About a week and a half ago(July 2nd) we were preparing to go to Colorado. I was talking to the kids about them each packing a little backpack with a few toys to take on the trip. They were so excited(we haven't been to Colorado as a family since my dad's funeral) that they got their backpacks ready right then. Rozzy put hers on and was ready to head out to the car. "Rozz, you silly! We're not going until tomorrow. Are you just taking your backpack outside with you?"
"Yeah, I am," she says.
"Okay. But just remember, we're leaving tomorrow not today. Okay?"
"Otay, Mommy," she responds. I assumed she understood what I was talking about. Then all of the kids asked if they could go outside to play. I told them they could and they all headed out the door, Rozzy following behind.
I was supposed to be doing laundry and packing, but I got side tracked by the computer, so I stayed downstairs for the next half hour or so. A little while later the kids came in from playing outside, everyone but Rozzy.
"You guys? Where's Rozz?" I said.
"I don't know. She wasn't outside with us," Duncan says.
I normally don't freak out about these things. Rozzy often wanders upstairs by herself without anyone noticing and we find her asleep in some bed or playing in the playroom. "Gwenie go take a look upstairs for Rozzy."
"Okay, I will," she says.
She returns about a minute or two later, "She's not up there mommy."
"Boys, will you go and check all of the beds?"
I started feeling this urgency. I had a strong feeling I needed to check outside. "You guys do that, I'm going to check outside."
I walked outside and called her name. Then I heard something very faint. I really don't know how I heard it. It sounded like a quiet whimper. Sheer panic swept over me. It was 90+ degrees out and she was in the car.
I tried opening her door but it was locked. More panic. We always keep our doors locked, especially in the summer. Then I noticed that the front passenger side was unlocked. That's how she got in and was able to close the door. I knew she couldn't close the sliding car door on her own.
I open the door and unlock hers. Then I open her door. She seems half conscious. She is bright red from head to toe. She is sopping wet with sweat and whimpering. I immediately unbuckle her(she had buckled herself in, that's why she couldn't get out) and grab her and hold her and just cry into her hair. "Oh my gosh Rozzy! Oh my gosh! I am so sorry!" I say as I cry. I run her inside.
"My packpack," she says weakly.
"Gwenie grab her things, please."
I sit down with her and brush her hair from her face. "Are you okay?"
I hug her again, still crying. I decide to lay her on the couch. "Duncan, can you get a washcloth wet with cold water and bring it down, please?"
"Yeah," he says. He runs to get it as I fill up a sippy with ice water. Duncan comes back down and hands me the washcloth. I place it on her forehead and hand her the sippy. Aly then starts to cry so I pick him up. As I pick him up a voice says to me, "GET KARL."(he is our next door neighbor and happens to be an EMT). I am not one to argue with the Lord giving me a message.
"Kids, run and see if Karl is home." Realizing that they might not get the message to Karl as clearly as I would, I leave Rozz and run out with the baby to talk to Ashley and Karl.
Gwenie says, "Rozzy got hurt."
Ashley leans down, "She got hurt? What happened?"
I start shaking as I say, "Is Karl home?" I see Karl come to the door.
"What's going on?" he says as he walks over to me.
I feel tears welling up again. "She locked herself in the car for like a half an hour or more. She's awake. She said she was okay. I gave her some ice water and stuff. I wasn't sure what to do."
We're in the house. He has Ashley get his bag for him. He starts talking to her and checking on her. He gets some ice packs and quickly puts them on her. I decide to call Mark to see if he can come home from the mortuary. I am crying again, "Mark, Rozzy locked herself in the car."
"Is she okay?" he says.
"I think so. I thought she was playing with the kids. I didn't even know the car was unlocked. Karl is here. Can you come home?"
"It's not your fault. You couldn't have known. It was just an accident. I'm driving back from a service so I have to drop the car off at the mortuary and then I can come straight home."
"We should probably get her checked out," Karl says to me.
"Mark, Karl says we need to get her checked out. So we're just going to take her now. I'll talk to you later. I'm sorry."
"Okay. I'll be there as soon as I can. I love you."
"Love you. Bye."
I run upstairs to get changed really quick. As I am pulling my shirt on I hear Karl from downstairs, "Danielle! We need to go NOW!!"
I yank my shirt down, run downstairs, throw some shoes on and grab my purse and keys. Karl is already out there with her. We decide to take my car since I have the car seat. Ashley agrees to stay with the kids. I drive to the Urgent Care near our house. On the way Karl sits backwards trying to keep Rozzy alert and awake. I can't believe this is all happening. It doesn't even seem real. Karl keeps talking to Rozz, asking her questions. She finally starts talking.
We get to the Urgent Care. Karl carries Rozz in. He explains what's going on with her to the man at the front desk. I don't understand all the EMT lingo. The he says that she was only responding to painful stimuli. My heart drops. That's why he shouted up the stairs, I thought to myself. The man at the front desk goes to find out if they can take her or if she is too critical and we should just go to the ER. He comes back a minute or two later. "Yeah, you're going to have to take her to the ER."
Back into the car. I decide to have Karl drive since I haven't been to the Payson ER since a month into my marriage at 2 am. Rozzy still seems out of it. Karl has me keep her awake.
We get to the ER and explain the situation again. They have Karl take her back while I finish the paper work. All of the nurses keep talking about how cute Rosaline is. The nurses are so kind and tell me their scary parenting stories to comfort me.
I get to go back to see Rozz. She seems to be doing well, but she looks exhausted and sleepy. They are checking her blood pressure and her temperature. They explain to me that she is looking good. They want to hydrate her and watch her to be sure. A moment later Mark walks in with tears in his eyes. He gives me a hug and cries on my shoulder.
"I'm going to head to the waiting room," Karl says.
"Okay, thank you so much!" I tell him.
"Yeah, thanks so much man," Mark says and gives Karl a hug.
"No problem you guys. I'm glad I could help."
Karl leaves and Mark and I look at Rozz and talk to her. We talk about what happened. How scared we both were. How blessed we are that Karl was home and that I got her out of the car when I did. Rozzy is eating popsicle after popsicle. Even on the verge of death that girl wouldn't turn down an offering of food. She starts perking up and talking to us finally. We tell her how stinky her feet are and wipe them down with alcohol swabs. She starts to get all giggly and cute. After a while they tell us we can go home but to bring her back if she doesn't have a wet diaper by morning.
What a relief! We take her home and she is inside for a few minutes before she goes outback to play. Mark tells her that she needs to play inside today. What a relief to know that she is alright.
I feel so grateful for the promptings I received that day. I feel grateful for the amazing neighbors I have. I feel grateful that I got sidetracked by the computer so I wasn't upstairs packing, not knowing she was not with the kids. I am grateful that the Lord has blessed me with a sweet little girl who makes me laugh daily and smothers me with love nearly every moment of the day.
I have heard so many stories of a child being left or stuck in a car in the Summer and I have only heard a couple with happy endings. This is one of those humbling experiences as a parent when you have to put your faith in the Lord. I thank Him for allowing me my happy ending.
I am a Colorado girl who met and married a Utah man in July 2003. We live in Utah with our 7 beautiful children: Duncan(12), Liam(11), Gwendolyn(9), Rosaline(8), Alastair(6), and Briony (3), Felicity(3 m). I am sure there are more babies coming for us in the future. I guess you'll just have to read along and find out!