Stephanie Decker, a survivor of the deadly tornadoes that struck Indiana over the weekend, is being hailed as a hero and a devoted mother.
The 37-year-old mother of two reportedly felt a monster tornado begin to rip apart her Indiana home. Instinctively, she shielded her children with her own body, protecting them from impending doom. In the process, however, she lost both her legs.
I knew this was going to be a bad storm, she said according to Reuters. This tornado is going to take us out.
Decker and her family were right in the middle of the deadly tornado outbreak that rocked the Midwest and South on Friday. There were about 140 twisters with 76 confirmed landings and 39 deaths, reported Reuters.
It was nothing I expected, Decker said. I never, ever thought in a million years my house would be blown away.
Decker's priority was protecting her two children. However, it came at a heavy price. Both of her legs were amputated late Friday, reported Reuters. Unfortunately, One leg was amputated just below the knee, the other was amputated just above it.
I assumed I was safe and I heard the roar like a train, and I heard it behind me, and I knew it was coming, she said, according to ABC News. And it was so loud that I knew that I needed to do something different. I knew staying put wasn't going to work.
Decker's motherly intuition kicked in. She grabbed her 8-year-old son Dominic and her 5-year-old daughter Reese and brought them into her basement, just as her house began to be destroyed by the deadly twister.
My daughter said, 'Mommy, I don't like this,' and I said, 'I know honey,' Decker said. I could see the wind. I could see the window blew out and the house burst.
Debris piled on top of Decker, crushing her legs and puncturing her lung. Her children rose from the ruble unhurt.
I remember the whole thing, she said. I stayed conscious the whole time. I couldn't afford [to pass out]. They needed me. They had to have me, so I had to figure out what to do. And my son is a hero. He went to get help.
Dominic then reportedly crawled out from the debris, running to a neighbor's house in order to get help for his wounded mother.
I realized I couldn't get out because I actually used the comforter I tied with them as a tourniquet. I knew I was cut, said Decker.
As Decker lay under the fallen bits of her house, she created a makeshift tourniquet to stop the bleeding while she waited for help. She grabbed her cellphone from her pocket, but was unable to get any cell phone service. Decker left a video message on her phone for her husband, Joe, in case she died, reported Reuters.
I knew my leg was barely attached or it was severed. I didn't know which but I knew it was bad. If I didn't get help soon, I was going to bleed out, Decker told ABC News.
Help arrived and Decker was quickly evacuated to the nearest hospital, where they performed surgery to remove her legs. However, Decker remains optimistic given her circumstances.
I'm the same person but I learned a lot, she said.
Decker does not consider herself a hero. She believes she was doing her motherly duty to protect her children.
I call myself a mom, she said.