Just over three years ago, Amy Owensby’s world was shattered when her daughter, Cheyenne Rae, suffered brain damage.
As WYFF News reports, Cheyenne was only eight months old when her father shook her while trying to stop her crying. Amy was separated from Cheyenne’s father at the time, and he was only able to see the baby on weekends.
Cheyenne suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. Her father, who claimed he, “just snapped,” was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Amy still remembers the day that she took her healthy baby to spend the night with her father, only to hear an hour and a half later that Cheyenne was not breathing and was being airlifted to the hospital.
“Between crying so hard I was shaking and throwing up, I was begging God to please save her or to take me instead. Right when I got by her bedside — seeing her covered in bandages, IVs everywhere, her leg was black from a blood clot, she was so swollen — my phone rings and it’s the cops saying James confessed to shaking her,” Amy wrote.
“The man I was in love with, my first love, high school sweetheart, a guy I had known and shared a life with almost 10 years did this to OUR daughter. My whole world came crashing down.”
On August 17th, Amy remembered that terrible day with some good news.
Happy Survivor Day my beautiful baby! 3 years since Cheyenne was shaken by her dad. 3 years since I was told she…
“Happy Survivor Day my beautiful baby!” Amy wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to Cheyenne’s recovery. “3 years since Cheyenne was shaken by her dad. 3 years since I was told she wouldn’t live through the night. 3 years since her heart stopped. 3 years since she had half her brain removed. 3 years since our lives changed forever. So very blessed that she’s still here with me, proving miracles do happen.”
Told at first that Cheyenne would not survive her injuries, Amy was then warned that her daughter might spend her life as a vegetable.
And while she does continue to struggle, Cheyenne has defied the odds.
Amy posts occasional updates, letting their well-wishers know about how Cheyenne is progressing and sharing pictures of her active and beautiful little girl.
Amy cautions those that think that it could never happen to them that she thought the same thing once.
“Cheyenne was a happy, healthy, thriving baby girl, (and) now she struggles to do stuff she mastered months ago,” Amy wrote. “She’s doing amazing, but it is still heartbreaking to see her frustration when she can’t do something no matter how hard she tries that used to take no effort. Cheyenne is a tough little girl and she makes this whole process look easy but in reality, most babies don’t even get the chance to try to get better.”
“So remember that when your child is screaming and nothing you’re doing is soothing them — put them down and walk away…. And truly be careful who you leave your kids with.”
Now a strong advocate for ending child abuse, she hopes that her story will raise awareness about shaken baby syndrome.