If you’re ready to read a little more in depth about the girl behind Palm Beach Parties, I will warn you that this is not a glamours story. Heck, it isn’t even pretty. But, it will give you a little bit of why I share so much of my family on Instagram and why my turnaround times may be a bit longer than most designers. We have a story. It’s not pretty, but it’s why Palm Beach Parties came to reality.
In October of 2008, our family was coming back from the pumpkin patch and headed to pick up my first pair of non maternity jeans since my c-section 7 weeks prior. We were stopped at a red light when our car was rear ended by a large SUV going 60 mph who failed to brake. Upon impact, I was bent over getting something out of my diaper bag (in the passenger seat). Not knowing what had happened and hearing my daughters screaming in the backseat, I turned to the left to see my girls (who were 2 and 7 weeks) when we were struck again and then forced into the car in front of us. Again, not really knowing what was going on I turned in the other direction, to the right, when we were struck again. And then finally, unable to move, I sat facing straight when we were hit for the last two times from behind and force into the car in front of us, thinking that this was it.
It’s funny how that little thing called adrenaline and the fight-or-flight response kick in when you hear your babies screaming. That woman who sat there unable to move for what seemed like an eternity, when in reality it may have been a split second, became super women. To this day it is unclear how I managed to open Ella’s door to get her infant seat out of the car since our car became so completely compacted that the tow company could not close the door when they towed our totaled car away.
I remember coming home from 9 hours in the ER and being able to put our girls to bed and sobbing. Sobbing, because we were lucky enough to tuck them into bed after all. So, if you see photos of my girls plastered all over my Instagram page or FB wall, it’s because they are my little angels who are lucky to be here each and every day.
It will forever be unclear as to why that gentleman hit our car and continued to hit our car. All communication was done through our attorneys. We have never seen nor spoken to that man.
Each member of my family was left with injuries, following that day, some worse than the rest. I learned that the spine was not designed to bend and was left with five cervical (neck) disc herniations, one of which was greatly impinging on my spinal cord and a lower disc herniation. My husband also has the herniated disc in his lower back. Ava has a small scar on her chin from debris hitting her and Ella had a vast amount of GI issues and was unable to digest anything other than breast milk for 18 months. So I did what any mother would do, I put my treatment on hold and took care of my 7 week old baby until her little body could heal.
During the 18 months that it took Ella to heal I went to physical therapy 2-3 times a week to try to build up the muscles that were becoming damaged from the discs pushing on the nerves in my neck. I no longer had feeling in either of my hands or in my right arm. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my hands burning so badly that I could not bend a finger. My neurosurgeon told me that I could not wait any longer and had to start epidural injections right away. It was a “cold turkey” option to wean Ella onto regular food, but she did great and I went in for a series of three injections over a course of a few months and continued with physical therapy.
The injections offered little relief, if any and soon I began dropping things such as boiling water and not feeling anything (even a hot iron) and again my neurosurgeon advised me that I could not put off having the spinal fusion, disc replacement and spinal cord decompression at the c4/c5 level. Even though I would still have 4 herniated discs in my neck, this was a start to recovery. When Ella was 2 1/2 and I knew that I could endure the 6 weeks recovery it took to not be able to pick her up, cook dinner, clean or basically do anything, I agreed to have the surgery June 21st, 2011.
After having kids, surgery can be pretty scary, but having a surgery that involves your spinal cord, I cried for days leading up to the day. It was advised by my doctors to have a living will in place (to make matters even more scarier) and I remember the surgery day like yesterday. I remember all three anesthesiologists coming into pre-opt asking me if I was aware of the surgical procedure about to take place. I remember two other doctors coming in who were going to be in my surgery only to check my nerves. And lastly I remember my neurosurgeon coming in trying to make me and my hubby feel relaxed before he took his blue marking pen and marked a perfectly straight line across the front of my throat before he handed my hubby the pen to take home as a keepsake. At that point my husband teared up, kissed me good-bye and walked out. In came one anesthesiologist, asked if I ready to do this, and I woke up in recovery 4 hours later and that’s when my whole world was flipped upside down.
(stayed tuned for part two)
*I am thankful that my husband and I took the time to get trained by our local police department on how to properly install a car seat. I feel that with this knowledge we were able to securely install and buckle our girls into their car seats, which helped save their lives. Since our car accident I have become a car seat advocate for the state of Florida.