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Thanksgiving Miracle After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in the whole entire world,” Amy Knabe admits. “I love family get-togethers. We're really close with our families. I mean, it's just a really big event and it's a big deal and it's my favorite day.”

In 2017, Amy Knabe was looking forward to another Thanksgiving Day celebration at her parent’s house. She still had a couple dishes to make but around 4 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, she woke up feeling ill.

She recalls, “It's the weirdest feeling like thick and heavy, like the air just felt heavy and I felt like I couldn’t breathe well, and it was this horrible headache. Nothing is computing, nothing really makes sense.”

But one thought did cut through the fog: the health of her unborn baby. She already had one miscarriage, and it had taken years of trying before she and her husband, Matt, found success through in vitro fertilization. She was now 7 months pregnant.

Amy says, “The whole entire pregnancy was just like one thing after another. I was so worried about being pregnant, that I just assumed it was something to do with like my pregnancy.”  

By now, Matt had woken up, and was headed downstairs looking for Amy. But he was also disoriented and struggling to breath. He recalls, “I felt like my mind was moving to mush. Like I couldn't recall things, I couldn't think of things. But I knew it was getting worse downstairs. My knees were really, really weak and I definitely had trouble holding myself up.”  

He found Amy asleep on the couch and helped her back upstairs to bed. But when she said she was also feeling sick, he knew something was wrong. Grabbing his phone, Matt headed back downstairs trying desperately to call 911.

He remembers, “I could not think of the numbers 9-1-1. Like I knew there was an emergency number to call but it's like I couldn't formulate it in my head. I ended up opening my phone and was able to see my dad's picture and dialed that.”

Matt’s dad, Mark Knabe recalls, “When he called, I was scared, and I was anxious because I didn't have any idea what I was dealing with. And he says, ‘Dad, I've got – I've got a problem. I'm feeling really sick and dizzy...can you come over as soon as you can and help us? We really need your help, can you come?'” Matt hung up then passed out on the couch.

His dad jumped in his car and prayed as he sped towards the house 20 minutes away. He remembers, “I said, ‘Lord, I want to listen to You. I want Your wisdom and Your discernment. What do You want me to do in this situation? I don’t know what I'm going to be finding when I get over there.’”

Making the trip in half the time, Mark ran into the house to find Matt and Amy disoriented and sick but still alive. All signs pointed to one thing: carbon monoxide poisoning. Quickly, he helped them outside into the fresh air and called 911.

Mark says, “That was a very anxious moment during that whole thing. That’s when I was so thankful. It was minutes, not even minutes and it seemed like the fire truck came.”

Firefighters discovered the Knabe’s gas furnace had malfunctioned and the amount of carbon monoxide that leaked into the house should have been lethal. Fire Captain Michael Griffin was on the scene that morning and says, “In industrial settings you can have up to 50 parts per million for eight hours uh without symptoms. They had found over 240 parts per million of carbon monoxide. With the level of carbon monoxide that we found in the residence, I was greatly relieved that they were actually conscious and outside in the fresh air. Obviously they still needed to get treated for that because they're still retaining that in their blood.”

They gave Matt and Amy oxygen and rushed them to the hospital to be checked out. They were out of danger, but doctors weren’t sure how or if the gas had affected their unborn child. Amy recalls, “They didn't know what to do. They were just like ‘We've never had this happen with a pregnant person.’ I just wanted her out. I wanted her out and to like hold her and to know that she was okay.”  

The couple spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, grateful to be alive, and urged their friends and family to pray for their baby’s life. Mark says, “We got our church, we got our family, we got everybody praying for not only Matt and Amy to recover, but also for the baby to be fine.” Matt says, “The prayer chains, the emails and the encouragement that was coming around was overwhelming.”

Within a few days both had been released, and over the next two months, Amy’s doctors monitored her and the baby closely. Then on January 20, 2018, Lennon Louise Knabe was born. Amy says, “She was perfect, and she looked great, and they checked her for everything, and she seemed fine.” Matt recalls, “As soon as that little girl was born, I had a love for her that I cannot describe to you. And to see her for the first time was overwhelming.”

By then, Matt had replaced their faulty furnace and installed carbon monoxide detectors throughout their house. Fire Captain Griffin says, “They were very lucky to survive that exposure. If it was not for the quick thinking of their family member and coming over and finding them, they very easily could have passed away from their exposure to that. It's very important that people have a carbon monoxide detector in their home.”

Now, every Thanksgiving is a reminder of God’s blessings and the miracle that they are still alive. Mark says, “It's reminding me definitely on Thanksgiving how wonderful our God is and how He sees us through everything.”

Amy says, “Like I said, I love Thanksgiving anyway. I love holidays. I love tradition and family and it definitely makes you appreciate it even more.”

Matt recalls, “We look back and go ‘Wow, we can really see in those moment where God's hand was in this.’ Talk about being thankful.”

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