Wednesday, 9 November 2016

FAMILY: When life (quite literally) flips upside down

You may have noticed that it has been quieter both on my blog and social media recently, which is for a number of reasons. One of which I'm going to share today, but be warned it is a pretty terrifying string of events so if you're an anxious person this may not be the read for you.  


It was a normal Sunday morning, Isabella woke up at 6.30am and we bought her into our bed for a book or two. We then all headed downstairs for some breakfast, a very typical lazy start for us. We were due to be going to my husband's auntie's house for birthday celebrations, so started getting ready around 8am. We were all excited to see that side of the family, have a good catch up and eat lots of delicious food. As it was nearly Halloween we dressed Isabella up in some Skeleton pyjamas I had picked up from GAP last year for a steal at only £1.99! (Later you'll realise the irony of her outfit choice on this particular day).

We packed up the car with birthday presents, sterilisers/bottles I had for my sister-in-law, many layers of coats/scarfs as it was cold and finally ourselves. It was about 9.20am by the time we left the house, so we were encouraging Isabella to have a nap as soon as we were on the road. She, of course, was having none of it and more than happy to look out of the window for tractors and cars. I had actually been feeling really poorly in the morning and nearly didn't go with them, but 'manned up' and decided to go too.

About 20/25 minutes into the journey we were heading up the motorway when my husband commented on a car's driving in front of us. They were weaving around the fast lane, almost crossing over to the middle lane and then swerving back again. He said that they were going to cause an accident if they weren't careful, again the irony will be apparent in a minute. We were then going off on a double lane slip road to join the next road when our lives, quite literally, flipped upside down.

The car that my husband had commented on just a few miles back was in the middle lane of the motorway and without any warning they suddenly decided they also needed to be down the slip road we were on. The last thing I remember was seeing the car heading straight for us, before we flipped multiple times, hit the Armco barrier twice (once on the boot and once in between our heads at the front of the car) and slid for what felt like forever on the roof of the car. Neither of us remember the flipping or hitting the barrier, but what I do remember is the smell and noise. The smell of burning rubber, glass, metal and the noise of all of these things grinding across the motorway floor.

As soon as the car stopped my husband and I screamed at each other to make sure we were both ok, luckily we were. I remember my seat belt being so tight around my tummy, so I realised it and must have dropped to the roof of the car, though I don't remember this. Bearing in mind when we stopped the car was upside down, as were we. My husband somehow managed to get his door open and climbed out. I then clambered over the middle of the car and climbed out his door too. I don't know if I tried my own door or just saw light on his side and headed for it straight away. Once we were both out we were screaming for Isabella, crying and screaming and trying every door. I remember hearing Isabella cry once and then nothing. Nothing but my own cries for her and the real fear that we had lost her. Those moments are by far the worst and are the ones that keep me up for hours at night. For those moments I thought our world had changed forever, I thought I'd lost my baby.

By the time I had climbed out of the car there were a lot of people who had stopped to help, which was amazing. They were honestly so brave and helpful in such a scary situation for everyone. As I was screaming for Isabella I remember my husband and a man from the public literally ripping the metal off on the of the doors, it's incredible the strength you get in those emergency situations. Then suddenly Isabella appeared in my husband's arms on the other side of the car to where I was standing. I ran around and grabbed Isabella and held on to her. Held on for dear life. The relief was intense and overwhelming.

Considering what had happened to both us and the car we had minimal injuries, luckily. I honestly believe someone was looking down on us because even the police (who obviously sadly deal with these situations regularly) said they couldn't believe we all walked away from the car relatively ok. I have thought about sharing a photo from the crash, but decided not to as they have shaken up and upset our loved ones who wanted to see them and I don't in anyway want to upset or scare anyone else.

The boot of the car had completely gone, resulting in the boot full of presents etc. being strewn across the motorway's hard shoulder. Though we were going off on the slip road we actually ended up stopped a few hundred metres down the motorway, having hit into the barrier and spun back onto the motorway! The public kindly helped collect all of our belongings up, by which point a quick response ambulance had arrived. Quickly followed by two fire engines, two ambulances and about ten police cars, it was quite the scene!

As I had blood dripping from my knee and luckily Isabella and my husband had minimal wounds I was first to be seen. My tights had been completely ripped at the knee and I had a gash on my knee, bad bruising down my left hand side where I must have been hit into the door and a few minor cuts on my hands from the glass. We were all beyond lucky and still now I can't actually believe how lucky we actually were. We all got into the back of the ambulance where Isabella was put in their on-board car seat, I was on the bed with my bandaged knee and my husband was sitting on the chair next to me. We were all shaking so much with adrenaline and I kept panicking and hyperventilating. I couldn't stop asking everyone if they were ok, was Isabella definitely not hurt? My husband had hit his head, was he going to be ok? At the time I remember being annoyed that the paramedics were fussing over me, when I wanted them to check over Isabella and my husband.

We went to the nearest hospital in the ambulance, where Isabella went off with my husband to the children's a&e and I was wheeled into the adult a&e. So after all that I was left by myself, in an environment I found scary. It was so surreal when the paramedic handed over to the a&e staff by saying, "This is Helen and she's been involved in a serious RTC...". Never words you think you'll hear about yourself.

After a lot of waiting around I finally got stitches in my knee, Isabella and my husband were given the all clear and we headed home in my Dad's car. We were all exhausted, aching and couldn't stop looking at each other in disbelief at what had happened. Fair to say we never made it to the birthday celebrations, in fact most of the presents we had for people were now broken.

The following days consisted of more hospital trips, phone calls to the insurance, police and concerned loved ones. We had to go to where the car had been recovered to pick up all of our belongings from the car. It was so emotional seeing the car again and surreal having to shake the mass amount of broken glass off all of our belongings. Some things were broken or completely lost, probably left on the side of the motorway.

Though our physical wounds are starting to heal now, the emotional wounds are far from being healed. I am suffering from the worst migraine/headaches I've ever had, I can't sleep at night as I constantly replay what happened and looking at a bright computer screen just makes it all worse. I've had a panic attack when we went on the motorway for the first time again and I've still not been brave enough to drive myself yet. It's going to take some 'getting over' or 'coming to terms with', not just for me but for all of us. Right now I only feel safe if I have my whole family in my house and that no one is driving anywhere.

For anyone wondering which car seat literally saved our daughter's life, it was the Joie i-Anchor Advance with i-size and ISO-fix. We can confirm that it does well in 'cars flipping multiple times and landing on their roof' crashes. Isabella didn't have a cut or bruise on her and I'll forever be grateful to Joie for that. Unfortunately, as it was involved in a serious car crash we had to leave it in the car to be crushed. But we fully intend to buy it again and would highly recommend it to others too!

I guess the purpose of this post is to highlight how quickly life can change and therefore how important it is to tell your loved ones you love them, hold your family close and to be grateful for what you have. As well as to drive safely and be cautious of any drivers you see driving erratically or dangerously. Trust your instinct, my husband said that the driver who hit us was going to cause a crash and they did.

We thank our lucky stars everyday that we survived.

Helen x

I'm linking this blog post up with BloggerClubUK, That Friday Linky, The List and PicknMix.
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20 comments

  1. Oh my gosh, Helen, how terrifying! I just read that with tears in my eyes. So glad you're all OK physically and I hope you feel better soon.

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  2. Oh my gosh that is scary. It could of ended much worse. Perhaps maybe some therapy will help with the nightmares etc xx

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  3. Wow that is just awful! I hope the driver of that car was or is being convicted. You poor things! I have reported drivers like that to the police before and have always hoped they have been pulled over before they cause accidents like this! We all make errors in judgement every now and again but this is something else!
    I'm glad you all came out of it physically ok. The emotional side will take time but you will get there.
    #BloggerClubUK

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  4. Oh my, this sounds awful and so terrifying. I'm glad you're all relatively ok, I know it will take time to come to terms with but just know everyone is thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery xxx

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  5. Wow, thank god you and your family are safe you are so blessed! I almost had an accident with a similar driver who was on the road but luckily managed to avoid him when he swerved, when I reported him it turned out there was no one registered to the car and they suspected it to be a drug lord! The police were completely useless in helping my case but I really hope you and your family get the justice you deserve for this ordeal!

    Abigail Alice x

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  6. Gosh this was awful to read! Glad to hear you were safe, sad to hear about the outstanding pains though :( I hope they caught the driver!

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  7. Oh sweetheart I am so sorry to read this. It must have been utterly terrifying. I am so so glad you all got out ok. Sending you lots of love. Take care of yourself and take it very easy for a while xxxx

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  8. Oh my gosh!!!! I'm so sorry to read this. My heart is still racing. I can't imagine what you went through. It must have been terrifying.

    I'm so glad to hear you're ok. Please make sure you take some well deserved time off and rest!

    Sending you lots of love and well wishes.

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  9. Oh, Helen, how awful. I'm so, so glad you're all okay - I've got chills just thinking about Matilda being in an accident like that; I can't imagine the fear you must have felt. And I totally understand about it still affecting you - I was in a (less serious) accident about ten years when the brakes failed and my friends and I ploughed into the back of another vehicle and it was a long, long time before I was comfortable sitting in the front seat again.

    *Big hugs*

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  10. Oh Helen, I am so sorry this happened to you and your family. I could feel your emotion when reading this. What a truly awful and scary thing. I'm glad you're all okay x

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  11. I can't even imagine how terrifying that must have been for you Helen. I recently witnessed a similar sort of accident (though caused by wet weather not other awful drivers!), and stopped and helped pull the lads out of the car. It was one of the scariest things I've ever witnessed and how they all walked away relatively unscathed still baffles me! It was terrifying from my position so I can't even imagine how that must have felt for you. So glad you're all okay <3 xxx

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  12. Crikey that sounds like some crash. Thank god you were all ok. Fingers crossed over time the memories fade and your anxiety improves. I know after just a small bump at minimal speed how jumpy you feel getting back in a car for the first time, so after a major crash it must be so difficult.

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  13. Oh my word, that's horrendous. What a scary thing for you all to go through, thank god you were all ok. The amount of times we have seen people driving erratically like this and made a similar comment is scary. You've done well to get back in a car at all never mind on the motorway. Sending virtual hugs, and lots and lots of chocolate x
    #Picknmix

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  14. Such a terrifying thing to happen! I am so glad you are all safe. getting over such an emotional trauma is hard, make sure you really nurture yourself and be gentle wit your emotions. Talking and writing about it will be a huge help and lots of hugs with your little one. Never bottle your feelings up. Sending well wishes xx

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  15. Can't imagine how terrifying it must of been glad you are all ok Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

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  16. I have been reading your blog since my baby arrived last year, but this is the first time I've left a comment. I am in tears reading this, you poor thing. I was in a car crash when my baby was 6 months old and it was truly terrifying. It was also a high speed crash but not as bad as yours. How my baby survived, I don't know. The emotional and mental recovery has been tough - please get support from a psychiatrist. I waited 9 months before seeing one (insurance company arranged it) but wish I had gone sooner. It put my fears into perspective, and helped me understand them. I'm so sorry this happened to you and hope you all make a full recovery xx

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  17. Wow it sounds like you have all been through a massive ordeal! I'm so glad no-one was seriously hurt. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

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  18. Oh Helen, this must have been so scary! Amazing there were so many kind people to help and I am so pleased that you're all okay. I really hope this was a wake up call to the other driver as well! Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix lovely

    Stevie xx

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  19. I'm so glad you are all ok! I was in a crash not quite as severe when I was about 10 and it shook me up for ages! Take care xx
    Thanks for linking to #Picknmix
    Eilidh x

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  20. Oh gosh I've only just seen this. You poor things. I'm sat here crying for you and will be giving Aria extra cwtches tonight. Take care. Xx

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