Doctors can't explain it: 3-year-old girl is a 'miracle'
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Do you believe in miracles? A Cape Girardeau, Mo. family does.
They have living proof that sometimes in life, things happen that no one can truly explain.
On July 29, 2015, it was a beautiful, summer day.
"It was very hot," said Jamie Nipper.
Nipper, and her 3-year-old daughter, Alise, headed out for a swim party with friends from school.
"Wanted to catch up and have a good time before school starts," said Nipper.
Jamie and her daughter swam for a couple of hours.
"When we got there, it was sunny," said Nipper.
However, the weather quickly changed.
"We saw lightning from afar, that's when we had the kids get out of the pool," said Nipper. "For a split second I thought...keep her life jacket on."
But there really was no reason to do so. Everyone at the party was heading up to the patio to have a snack and fellowship before heading home. So, she took it off.
"All of the sudden I look over and she wasn't there, where I last saw her," said Jamie Nipper.
In a panic, Jamie ran to the water.
"I did a pool check, did not see her," she said. "I decided to do a second pool check and saw her foot under a raft. Something took over me. I remember jumping across the pool, coming up and shouting, 'Dial 911.' I was praying while I grabbed her that she would start coughing as if she'd just fallen in, but when I brought her up from the water, it was evident she was without life. She was blue."
She immediately started CPR.
A friend, Heather Kyle, stepped in to help.
"I had very little hope of a positive outcome," said Kyle. "I said we are going to do CPR until an ambulance gets here."
Alise did not have a pulse.
Kyle, a nurse and CPR instructor, was terrified.
"She was pale, no color, had no life," said Natika Rowles.
Rowles was at the party, and watched in disbelief.
"All I knew was to pray," said Rowles.
Rowles said she started to cry out to God.
"Fear kicks in, but the Word says speak those things not as they were and there was not life," said Rowles. "We wanted life so we spoke life, because that's what God tells us to do."
For 12 minutes Jamie and Heather continued CPR, and then there was a heartbeat.
"She all of the sudden had color and pink lips," said Jamie Nipper. "Her heart started and she started breathing, it was strong loud breaths."
"I was so amazed and joyful, I can't describe it," said Kyle.
The ambulance arrived. Alise was on her way to the hospital alive, but critical.
"I could feel my heart beating harder, almost like it stops," said Chris Nipper.
Chris got the phone call every parent hopes they never receive.
"I felt hopeless, I was rushing to the hospital while my daughter was losing life," said Chris Nipper.
From Cape Girardeau, Alise was transported to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
"Her body and her brain were hurt," said Doctor Jeremy Garrett. "Her lungs took on severe injury which continued to be a problem."
Doctors couldn't give Alise's parents much hope.
No one knew for sure how long she was at the bottom of that pool.
However, the injuries were traumatic, and the lack of oxygen to the brain was potentially devastating.
"Our first response was to start praying and notifying people," said Russell Grammer.
Grammer is the Director of the Prodigy Leadership Academy in Cape Girardeau where the Nipper's children attend school.
Back home in Cape Girardeau, Russell and his wife Amy turned to faith and became a support system for Alise's family.
"I think the faith response, that's already a level of courage because you have to face down the fear," said Grammer.
A family friend immediately set up a Facebook page, asking for everyone to Boldly Pray for Alise.
Jamie updated it often, giving everyone a chance to digitally walk alongside her family on Alise's journey.
After six days in the hospital, Alise began to improve.
"When they decreased sedation and she woke up and was talking, it was absolutely amazing," said Kyle.
They removed the ventilator, and Alise not only talked, she sang.
After two weeks, Alise got to go home.
"The day we left it was surreal, I felt like I can't believe we lived through this," said Jamie Nipper.
Alise blew everyone away with how the accident hardly phased her both mentally and physically.
"His [God's] hand was in it the entire time because there is no earthly, physical, rational way that little girl is running around and talking less than two weeks later," said Rowles.
Therapy after therapy session, Alise thrived and inspired.
"Her brain has gotten through it, her lungs recovered and as near as we can tell she's back to functioning as high level a 3-year-old can," said Dr. Jeremy Garrett.
Doctor Garrett lives for these moments.
"For her brain to come through this and be as functional as possible is astounding," said Dr. Garrett. "Prayer and luck and divine intervention were the key factors."
There is no medical reason why Alise is alive and well today.
"I'm thankful every night," said Chris Nipper. "I'm extremely grateful we have more of a chance to have her on earth with us."
"Seeing her full of life, it's God," said Russell Grammer.
Grammer hopes her story will inspire others. No doubt, it already has.
"I look at her and think, how amazing, how awesome is our God," said Jamie Nipper. "[We are] so blessed."
Jamie Nipper is now on a mission to not only tell the story about how her child is a miracle, but also to encourage everyone to become CPR certified.
Last month, she helped organize a free CPR training class at the Gordonville Fire Department.
The fire department offered to host the event after witnessing what happened to Alise.
They were the responding department at the time of her near drowning incident.
About 60 people participated in the event, and are now CPR certified.
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