By Tommy and Teresa AdkinsWLAF NEWS ARCHIVES FROM MARCH 13, 2013

LAFOLLETTE, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – My husband and I awoke to what seemed to be any normal day other that the large amount of snow that was rapidly piling up outside. We lived in a rural area in Campbell County where the roads become very treacherous with even a small amount of snow on them. Snow always caused travel problems, so we knew that traveling anywhere was not on the agenda for the day, well at least that is what we thought. At this time I was pregnant with our second child with my due date being a few weeks away.

We weren’t really concerned, that is until the pains started. Even at that we really didn’t become too excited. Later that day as the pain grew worse we did become more concerned. By this time, family that could get there as well as some dear neighbors and friends had heard of our situation and made their way through the snow to our house to assist in any way that they could. 

Eventually 911 was called and we were told that a “normal” emergency vehicle would not be able to respond, that the roads were so bad that they would not be able to get there. However, they would send paramedics but they would have be brought by the National Guard. This took some time, but the paramedics did arrive. By this time the roads were so bad that even the National Guard vehicle could not make it to our house. So the paramedics walked about  half a mile in waist deep snow drifts to get to our house. Once they arrived and I was checked, I was told, “Yes you are in labor and we have two options. We can attempt to make it to the National Guard vehicle and get you to the closest hospital or we can stay and deliver the baby here.”

Needless to say we were soon on our way to the awaiting National Guard vehicle. I was unable to walk, of course, and had to be carried through all of the snow and snow drifts. Thanks to the paramedics, family and neighbors, we made it to the vehicle and were soon on our way to the hospital. Like I said, the roads were horrible and we were moving extremely slow and cautious, but even at that the National Guard vehicle slid into the ditch. But thanks to the skills of a wonderful driver and friend, we overcame that obstacle as well and were once again on our way. By this time my labor pains really didn’t seem as intense. I wasn’t sure if it was from all the events that were taking place that made it seem less severe, but either way I wasn’t in as much pain and for that I was grateful.

Once we arrived at our local hospital (which no longer delivers babies) I was checked and told that I was dilated. However, since they were not equipped to deliver babies there, that we would now be transported by the Rescue Squad to Oak Ridge where the baby could be delivered. This was a very long and tiresome trip because even the main roads and interstate were a mess.

Finally, we arrived at Oak Ridge hospital where I was admitted and checked only to be told that I was dilated but it looked like my labor had stopped and that we were going to be released from the hospital. And there we were, labor stopped, no possible way of returning home as the snow was still coming down, so my husband, our young daughter and a dear cousin were stranded in Oak Ridge.

We finally found a hotel room and over the next few days we made several trips back to the doctor to be checked. Thank the Lord the hotel was close to the hospital as we had to walk, there were no rental cars to be found. During those days, my labor would start only to stop again, so we didn’t have a baby during the blizzard.

As hard and discouraging as it was during that time, we later understood that all these events were preparing us for the actual arrival of our second child who was born a couple weeks later on Easter morning. God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl whom at birth seemed completely healthy and normal, but at one and a half weeks old she turned blue during a sponge bath. This prompted an immediate visit to her pediatrician who quickly figured out that our little girl was in serious trouble.

We were rushed to Children’s Hospital where she was stabilized. We were told that more than likely she would not live through that night, but by chance that she did that she would need a heart transplant to survive and that the chances of that happening were not likely. We really were not given much hope for her survival. Our little girl did make it through the night, and the next morning was airlifted to Vanderbilt hospital where she was stabilized and placed on a heart transplant list.

The road that led to that happening was a long and hard one that I never dreamed that my family and I would travel. But God had a plan from the beginning, and at the age of two months old our daughter received her heart transplant. My family and I have never experienced such an emotional roller coaster, because you see for our child to live another family had to lose their child. I could never begin to explain all the different emotions that are felt. We could never be thankful enough for such a wonderful gift and blessing. 

Today our daughter is a normal healthy, soon to be 20-year-old young woman. So you see, the Blizzard of 1993 was a beginning to a different life for my family and taught us in many ways that life is uncertain and each day is a gift, whether there be a foot of snow, sunshine or a thunderstorm. Just enjoy it, and know that God has blessed you to experience it.  (WLAF NEWS ARCHIVES RE-PUBLISHED-03/13/2023-6AM-THIS IS FROM MARCH 13, 2013)