blow devastated the hospital, as news photos plainly show, ripping away the roof and walls.
After the chaos, Taylor said she heard not the freight train sound described by so many witnesses, but the absolute silence of the storm’s center. Then she opened her eyes.
“All of a sudden I could see daylight and the wall was gone,” she said. “I look out and I see I-35 and part of the Warren theater,” which later became the triage center for victims of the tornado that killed 24 and injured more than 230 people.
She had been dilated to 9 centimeters, nearly ready to deliver the baby, when nurses gave her a quick shot to slow labor during the height of the storm.
Taylor was quickly reunited with her husband, Jerome Taylor, 29, who had taken their 4-year-old son, Shaiden, to wait out the tornado with others in the hospital cafeteria. With the help of hospital workers, she was carefully carried through the destroyed building and out to a waiting ambulance, which whisked her 5 miles to another hospital in the Norman Regional Health System.
Three hours later, after doctors determined that the petite Taylor would need a cesarean section due to the baby’s size, she delivered Braeden Immanuel, a healthy 8-pound, 3-ounce boy.
“His middle name means ‘God is with us,’” said Taylor. “The name had been picked out for months. Now I know why.”
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
A set of twin girls may have made history because they were born a staggering 87 days apart. The episode may be a Guinness World Record for the longest interval between the birth of twins. Mother Maria Jones–Elliott calls her girls “little miracles” because their remarkable birth began with her water breaking when she was not yet 24 weeks pregnant. The first twin, Amy, was born after a 2-day labor weighing only 1 lb 3 oz. The Daily Mail chronicles what happened next:
Maria said; ‘My contractions just stopped dead – it was like I’d never even given birth.
‘Doctors were stunned they’d never seen anything like this before.
‘It should have been a joyful time but it was horrific. I had one baby in intensive care and one baby still inside me clinging to life.
‘It was like being hit by a bus – I felt what the hell is happening. I remember shouting to nurses: “It’s not supposed to be like this”.
Doctors made the decision to try to induce Maria the following day.
Maria explained: ‘They tried to induce me the next day but nothing happened. After hours, Chris and I said: “Enough is enough. Let nature take it’s course”.’
There on, there was nothing she could do but wait.
Maria said: ‘I made up my mind I would not be leaving the hospital unless it was with both my girls.
‘Even if it meant I had to lie in bed for the full three months I had left of my pregnancy – I would do what ever it took to.’
It was four days before a still pregnant Maria could see her first-born twin Amy as she was in intensive care.
She says: ‘I burst into tears when I saw her in the incubator – she was just so, so tiny and vulnerable.
‘She was covered in tubes but all I could see was her mass of black hair.
‘I just touched my bump and made the vow I would get Katie out safe and well and the girls would be together.’
When she was 36 weeks pregnant, Jones–Elliott was induced and delivered her second twin, Katie, who weighed 5 lb 10 oz, after just an hour of labor.
Monday, April 29th, 2013
An autistic 8-year-old boy from Georgia has found companionship and therapeutic help in the form of Xena, a rescued dog who survived unspeakable abuse but survived to bring hope and healing to one family. More from Today.com:
It’s not that Jonny can’t talk. He knows how to speak, and he can read with proficiency. But autism left him closed off and isolated. Most of his social interactions result in painful awkwardness; unfamiliar situations can trigger terror, tantrums or both. Seeking comfort and predictability, he’d embrace solitary activities; on a typical day after school, he’d spend hours playing with marbles in silence.
Then, about two months ago, everything changed. Jonny forged a connection so unlikely that people familiar with it describe it as a miracle. His new confidante brings out the best in him — his playfulness, his cute singing voice, his verbal assessments of everything he sees and experiences.
Jonny connected with a dog.
“He is non-stop chatter now!” Jonny’s mother, Linda Hickey, 44, told TODAY.com. “He has so much to say about his math, about what he did in P.E.
“He is the happiest child that I’ve ever seen him be in eight years.”
Jonny’s transformation begins with the miracle that the dog survived to meet Jonny at all.
Mere months before she bounded into Jonny’s world, the pup was brought to the DeKalb County Animal Services’ shelter in Georgia after she collapsed in someone’s yard. When staff members saw her, they recoiled in shock.
“I’ve been doing rescue probably for about 12 years, and I had never seen a dog that young in that sort of condition,” said Chrissy Kaczynski, who works for Animal Services and is a founding member of the rescue group Friends of DeKalb Animals. “I brought her home with me and I didn’t think she’d make it through the night.”
But with fluids, nutritional supplements and an urgent vet visit, the puppy began to perk up.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
The heroes of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were, everyone agrees, the teachers, many of whom gave their lives in efforts to protect their students. The story of kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer and first-grade teacher Kristen Roig, who survived the attacks, are among the inspiring stories. From CNN:
Kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer knows at least half of the killed children.
“Ten of them were in my class last year,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Sunday. “It’s tough. It’s tough.”
When the shots rang out, Vollmer locked her classroom door, covered the windows, including the one in the door, then took the children into a nook between bookcases and a wall.
She read them a story to keep them calm.
“They kept saying ‘How come we’re here for so long?’ ‘Well, it will be a little longer.’ ” she answered. “When they’re 5, you do whatever you can to keep them safe and keep them calm.”
“We’re going to be safe,” Vollmer told them, “because we’re sitting over here and we’re all together.”
First-grade teacher Kristen Roig herded her students into a bathroom, locked the door and told them not to make a peep.
They got impatient, antsy, wanted someone to go out and see what was happening. No, she told them. She was afraid they would all die.
“If they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ I wanted that to be the last thing they heard,” she said, “not the gunfire in the hall.”
The wait dragged on, Vollmer said.
“Maybe it was 20 minutes, a half-hour; I’m not sure.”
Police knocked at the door to take them all out. They instructed her to have the schoolchildren hold hands and close their eyes.
“At 5, it’s not so easy to close your eyes and walk,” Vollmer said. “So I had them look toward the wall.” They all had to be brave.
For more on Parents.com about the Sandy Hook Tragedy, visit the following:
Saturday, December 15th, 2012
As the nation struggles to comprehend the unspeakable tragedy of the shooting deaths of 26 people at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school–20 of whom were children–stories of sacrifice and heroism on the part of the school’s teachers are making their way across the media. The Independent newspaper had details on three such teachers. From the newspaper’s story:
- [Victoria] Soto, who had taught at the school for five years was described by one of her deeply distraught 10-year-old pupils as ‘really nice and funny,’ was trying to shield her students and usher them into a closet when she came face-to-face with the gunman. Miss Soto’s cousin, Jim Wiltsie, said: “She put herself between the gunman and the children and that’s when she was tragically shot and killed. “I’m just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm. It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children and in our eyes she’s a hero,” he added.
- Kaitlin Roig, another teacher who survived the attack, explained how she kept her class safe by ushering them into a bathroom when she heard shots being fired. “I said to them, I need you to know that I love you all very much and that it’s going to be OK, because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear,” she added.
- Mary Ann Jacobs, who worked as a clerk in the school library added: “The intercom went off and we could hear a kind of skuffle going in the office. I thought it had been set off by mistake so I called the office and the school secretary answered and said it was a shooting. As far as I am concerned she is a hero as she was right where it was happening.” I yelled lock down in our room and ran across the hall to tell them to lock down too. We locked all the doors and covered the windows and got all the kids somewhere they cannot be seen. We told them to sit down and be quiet.”We took them into a storage room at the back of the library where the servers are. We tore up bits of paper and handed out crayons to give the kids something to do.”We were there for around an hour before people starting banging on the door saying they were the police. We didn’t open the door for a while until they put a badge under the door.”
For more on the tragedy in Sandy Hook, visit the following on Parents.com: