“There was a time around October or November of last year, 2018, where I was worked as an assistant manager at Taco Bell. I was 21 years old, living on my own, and not in a relationship. In previous months, I had been in a toxic relationship, so once I was able to distance myself from that, I took some time to find myself and fall in love with myself again.
During my time alone, I met someone I automatically clicked with, but because of my previous relationship I had decided to not make things official. We had shared so many fun times. Mostly full of love and laughter, just being silly together, just being ourselves. As my feelings grew stronger for him, so did my thoughts.
Eventually, after a couple of months, I decided I cut him off completely. Then, a few weeks went by and I realized I missed my period. I waited a few more weeks. No period. On January 4, 2019, I gave in and took a pregnancy test while my mom was on FaceTime, eager to know the results. A few seconds went by and…positive. I decided to take a second one. Again, right away, the word ‘positive’ emerged. My mom was so excited. I burst into tears. I hadn’t been living the healthiest I could have been and it instantly hit me realizing I was growing a child…
This was my first time ever being pregnant. I was so overwhelmed with emotions and thoughts. When I first found out I was having a girl, I wondered who she would become. I hoped and prayed she would be healthy and that I’d be able to give her a great life. I was so excited to be a mother! Having a strong faith, I believed God sent her to me to save me and make me feel like I had a purpose, being to love and nurture this child.
On July 20, 2019, I was at home in my apartment organizing for her arrival and moving things around. I kicked myself out of the only bedroom in my apartment and made my room the living room so I could fit all of her belongings in the bedroom, although her things still spread into the living room and dining room areas. My mom and I were so excited to have Emery; my mom made sure she would have everything. I heard a knock on the front door but hadn’t been expecting company; I checked the balconies and peephole but never saw a soul.
A few minutes later, I continued going through baby stuff in the bedroom when suddenly I heard the front door get kicked open. Startled and confused, I stayed in the room until I heard a man’s voice asking where I was. I suddenly creeped out of the bedroom only to be encountered by a woman with a knife. She quickly grabbed hold of me and I begged and pleaded for her not to stab me. ‘I’m pregnant!’ Now, being out of the room, I had a better glimpse of what was happening.
There, in the living room, stood a man holding a gun to my ex boyfriend’s head. (Emery’s dad was in rehab at the time.) We didn’t know these people. We asked who they were, what they wanted. They came for someone who had problems with my ex-boyfriend. I begged and pleaded for them to let us be, that they were in MY HOME and that I had nothing to do with whatever they were there for. After a while of being told to shut up and stop moving, and being threatened to be shot and stabbed, they angrily grabbed our phones, my car keys, all my cards and belongings in my purse. In it included all the money I had been saving for emergencies and for Emery. They took an Xbox as well.
As they began to run out the house, I hollered for my ex-boyfriend to follow them. I grabbed a knife and ran behind him. As soon as I stepped foot outside the apartment, I started screaming for someone to help, that two people broke into my apartment and had a knife and a gun and were taking my things…Crickets! My ex was fighting for the belongings back as I ran to him. As soon as I know it, I hear a gunshot and feel an intense pain in my stomach. I knew I had been shot.
I quickly covered what I could to stop the bleeding, but the pain was so intense I sat down. I couldn’t bare to walk. Neighbors filled the sidewalks soon after and I hollered for someone to help me. I was pregnant and had been shot. They called EMS and APD. Meanwhile, the suspects got into a car and sped off towards the entrance gate, which was closed. They turned around and headed back towards me, still in the street. Thankfully, a neighbor moved me out of the street and another went for a towel to help control the bleeding. Soon after, the EMS arrived and took me to the hospital. I couldn’t feel Emery moving anymore.
I begged for them to save my baby, to help my baby. In the EMS ride, they tried to detect the heartbeat, but couldn’t. Then called for an anesthetic. Last thing I remember, I was being wheeled into the emergency room, all eyes on me. I knew it was serious, I just didn’t know how serious. When I was more aware of my surroundings, I was informed I had been shot twice. Once in the left breast and once in the left side of my abdomen. The bullet exited out of my lower right abdomen, hitting some organs, which caused some internal bleeding. I had been shot in my uterus and intestines. Due to the blood loss, Emery was born during an emergency c-section but had to be resuscitated.
Once she had a heartbeat, they airlifted her to another hospital to better suit her needs; they soon found her to be completely brain dead. I had surgery on my intestines and received 47 staples down my stomach.
The doctors and nurses in both hospitals were so great, and my family as well as Emery’s dad and his family were there every day through our battles for support. It was a hard time for us all. Nobody had been contacted until the next morning, Sunday, July 21st. Everyone was frantic and worried and hurt to find out what happened to me and how Emery had been hurt the most. We were able to FaceTime, which kept my motivation to see Emery every day.
When I first saw her, she was completely motionless and couldn’t open her eyes, cry, or even breathe on her own. They had put her on life support to help make her stronger, but she wasn’t doing too well. After she arrived at the new hospital that first night, she was having a lot of seizures and they knew there was no hope of her surviving or doing anything on her own. As I was in the hospital, I asked for a baptism for Emery. They didn’t expect her to live through the night. The ceremony was beautiful. I prayed that night before I went to bed…for a miracle and for God to give her and I strength to pull through the night, and we did.
A few days after my surgery, I continued to fight to push my way towards being discharged and being able to go be with Emery. She was fighting as well. My baby girl was so strong and able to push through until Mommy was able to be with her again. I can’t express in words the joy I felt once I was discharged and allowed to go be with my baby girl. I thanked God and still thank God every day for allowing me to have her and for the family to have her over those days which she was here on Earth with us.
The doctors didn’t expect her to live another night, but she lived for a total of 8! When I arrived at her hospital, the doctors told me, ‘Her brain stem is completely dead. There will be no way she can breathe on her own. Cry, crawl, eat, walk, read, write. Do anything on her own.’ Every day I spent with her, they reminded me of this . It would be impossible for her to do any of this without machines. That’s when they said it:
‘This is a decision ultimately up to you. When you do finally say enough is enough, she will be put to rest.’
My heart was already broken into a million pieces knowing she was hurt and I could never do anything to heal her pain or make her better. My heart was demolished. I felt so confused and hurt and angry. I didn’t feel like it was right for me to have to make such a decision to let her go being that I fought so hard. She fought so hard for us to be reunited again.
I was informed of how the process would be once I made my decision, but I was so stubborn. I wanted to do things with her that I would’ve if she wasn’t brain dead. I signed a paper for DNR one night but that’s as far as they got me. I was stuck on being able to spend time with her just as the family was able to while I was in my hospital recovering. I appreciated the nurses; they were so loving and understanding and allowed me to stay in the hospital so that I could be with her as much and as long as I wanted to. I loved touch times the most and made sure to never miss one. Those were the times I was able to do those things with her: bathe her, change her diaper, take her temperature, and weigh her. After a few days and talking to a few more doctors I realized they were right. As much as I wanted to keep her, this wasn’t the life I wanted her to have…Mommy would’ve loved to take care of her, even if she was 13 with tubes and couldn’t do anything for herself. However, what one doctor said stuck with me: this is a decision you make out of love.
My love for her was soooo strong and deep, and as much as it killed me not having her and seeing her with all the tubes and motionless, I knew I should let her go and be free and not continue to suffer. I prayed to God every day and every night for strength and guidance and forgiveness, for him to watch over my baby girl.
On the 28th of July, we decided it was time to put our love for her in front of all else we were feeling or wanting. I gave the doctor permission to take her off the tubes. I was allowed to hold her in my arms the entire time and have whoever I wanted with me. When they first took off the tubes, her father and I and our parents were in the room. Once they took off the tubes, they warned us that she may be able to breathe for a little bit or a few days given that her body was getting used to the machine. I prayed and prayed for her to be able to breathe on her own for a little while so we could all see her without her tubes. Once they removed the tubes, she continued to breathe! A miracle. What a long way my baby had come from that first night when they said there was no hope.
I asked for the rest of the family to join us in the room so we could all love and support her, watch her fight and see how beautiful she was without the tubes…I still held her through each breath she took. The more she took on her own, the more you could tell she was fighting. But she had already fought long and hard enough.
She was breathing on her own for 30 minutes. So many thoughts and emotions filled our heads. We wanted to so badly put her back on the machine, but once you decide, you decide. She went peacefully in my arms that day, and with the love and support of her immediate family surrounded by her. It looked as if she passed in her sleep and oh how peacefully she looked as her body started to fade to purple. I was at a complete loss for words. I never thought I’d be torn from my daughter before her due date. I never thought I’d have to experience such trauma or loss.
I wanted to cremate her to have her with me everywhere I go. However, we were informed that in order to do so the medical examiner would have to keep her body. It would take up to 6 months for us to have it back for services and then cremation. I was devastated. I felt like my world was falling down all around me. Thankfully, I had the support of my family and her father’s family as well. They helped us through this whole experience and still continue to do so. My mother and grandmother helped arrange the funeral which was absolutely beautiful, yet so heart wrenching. I’m forever thankful. Through all of this, I’ve grown closer to Emery’s father’s family as well. Although we regret having to grow closer due to tragedy, we have been blessed to have the love and support of one another to help us grieve and move forward in our every day lives.
As I started to read this book I received, Through The Eyes of a Lion, I have begun to look at life through a different lens. Before, I was angry and upset and confused. I questioned my faith. As I continue to live each day and progress further into this book, I have began to learn and accept that God has a plan for everything. This tragedy and evil brought on me was not the work of God, but of the devil.
I have also participated in therapy sessions for grief and loss, which have helped me cope. Because of my faith in Him, I was able to do things with my daughter the doctors never expected. He wrapped his love and grace around my daughter. Now, she is in His hands and I’d like to imagine her flying around with Him, spreading love and joy to others that reside with them, including my grandfather who passed away in February this past year. Oh, how I was so devastated when he passed away. But now, I have peace knowing she is not alone and her spirit is with him and our Lord.
Through my traumatic life experiences, I’ve spoken through so many women online. It’s been such a pleasure to be brought together with people all over the world who believe and have hearts that still love and support others, even strangers! For that, I am forever thankful. I battled depression when I first lost Emery. I thought I’d slip into that negative mindset perpetually, and eventually go with her, too, due to the pain I felt in my heart of just wanting to be with her. However, being of strong faith and having the support of my family, I realized that wasn’t the answer. It would do more pain than anything to those around me. So, I turned to God again.
I feel like this experience has definitely helped my faith grow and helped me strengthen my relationship with God. Some people wonder how, after all of this, I can still praise and honor Him. Some ask, ‘Where was your God when this happened???!!!’ God is all around and aware of even the devil’s plan. His job is not always to stop you or protect you from harms way, but to help guide you out of it. To pour love out into you and give you strength you didn’t have before.
Since I have had my staples removed, I came to stay with my mom and her boyfriend in California to heal and get away from things for a while. I have been able to seek more therapy for grief and loss, which has helped me through this healing process tremendously. I continue to seek therapy for Post Traumatic Stress and depression. I am truly blessed to have the love and support I do because it has helped me through this tragedy.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Desire Guardiola of Vallejo, California. You can donate here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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