CLARK COUNTY, Ind. – An Indiana mom who saved her children's lives by shielding them with her own body during a tornado has lost parts of both of her legs.
36-year-old Stephanie Decker said in an interview with Fox59 that she picked her children, 8-year-old Dominic and 5-year-old Reese, up early from school when she heard the storm was approaching. They were in the family's basement when the storm hit.
"There was wind like I had never seen wind before," Decker said. "Then the glass broke, and as soon as the glass broke the whole house started shifting."
Decker made a split-second decision to save her children, tying them up in a blanket and throwing herself on top of them.
"Everything started hitting my back: pillars, beams, furniture, everything was just slamming into my back," she said. "(My children) were screaming, 'Mommy I can't live without you, I don't want to die, please don't let me die.' And I said, 'We are not going to die, we are going to make it.' "
Miraculously, her children emerged from the storm completely unscathed. Decker lost one leg above the knee and the other above the ankle.
"When I looked down and looked at my leg and realized either it was cut off or it was barely attached, I took my phone and made a video to my husband telling him that I loved him, and my children that I loved them, in case something were to happen," Decker said. "I prayed to have the strength to survive, that I want these kids to have a mom and I did not want them to grow up without me."
Her prayers were answered when she was rescued by a neighbor. He ran for help and found a deputy sheriff traveling on a four-wheeler about a quarter of a mile away.
The deputy applied tourniquets to Decker's legs to halt her blood loss.
She has been scheduled to undergo surgery on her legs again Thursday, hospital spokeswoman Holly Hinson said.
The Decker's house was completely destroyed.
Stephanie's husband Joe said it was "pretty amazing" his wife was able to survive
"I told her, 'They're here because of you,'" Joe Decker told The Associated Press by telephone from the University of Louisville Hospital. "I let her know that nothing else matters. I said, 'You're going to be here for your kids, and you get to see them grow up.'"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.