WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS: NIKIYAH'S STORY

July 23, 2012   Was such an exciting and wonderful day for the Miller family!  Our oldest daughter Callie called early that morning and said they were heading to the hospital to welcome Nikiyah!   By the time my wife and I arrived, Callie was well into the labor process.   The only thing that marred that day was the decision by doctors to bring Nikiyah into our world through “C” section.   They said she was struggling a little bit and not to worry they were just erring on the side of caution.

Within about an hour of that decision we were holding and enjoying our first granddaughter!  She was beautiful and precious!  That evening, driving home, Teresa and I were talking about and planning all the things we wanted to do, now that Nikiyah was here.   We couldn’t wait to bring her home and spoil her!

The next day we called Callie, pictures were being texted back and forth, Nikiyah was so beautiful and healthy and doctors said she was doing well!  The future looked bright!

(Welcome to the world, Nikiyah!)

Then came the phone call I will never forget!   It is July 26th, Callie and Nikiyah were scheduled to be released from St Anne’s Hospital.   I had gone to work and was well into my morning when Teresa called and said,” Come home now, something is terribly wrong with Nikiyah”!  She was so shaken by this that she hung up the phone.  I tried to call her back but no answer.   I rushed home, picked up Teresa and we headed for our two-and-a-half-hour trip to Columbus.   We never said a word to each other, we were in a state of shock!

We knew they were rushing Nikiyah to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  When we arrived, we were taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit… no one could have prepared us for what we were about to witness!   First, there are machines everywhere, parents, doctors, nurses, and babies.  The babies are struggling for their lives!   My heart is now in my throat!  Am I having a nightmare?  Nikiyah is healthy, this isn’t right…   she shouldn’t be here, and then…?       We see her…         We were crushed!!!  Our little princess now connected to wires, surrounded by medical devices and wearing a breathing apparatus…   The look on our daughter’s face was one of complete despair!

To any family who has a child born with no sign of a health concern, when this happens, your most “Unthinkable” day has come!

Now earlier that day the nurse who was checking Nikiyah’s vital signs noticed something was wrong with her. Alerting the doctor, Nikiyah suddenly went into cardiac arrest.   Once they stabilized her, she was transported by ambulance to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.   There, they extensively examined Nikiyah and then shared the grim news with us…  They tell us she has a life-threatening issue with her heart.   We were in total shock and disbelief….

I remember the doctor sitting us down and describing Nikiyah’s condition, what it all meant, and the steps necessary to provide her with an opportunity to live.   She seemed to be confident, that Nikiyah had every chance to get through the procedures ahead.   That eased our fears some.   However, the fight of her life and ours was just beginning.   Just six days after Nikiyah was born, she would begin the first of many surgeries and procedures to save her life.

On the morning of her first surgery, Teresa, Callie and I were by Nikiyah’s side. That is when we meet Noel, the angel God sent to help us through everything we were about to experience.  Noel was so calm and confident, so kind and understanding, all of which we needed in that moment.   What we did not know was that Noel would be by Nikiyah’s side every time she faced another surgery or medical procedure.  Two years after that day we found that Noel had requested to be there each time Nikiyah needed help to get through the roller coaster of complications following every procedure.   To this day, I credit her compassion, professionalism and commitment to Nikiyah as the most significant reason she is alive and doing well!

(Nikiyah’s First Surgery)

As they prepared to take Nikiyah into her first surgery, Callie collapsed to the floor in front of us…    Lost in all my selfless emotions was the reality of the toll the “Unthinkable” had taken on our daughter.  Having no proper rest from the C section procedure she went through days earlier, and staying by Nikiyah’s side, the weight of what is about to happen came crashing down on her!   Our family was suffering!  But especially Callie!  If tomorrow came, what would it bring, and how would we get through it?

From that day on and over the next two years we would return to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Every time we would experience highs and lows, ups and downs!  However, through all of it, as I look back, I can say the support from these most outstanding doctors, nurses, and staff was a true blessing!  They always made sure we were informed and did everything possible to answer our questions, calm our fears, and help us make good decisions concerning Nikiyah!

 

(Recovering from Surgery #2 and #3)

My wish is that no family ever face their “Unthinkable”!  But if they do, I am grateful to God for the people who make up the Children’s Miracle Network!   My family will forever owe a debt of gratitude for everything you provided to us!

Today, Nikiyah has fully recovered from all the surgeries and procedures she went through.  The doctors still monitor her each month and schedule her for checkups!   Being a single ventricle heart patient means that someday Nikiyah’s heart will wear out.   If it is God’s will that she receives a new heart, this beautiful, special girl will continue to impact the world around her all because Children’s Miracle Network made it possible!

(Happy 3rd Birthday, Nikiyah!)

 

 

 

 

 

In 2016 our organization United Networks of America became a sponsor for CMN.  That day I understood I could personally help other families who would face their “Unthinkable”!  I represent the KentuckyRxCard and through our support for CMN I am now an ambassador for their cause.  I have been privileged to stand before hundreds of people and speak about the wonderful things CMN does for children and their families across our nation!  For me it is a commitment I intend to keep the rest of my life!

On behalf of Nikiyah, and our entire family, we want to express our gratitude to each person who contributed to change our most “Unthinkable” day into a future we call our “Miracle”!  May God Richly Bless you is our prayer every day!

 

Sincerely,

 

Rick Miller

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