As I've mentioned before, the kids and I took a trip to Utah without Bryan in July. Unfortunately, we didn't have the best start to our vacation. The kids and I said goodbye to Bryan in South Bend and headed to Chicago to stay the night before we flew out to Utah the next morning. We got to our hotel, but just drove by and decided to grab some dinner before unloading at the hotel. As we approached a red light (we could see the Wendy's we were going to just through the intersection) we were suddenly hit from behind. I didn't even see it coming. It happened so suddenly. All I remember is everything going black. I was screaming, the kids were screaming and we were being thrown all over the place. When everything stopped the car was full of air bag dust, our car was turned sideways facing the curb, and the kids were wondering what the heck just happened. Little Niah was more shook up than the others and was crying very hard. I turned around to see if the kids were okay and I could see blood on Niah's head. The other kids weren't crying, just sitting there looking around, confused. I was trying to figure out what had happened too! I was so shocked. I couldn't find my phone to call 911 and I was panicking a little. My shoes had flown off my feet, the Ipad that the kids were playing when it happened had flown up to the front passenger seat, my bag had flown clear up under the glove box and I could see seat belt burn on all of the kids. I opened my door and got out to search for my phone. As soon as I stood up I could tell something was wrong with my neck and head. They were pounding! I sat back down, tried to find a wipe for Niah's head- which looked worse than it really was, thankfully. Instead of dialing 911 (that had been taken care of by someone else) I called Bryan at home and I was crying and upset. The doctor in him took over and he was asking me questions like are the kids talking, what's happening, have you called 911, is everyone okay? The EMTs got there quickly so I told Bryan I'd call him back and let him know if we needed him to come. This was all in a matter of minutes, probably seconds, but looking back it felt like forever. The car that hit us was a Chevy Silverado and he hit us so hard we hit the car in front of us and it 'dominoed' and five cars were involved, us being the first ones hit. He hit us so hard it made our car turned sideways so we were facing the curb and the truck that hit us was pressed up against the back passenger door where Niah was sitting. The EMTs couldn't get to her to check her head. They asked me if anything hurt and I told them my head was pounding and my neck hurt. They then loaded me in a neck brace and put me on a backboard. All the while I was saying, "I need to stay with my kids, they can't leave me. They will be too scared." The EMT was really nice and got all the kids and their car seats and loaded them in the ambulance with me. Off we went to the hospital. Poor Niah was very shook up and scared, crying this whole time. Bennett and Chloe thought it was awesome that they got to ride in an ambulance! I never saw the crash sight, or don't remember it, and the guy that hit us never came over to see if we were okay or anything.
Once we got to the hospital they took the kids to a different room to check them out. I went to another room to be looked at. I was so impressed with all the people involved. I was worried about our luggage knowing we would need it in the morning to fly out. The Batallion Chief took it out of the car, loaded it in his car and drove it to the hospital for us. The kids got popsicles, suckers, and got to watch a movie. They were so brave through all of this. Chloe made friends with all of the doctors and nurses.
Our van has been giving us fits so Bryan sent us in his car and I think it was a blessing that we were in his. The luggage was in the back and I think it took a lot of the impact off of us. It also probably kept a lot of the glass from the back window from flying up to us and maybe causing bigger cuts or something. The blood from Niah's head was not as bad as it looked. It was more of a bad scratch than a cut. We all got some seat belt burn and I had a major case of whiplash. I'm still a little sore and my neck and back are still kind of stiff. Bryan ended up just getting in the car and driving to the hospital to meet us. I'm so glad he came. I felt so alone and scared so it was good to see his face. Luckily, Bryan was off Tuesday and people at work covered for him the next day until he got back. He was able to stay the night with us in the hotel and get us off to the airport. He went the next morning after we left to look at the car and get it cleaned out. Our Ford ended up being totaled. I'm glad they totaled it because it wouldn't be the same car. I kind of wish we were driving the van. Why did we have to crash our good car?!
I have never been through something so scary. I hope to never experience that again. It was such a helpless feeling seeing my kids in the back seat, so scared, and the EMTs wouldn't let me turn around to see them or touch them. We were all alone in a strange place. It was awful. I didn't sleep that night because I just kept replaying the accident in my head and thinking about all of the' what ifs'. I'll never forget the sound of the metal crunching, the glass breaking and the smell of the air bag dust that filled the car.
I am so grateful that we were all safe- it could have been a lot worse. We are counting our blessings and are so glad that we still got to go to Utah. I'm so thankful for the emergency workers and I can't get over how nice they were and how willing they were to go out of their way for us. It makes me realize that there is a lot of good out there still. I am still weirded out at how fast it happened and how fast things can change. One minute all was well and the next we were hearing sirens and being loaded in an ambulance. I have a new outlook on life and you really can't take anything for granted. Life is precious.