East Texas Mom’s Amazing Story, How Her Toddler Came Back to Life
Last week while browsing through Facebook, I saw a post from Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace pleading for prayers for a little girl who had been submerged in a pond in the Centralia area of Trinity County. Over the next 24 hours, I learned a few more details.
The two-year-old girl is named Tessa. She was underwater for a very long period of time. She was transported to a hospital in Houston, but the prognosis was extremely grim. I also learned that her parents are Amanda and Jonathon Aycock.
Over the next few days, Amanda gave updates on the progress of her youngest daughter. Some of these victories along the way are nothing short of miracles. Amanda was quick to give all glory to God.
I don't personally know Amanda and her family, but I know that her testimony was very moving to me. I wanted to share her narrative with others but felt it would be very awkward and even crass to reach out to a stranger who is going through such a terrible nightmare. I decided to do it anyway.
I asked if I had permission to post a story on our station's website concerning Tessa's story. I told her that I would compose the story from information and pictures/videos gathered from her social media posts. I wanted more people to know of this family's strong faith and I wanted more people to pray for Tessa. Amanda thought the story would be a good idea and indicated she would send me some more information for the story.
I want you to really think about the following: Here's a mom whose daughter had no heartbeat just a few days ago, a mom that is hearing medical personnel tell her about all the possible uncertainties that lie ahead for her sweet Tessa, a mom that probably has not strung together more than 30 minutes of continuous sleep since the middle of last week. Yet, she took the time to write me a complete narrative of this terrible incident all the way to the up-to-the-minute miraculous events. She event sent numerous pictures and videos...all to share the testimony, all to reach more people to pray for healing.
Here is what Amanda Aycock sent to me:
On Wednesday, January 19th, my daughter, mine, and my family's life as we know it came to a screeching halt. Around 5 pm I realized a horror no parent wanted. Our youngest of 3 girls, our sweet, spirited Tessa Claire had slipped out of the house and was missing. I last had visual contact with her 5-10 minutes before she went missing.
We live on a total of 5 acres with my in-laws and brother-in-law. Between us all, we began to search for Tessa. After about 20 minutes of searching, I was walking back to my front yard to tell my husband to get in the pond and start searching. This would be no easy task as we have a rather large pond. I was about 30 yards from the pond and realized Jonathon (my husband) and his dad were already in there when they started screaming and yelling for help.
All I remember is running and screaming, by the time I got there, they laid her on the grass and I dropped to my knees and began CPR. Her little body had no signs of life. It’s a miracle they found her right where she was in the pond due to the size, but they jumped in because they saw a small area without any moss, maybe about the size of a silver dollar, but it kept drawing my father-in-law's attention, so when they jumped in they took a fishing net and cast it around once, then again and hit Tessa the second time.
I performed CPR until emergency officials arrived and helped take over so I could call the hospital I work at and tell them to prepare. It took about 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive as we were already on the phone with law enforcement when Tessa was found. David and his crew with Groveton EMS arrived and transported my baby to CHI St Luke's.
About 10 minutes or so en route, we saw our first spark of hope when Tessa’s little heart started beating again. Her heart was beating after an estimated 30 minutes underwater and 30 minutes of CPR.
I could write a thick, thick book at this point of all that has happened since then. But my work family at St. Luke's went above and beyond in taking care of Tessa and my family. I knew they would. Her temp when we arrived was 82.2 degrees. We were transferred to Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston. Everyone there has been exceptional.
We arrived Thursday around 12 AM. While Tessa was being situated in the pediatric ICU, Jonathon and I were in the waiting room when one of the doctors came out, explained what they were doing, and then asked me a question no parent is ever prepared for. He asked in the event Tessa goes into cardiac arrest again - did we want her to receive CPR again or would we like to sign a Do Not Resuscitate form?
It was like a sucker punch to my chest. She’s 2 years old. How can we even be discussing this? How did this happen? Jesus, I know you have a plan for everything, and you promise something new to be born out of pain, but WHY? Tessa had shown some fight and responsiveness to the point of sedation at that point, so we told them we wanted her to be resuscitated.
Around 10am Thursday, her new attending physician in ICU talked to Jonathon and I and gave even more grim news. He explained earlier Tessa had been showing increased signs of improvement by coughing/gagging over her endotracheal tube but now he couldn’t see any signs like that. He explained he thought she might be moving towards nuchal herniation, which is where the brain swells to the point of pushing the brain stem through the spinal canal, causing tissue death. Your brain stem controls your basic functions to life, so this would be fatal.
We took to asking for prayers, right then, the kind of prayer where you stop and drop everything. And our family, community, and a sea of strangers responded. I remember gut-wrenching sobbing over my girl while I laid my hands on her and prayed. God, only you can do this. Heal my baby God, I can't do life without her, I need her Father, I am begging you. I am begging you.
Later that evening, Tessa and God gave us the best sign of all. I was having another moment of crying and praying while everyone was sleeping when I went to Tessa’s bedside and put my hand in hers, and she gripped my hand then squeezed. The next day she started flittering her eyes, and every day that has passed she has done something amazing.
Today (Monday) we got MRI results that showed some hypoxic injury to her basal ganglia and cortical regions of her brain. These areas control movement, posture, thought process, behaviors, and so much more. Her neurologist's words were “expect her to be different.” Respectfully, no. I don’t accept that. She needs time and therapy - but our girl is going to be the same spirited, sweet, spitfire she’s been since she entered this world. No accident will ever change that.
Another doctor today also said he thought she didn’t recognize us and wasn’t looking at us. Again, I refuse that. My girl knows her parents. We have now removed the ETT and Tessa is breathing 100% on her own. She is also off her sedation and she is looking at us, tracking us with her eyes, and making vast improvements hour by hour.
It’s not an easy round we have ahead of us but by the grace of God we are ready for it and the challenges it presents. I truly believe with my whole heart, that Tessa is going to be just fine. We can’t do it without continued prayers though, and we can’t explain how thankful, grateful, and humbled we are by the many prayers being sent up for Tessa, as well as all the many calls/texts/messages/donations and everything else in between.
There is so much I had to leave out about this journey we’ve been through but the bottom line is this. God is faithful and in control. Every time a doctor has approached us with “bad news”, Tessa has proved them wrong and I know it’s from her spirit and God's intervention. We have seen Him move these past few days and I feel Tessa’s Testimony making the Devil tremble.
Another name for God is Jehovah Rapha - the God who heals and he has proved his namesake over our sweet Tess. God bless you all. We ask for continued prayers and I pray in return you all are blessed. May we all be tough like Tess.
Mark 5:41, then Jesus took the girl's hand and said “Talitha, koum!” Which translates to “Little girl, rise up!”
All our love and appreciation - Amanda and Jonathon Aycock
I pray that Tessa continues her miraculous recovery. I pray that the Aycock's testimony will spread like wildfire. This I do know - all those who are praying for the healing of Tessa, are themselves being spiritually healed in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
Tessa Aycock's Miraculous Road to Recovery