Dakota's Story

Dakota Jay Friedli Dakota entered this crazy world on August 10 2008. I couldn't have asked for a better pregnancy and I was SO excited to be a mom! We were scheduled to be induced on this 
We went in that morning and they hooked all the monitors up to get ready for the big event and that is when they noticed something was wrong. His little heart was beating way too fast and they weren't sure why. They pumped me with fluids and broke my water in attempts to slow it down but with no success. An exciting happy day turned into a little panic when the doctor came in and said that they had to perform an emergency c-section because it was not good for his little heart to beat that fast for a long period of time.
So within minutes we were whisked away and they pulled that cute boy right out of my belly. Hearing that cry was the most amazing and sacred sound I have EVER heard! They held him out for me to see and then took him away. They checked him out and his heart was beating normally so we were so relieved. For the next couple days everything was perfect.

Check out that cute baby...cute hair!!

 The morning we were going to get released to go home the nurse noticed his heart rate was too high again and for the next 2 weeks my little boy spent his time in the NICU. Up to that point in my life, that was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. Being discharged from the hospital without the little baby that has been inside of you and with you for the past 9 months is one of the worst feelings I had ever experienced up to that point!  The first week was full of the unknown. They couldn't figure out why his heart was beating so fast so they couldn't move forward with fixing it until they figured the cause.

After 1 week of being in the NICU at Ogden regional they moved him to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake...which was a huge blessing! (Unfortunately it wouldn't be our last stay there :( )
That next week everything turned around. They figured out that it was Atriel Ectopic Tachycardia (just a fancy way of saying he pretty much had an extra pacemaker near his real pacemaker that was making his heart beat double time).

They were able to figure out a medication that would slow it down so for the next 10 months we gave him those meds every day until he eventually grew out of it and never had a problem again. 

Dakota grew up to be the most sweetest, politest, happiest, fun, loving little 2 year old boy this world has ever known (at least in his mom and dads eyes). He is a true cowboy at heart even though his dad is the farthest from that. He went everywhere in his cowboy boots and cowboy hat and he was one cute cowboy! He loved horses, tractors, buzz lightyear, his handy Manny tools, going to Grammy and poppys house, going to AZ to visit nana and papa and cousins, sucking on his blanky, and of course his mom and dad! :)

He was my little smarty pants and was talking so good, knew his abc's, and how to count in Spanish. (I know it was a tender mercy of the Lord that allowed him to talk so soon and so well so that we had the chance to really get to see and know this little boy so well!) He knew how to sweet talk his mom and dad into just about anything and he melted our hearts with his big cheeser and beautiful big eyes. He brought sunshine to Zachs "dark" world when he lost his sight...and was ALWAYS a joy to be around.
He loved to say "mommy/daddy..Guess what?!" even when he didn't have anything to tell you...he just liked to talk. (It makes me wonder if he know he only had a limited amount of time to tell us everything he could???) 

Then... On November 26, 2010 when Dakota was 2 years and 3 months the unimaginable happened. When no one was watching, a fence panel fall just perfectly on top of his little body and cut off  his ability to breathe. There was no physical damage to his body, but the weight of the fence was just enough that he couldn't get it off of him or cry for help because he couldn't breathe. He was completely unconscious, no heart beat, and no pulse when I found him...but his little body must have been surrounded by unseen angels. Through the help of earthly angels they got his body to start beating again. He is a boy of miracles!!! (To read the full story with details go here)

It has been a VERY rough road on us and him since that day. He is not the same exact boy that I watched go out to play that tragic day...he cant walk, talk, eat, and even do the basic functions like clear his lungs (which is why he has a trach) but he is our angel and we love him and work each day to help him regain whatever he can!  Even though he cant communicate at this point except through crying, facial expressions, looking, and smiling...we know he understands a lot and I know that my same little cowboy is in that body that limits him so much. He has not only changed our lives and taught us more then we ever could have on our own...but he is changing the lives of others as well! I have come to understand over time and lots of prayers that Heavenly Father had a much different and bigger plan for Dakota then I could ever have envisioned. I dreamed of watching him play t-ball, play with friends, have sleepovers, graduate high school, go on a mission, get married, and give me grandbabies. Through the help pf my Savior I have come to not only accept but learn to LOVE this new plan for Dakota! He has become my daily teacher and reminder of what is MOST important in life and where my priorities and focus should be! He honestly brings a tiny piece of heaven into our home and I couldn't be more in love with the boy that he has become!! I can't lie and say I don't ever miss the little boy that walked out the door that day BUT if I had the ability to change and erase what happened I can honestly say I wouldn't do it!! I have learned SO much and am too in love with the Dakota I have now! The boy that every time he smiles at you he is pretty much saying, "Welcome to Heaven!" (At least that's what we think! ;))

This beautiful poem puts into words the purpose behind it all! Dakota is my "brave soul" and he is touching one heart at a time, fulfilling his little tiny mission here on this earth with grace and courage! How blessed and privileged I feel to be called his mom!!

"Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?" God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused.  "What do you mean?" he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and they become motivated by love alone."

The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued. "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this- it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer- to unlock this love- to create this miracle for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's harts! I want to create that miracle!"
God smiled and said, "You area brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you."

God and the brave soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed."
Thus at that moment the brave soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and come together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys, and some regained lost faith- many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased."

 To read the complete story of the accident and the progress he has experienced along the way...read these blog posts.

Here is a video my cousin put together after his accident:


  1. Dakota has gone through a lot, that breathing his way into a new day seems to be a battle won. That is a strain to his loved ones, such as you guys, and it does seem unfair. I just hope that you find your way out of that, enough to have some bit of restitution, while redressing the imbalance to which you have been subjected. Thanks for sharing that, Tessie! I wish your family all the best!

    Sabrina Craig @ Medical Attorney NY

  2. Your son is my favorite hero.He touched my heart and he makes me want to be a better person.

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