I need to preface this post with this will be violent and very tough to read. It was the scariest day of my life and writing this is going to take a long time. I have taken several days to pick the right words to not traumatize anyone. I have my councilor on speed dial as writing this we know will probably cause the nightmares and flashbacks to come back. After discussing this, sometimes getting it out, making it more real, helps people understand. I can say I was robbed, I can say that I have anxiety, but people all lead normal lives after that. Why haven’t I gotten there yet? PLEASE remember I am not looking for sympathy, just closure. I need to tell my story get it out and please know that in the end, there is a happy ending. I promise.
A week before Thanksgiving, a date I want to keep to myself as its forever engraved in my mind, I opened my store like I would any other day the last 9 years. 2 men walked in and started talking like normal customers do. When I turned around from answering a question, there it was, a gun pointed straight in my face. In this moment the first thing that popped in my mind was my son and my husband. You hear about how people’s life flash before their eyes. I don’t know if that’s what I would call it. I saw my loved ones smiling and laughing for what I started praying would not be the last time. We will jump forward a bit. They had taken to me to our backroom and had me lay down on my stomach. They zip tied my hands and legs together. They were screaming at me. I have never prayed so much in my life. It seemed like I was laying there forever and they weren’t leaving. I could hear things crashing. What was happening? I remember just thinking about how my husband would be notified and how long I may be laying here. Praying that if they shot me, it wouldn’t be somewhere that would kill me. Please God let me live. We had been trying for another baby, I may be pregnant. My son, he would be growing up without me. My husband devastated and doing it on his own. I just kept begging for my life. Why was all this happening you ask?
For cell phones.
You didn’t miss read this. They had me pleading for my life, praying they didn’t steal my phone with my families pictures, my wallet that had my address, my car…….for cell phones. Someone had come to the door. It’s not important who but they did. I prayed they wouldn’t come in and get hurt or end up like me. Why wouldn’t they just leave. The guys kept opening the side door trying to leave, but this person just wouldn’t stop knocking for what seemed like an eternity. I kept feeling the cold breeze hit my side every time they opened the door. Finally the last wind. The gush of air was so big, it just hit froze my body. I knew they were leaving and I braced myself for what I was sure was about to be a gunshot. Instead it was the slamming of the door. That’s when fight or flight kicked in. I remembered looking at my schedule and my next employee would be coming in at 11. I could wait for them to find me, but the guys could come back or I could get the hell out on my own. I remember wiggling my hands out of the ties the best I could and being able to flip over to take off my shoes and slide out my feet. From here I started to crawled barefoot to my purse. My credit cards and drivers license where it always was but my purse was everywhere in the room. I crept to the front and dialed 911. While waiting for the cops, still online with dispatch, I tried to call my manager. The banging at the front startled me. I had shoved myself into the small area under our front desk in case they came back. I remember the dispatcher and my boss yelling Katie you have to open the door. I promise it’s my officers. There surrounding the door are police officers with guns drawn. I run to the door and unlock it dropping to the floor. I had made it through. Help was here. I could breath, right? It was over, I had done everything to protocol. Let’s take inventory. So, the cash drawer….all still there, all of my jewelery, wedding rings, mothers ring that Nate bought to symbolize baby June, my credit and debit cards, my 2 personal cell phones, and my car keys again all still there. So what did they take?
Here is a free lesson in why your cell phone provider asks you multiple times if you want cell phone insurance. Because YES your cell phone really does cost $600-900. These guys stole, from a smaller cell phone store, almost most $50,000 in phones. And that is if they only get what the full retail of them are. Some places on the black market will pay $100,000 for iPhones. They don’t need my modest yet meaningful wedding ring or the cash out of the drawer. These phones were a pay day all on their own. Take the insurance, you would very easily pick pocketed, purse stolen or car broken into just for your phone. I’ve had customers have their phones stolen and 15 minutes later it has already been traded for cash at the local mall recycling vending machine. They pay cash and you don’t have to prove it’s yours until questioned. It’s not just a gimmick.
The hours after were surreal. Investigators, Tracking dogs, police officers everywhere. I was still in shock. Working all these years in small towns or even Fond du lac, I never thought it would happen to me. I knew it was happening, cell phone stores with Armed Gaurds. But never our hinkey dink stores. I never questioned it when I was helping in a major city.
The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I remember coming home though to my boys and finally crying the hardest. Letting it all out. I hugged my boys so tight, I was never letting go.
In the events that happened, the doors were unlocked at 10 a.m. and the call was dispatched at 10:10 a.m. it was only 10 minutes that changed my entire life. The next 7 days I couldn’t leave my house. I was too scared to sleep, I could barely eat and the sound of anything made me jump and cry. I was having weird triggers that would cause me to hyperventilate. One morning, our son had a temper tantrum, his screaming caused me to have a panic attack and flash back. When I would have these attacks, I would try to hide. I needed to find the most hidden spot and I was terrified. These attacks would last for 15 minutes sometimes. I couldn’t be alone, especially not with my son. I could barely take care of him. My attacks were scaring him. He didn’t understand. I was a prisoner in my own home. The first day I went to counseling was the worst. I balled the whole way with this anxiety of paranoia. My councilor is amazing. They personalize in PTSD patients. She does work with hypnosis. The first visit was emotionally draining. After being put under, I started to remember things my mind had blocked. I would just sob. It got so bad that it was the only place I could go and thats being nice. My councilor recommended maybe looking at anxiety medicine, but first I needed to know if I was pregnant. We took a few tests at home and finally a few days later went to the hospital for a blood test………2 hours later we got the call………it was positive!!!!!!! As I write this, I can still feel the first smile grace my face in almost 2 weeks. But the hard truth of anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, the reality of what getting. excited too early could result in again.
We went to have an ultrasound and was given a Due date of August 13, 2015. Which means I was only about 6 weeks along. The ultrasound looked great and from what they could see, it was what it should be for the start of a healthy pregnancy. 2 weeks later though we went in for another and unfortunately the baby was still measuring 6 weeks. Emotionally, I just couldn’t handle much more. My Dr kept me on leave for another few weeks. We needed to get this baby through the first few months without stress another just the thought of going back into a store made me panic. I needed to be as calm as possible. Being calm means the baby will grow. I needed it to grow. I needed to know that I was strong enough to get through this life. Losing another baby would just mean I had failed again or that these guys not only took my soul, but they took away a baby we tried so hard for. F that noise!! We decided to tell everyone at Christmas. At least our family. We decided that life is too short, we learned this year, to celebrate every chance we could. This baby would be our gift from God for getting through my hellish ordeal. While on leave my councilor really helped me to get to a point where I could tell these guys to F off. They were not controlling my life anymore. The downfall. I just couldn’t go back to work. I felt better, the pregnancy was being so closely monitored after moving back the due date to August 22nd. But being at work was a nightmare. My friends stopped calling. I never wanted to leave the house. Leaving means people see me. These guys could be from anywhere. Or what if something like it happened again. This time when I’m alone with Kam. Big crowds were traumatizing. We tried to go out for New years eve and the anxiety was overwhelming. I got a new job and decided it was time to concentrate on my family and growing this baby. In February I started my new job. The baby started to grow and the nightmares were starting to go away. If I would watch a police show (unfortunately my favorite) I would have flash backs and nightmares. We decided to move and start fresh. It’s hard after a year not having as close if a relationship with your friends. Yes a phone works both ways, however, people just stopped calling. I wasn’t who I used to be. I was angry, I was scared, I was unbearable. My husband deserves a medal because he dealt with a lot. We learned we were having a girl. How complete, a boy and girl. I tried to not complain about the pains too much in pregnancy because I was so grateful for the new opportunity. The thought is there though that it could still happen. The anniversary of losing June was horrible. Luckily I was off work. The morning of August 1 at 7:07 am, our little screaming girl came into the world like a fire cracker. After only 40 minutes in the hospital she was here. She is healthy and large for 3 weeks early. She is beautiful and my little rainbow baby. She is the gold at the end of my rainbow. As I sit here with her sleeping on my chest and listening to her brother sleep on the monitor, I thank God. He works in mysterious ways. Had June gone full term, the stress from the robbery could have put me in labor and could have caused a baby born 8 weeks early. It’s life would be so difficult, we could have lost them then. It was a blessing in disguise that God prepared us for the robbery before we even knew of it. I’m return, we got miss Kenz. She will be a great finishing touch to our family. Now that I am not worrying about her as much, the nightmares are coming back. That’s why I’m being so open about everything. The Dr and I agreed that blogging may be less draining to get it out and not let it own me any longer.
Now that we are all caught up, we can get to the good stuff. And if you and if you are still reading, thank you. It was hard to write but I hope anyone else with PTSD will know you are not alone. You can get a normal esk life back. Together with the friends that will still be there and family.
♡hug your family tightly tonight