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Prayers In Sudden Tragedy Give Woman New Life

In the early hours of June 12, 2013, sixteen-year-old Raegan woke up and was unable to go back to sleep.

“I was just wide awake, and then I get a phone call,” Raegan remembers. “It’s my mom, and all she says is, ‘Help me, I can’t breathe.”’

Raegan raced down the hall where she found her mom, Julie, a smoker and asthmatic, gasping for air.

‘“I had a constant prayer going in my head, ‘Please God, please help me.’ She just looked like she was about to pass out or something, so I called 911.”’

Paramedics arrived to take Julie to the ER at St. Anthony’s hospital in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Before he left with the ambulance, Raegan’s father, Michael, told Raegan and her twin sister, Jordan, to stay with their brother, 10-yr-old Bauer.

“Our dad said, ‘Just give us an hour; she’ll be fine. We’ll be back soon. Don’t wake your brother up,’” Raegan recalls.

But at the hospital, things were far from okay; Julie’s lungs weren’t responding to treatment.

“As she was getting breathing treatments she worsened and as she worsened, her oxygen levels plummeted. And when they plummeted she passed out and they had to start doing basically a code blue,” says Dr. Blair.

The medical team moved Julie to the ICU, where she coded three more times and had a stroke. Her friend of nearly twenty years, charge nurse Kelli Schock, was on duty.

“I was right there doing the compressions, and I was saying goodbye to her, and it was right at 10 minutes we got her back again,” Kelli recalls. “And at this point what little hope I had had gone to none.”

Julie’s family and friends gathered at the hospital and started praying. Raegan remembers that time. “Some of it was just, ‘Please God, help us out, please. Like, we know you’re watching, we know you’re with us, please.’”

Then they learned Julie had developed disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC, a condition that was causing her blood to clot abnormally.

“I’ve known Julie for, at this point, 10 years,” Dr. Blair says. “And when my children’s mother died, Julie was one of the biggest support systems for my kids. So, Julie’s twins were instrumental in keeping my twins sane through that time, probably helping keep me sane through that time, and so I knew that I now needed to tell my kids again that one of their biggest support systems and their best friends’ mom is going to die.”

‘“They said your mom’s not going to make it if she codes again,” says Raegan. “Go in there and say your goodbyes. And we said, ‘No, she’s going to make it.’ Because we knew God was looking out for us.”’

While the family stayed by Julie’s side, more than a hundred people from the close-knit community of Shawnee gathered in the waiting room and hallways of the ICU to show their support and pray. 

“People would pray together; people would pray separately,” Raegan adds. “People from church would come and just sit there and pray with us for hours.”

“When I walk out of the intensive care unit and find fifty people in the waiting room, all believing in the power of prayer, and all believing that somehow she was going to be okay,” Dr. Blair recalls, “I’ll tell you, that’s amazing.”

Julie lived through night, but doctors didn’t hold out much hope for her recovery. Her sternum and ribs were broken from the CPR so she couldn’t breathe on her own. Her kidneys had also shut down.

“After she made it through the first night, they started saying you need to prepare, we know she made it through the first night, but there is a large chance she’ll be in a vegetative state,” Raegan remembers.

Julie was put into a medically induced coma and transferred to St. Anthony’s hospital in Oklahoma City for dialysis. There, Dr. Blair coordinated a team of nearly a dozen doctors assigned to her care. By now, people all over the country were praying. Julie’s DIC resolved, and over the next few weeks she continued to improve.

“Every step she took in a positive direction,” Jordan recalls, “I knew that was God.”

Finally, her kidneys started working again. After nearly a month in a coma, Julie woke up.

“I woke up and I had no idea how long I had been there,” Julie remembers. “I had no idea what had happened.  I had no idea what my family and friends had been through.”

Julie says the one thing she does remember was being with Jesus.

“I cannot put into words where I was or the joy and the peace and the calm that I felt. There's no chaos.  it was indescribable.”

After three difficult months, Julie made a stunning recovery and walked out of the hospital. Today, her heart, lung and kidney functions are all back to normal and she has been completely delivered from her addiction to smoking. Julie and those she loves credit her survival to one thing—prayer.

“It was a miracle that she’s up and walking and smiling and laughing,” says Jordan.

 “I do not think she would be here today if it wasn’t for those prayers,” Raegan adds.

“Everyone I know and people that I didn't know, praying for me, is the only reason that I'm here,” Julie agrees.

“In all the people that I’ve spoken to in her case,” says Dr. Blair, “No one has ever seen anyone in her situation walk out of a hospital. Never. Not before, not since, never.”

Julie cherishes each new day and her deeper relationship with Jesus.

“Jesus is guiding you, but you have to stop and listen,” says Julie. “I believe that God stripped us of everything except for each other and prayer, until the only thing that we had to look to was him.” 

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