...and then our hearts stopped beating.

8/14/2012 04:08:00 AM

So last week the four of us went over to my brother and sister-in-law's new house. It has a super-cool in-ground pool, a super-fun swing set (with a spiral slide!) and an awesome sandbox area -- a gorgeous setup.

It was dinner-time and my brother was at the grill and Craig was outside with the kiddos (Bella - 4.5, Lila 3 and Brody 2.) I was inside with Vivienne and my sister-in-law.

The kids weren't swimming, they were in their regular clothes playing in the sandbox having fun. Craig and my brother were watching them and Craig was looking around the new backyard and wandered over to the grill area -- just steps away from the kids -- and was remarking to my brother how much storage space the grill-area had when he and my brother heard Bella yelling, "Lila is drowning! Lila is drowning!"

Craig looked and Lila was under water in the deep end of the pool -- arms stretched up to the sky with a look of what Craig tells me was sheer terror on her face. 

She was treading water, but she was still about 2 inches below the surface. 

Of course, Craig jumped into the water in his clothes and pulled our baby out of the water; compressed her chest as he held her and she coughed up water.

I heard her crying and ran outside and saw my husband and daughter together, soaking wet. Her screaming and him holding her as closely as he possibly could. The look on his face terrified me and the look on her face was even worse.

She's ok, but friends - it could have been much worse. I cry as I type this, because friends, dear friends, it could have been so much worse.

If Bella hadn't yelled it could have taken additional seconds, God forbid minutes, for Craig to see Lila in the pool. And friends, it.was.just.seconds.

Just seconds.

SECONDS.

S  E  C  O  N  D  S.

Craig is absolutely and positively hyper about keeping his eyes on our girls when they're around/in water; more so than I, if I were being honest. And in this instance, he literally looked away for no longer than 20 or so seconds. He was within 8 feet of the kids and didn't hear a 3-year-old, 28-lb little girl slip into the water.

This was not Craig's fault. Nor was it my brother's fault. My brother happens to be an amazing Dad and an incredible uncle.

It was an accident and it literally happened in seconds.

All this to say: hug the children in your life and watch them, watch them, WATCH THEM VIGILANTLY around water.

Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects).

After we got into the car to leave my brother's house that night, Craig, who incidentally never says my name, looked straight ahead as I was driving and said, "Kylee. I have never, ever been so scared in my life. Ever. The look on Lila's face..."

I went home and I cried because I was so very thankful that God answered our daily prayer of placing a protective bubble around our children. And  then I cried because in seconds, in just SECONDS our whole entire lives could have changed. And then I cried the next day when I thought about it. And today, a week later - I still cry because I'm a Mom.

Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates, my friends.

There's more horribly frightening but necessary information about water safety here.

And yes, we're researching swim lessons for Lila now; the need for swim education was just propelled to the top of the "MUST" list. It should be at the top of yours, too.

--

How is Lila today? Totally fine. In fact, she was fine 10 minutes later. She knows she fell in the pool and that "Daddy jumped in and saved me!" She doesn't appear to be adversely affected; it was me who kept crying that night and the next day. :)

She also is totally excited about swim lessons so that "when I fall in the pool again I can save me."

Friends: Be vigilant around water.

SECONDS.  Just seconds.

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40 comments:

  1. I had chills reading, because this was so scary. I try to make sure that Audra is never further then an arm length away when we're in the pool. I'm also outside the (open)bathroom door when she's taking a bath. I knew that drowning was most common among little people. It's so scary that she didn't make a noise when she went into the pool, that is such an important thing to note, simply because you would think there would have been a sound!! So thankful that Lila is just fine today!!!

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    1. Charis - yes, keep Audra close. And isn't it just shocking that there was no sign? Lila just slipped into the water without anyone hearing.

      Thank you for the comment -- and for reading my blog.

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  2. Oh my gosh. Your little Lila. It was hard to breathe reading that post. I'm so sorry you all went through that. I can't even imagine how scary that must have been. Thank goodness all is well! (Big hug to you/your family!)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kindness, Kristin. And thanks for reading my blog. (Hug appreciated and accepted.)

      Delete
  3. Oh my gosh, Kylee. I'm crying reading this and all my nerves are on end FOR YOU! How terrifying for all of you. I'm SO very glad Lila is ok. Gosh, seconds. Pools are one of my worst fears. Worst. We have friends with an all concrete backyard with a giant in ground pool. They just let their kids run around and play around the pool. They made fun of me for being hyperactive when Evelyn and Sophia were running around it. I had no less than 1,000 heart attacks. It takes SECONDS for a child to drown. Seconds. I think my hyperactivity was warranted. I watched a video last year that terrified me about kids and drowning. How they don't make a sound and don't flail their arms like you see in movies. They go into shock. How drowning is silent. Scary! God Bless your niece for saving Ms. Lila with her words. Smart little girl.

    Isn't it amazing how slow those seconds go too? Did you feel like it was slow motion? An eternity? Sophia was in one of those blow up pools with a filter a few weeks ago. She could touch the bottom easily (the water came to her shoulders). A kid splashed her in the face (which she hates) and for whatever reason, she freaked (about the water on her face) and just went limp. She went under water and just stayed there. Her eyes were open and HUGE and her face was stiff. She could have stood up and didn't. I was holding V on my hip, fully clothed, and jumped one leg in to grab her and pull her up. Scariest thing ever. No one knew she was drowning, but me. The kids just thought she was 'under water'. Because she can stand up, what's the big deal? But, they can't just stand up when they are in shock. They can't. I know what you are feeling. It was the longest 10 seconds of my life.

    Hang in there. You just solidified my decision to sign the girls up for swim lessons this Fall.

    So happy you are all okay. So happy. Thank you for sharing and reminding all of us about pool safety.

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    1. Oh my gosh, friend. You know exactly what we just went through. HOW terrifying for you and for S. It's really true, it doesn't matter how much water -- they can still drown. I'm so glad you were able to access the situation and know that S. wasn't ok and get her out of there. I'm so glad SHE is ok.

      Oh my goodness.

      Parenting isn't for the faint of heart.

      Hug.

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  4. Kylee, OMG, I'm so glad Lila is okay. I too have that fear of Kaylee going in ANY water (whether we're at the beach, she's at her dad's, who lives on the water, or our swimming pool at our place). I have taught her over and over again that she will NOT go into the water at all, whether it was the shallow end or not, unless an adult is already in the water. In fact, she told my mom last week that she is not allowed in the pool until mommy's already in there. I've been trying to teach her how to swim for some time now and she's almost there. I thank the Lord that Lila is okay. I'm glad that Craig was right there to save her.

    Kerrie

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    1. Kerrie - thank you so much for your support and GOOD FOR YOU for instilling in Kaylee that she needs to wait for you before she can swim.

      Thanks again and thanks for reading my blog. :)

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  5. i didn't realize until just now that i held my breath through your entire post. so, so, SO scary. i am beyond thankful that lila is ok, and that things worked out like they did. you're right... things can happen in a heartbeat. and god bless little bella for seeing what happened and yelling for help. i hope swim lessons are not only fun for ms. cupcake, but also key in teaching her the lifesaving water skills we ALL need to know!

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    1. You're so right -- Bella was our hero that day, for sure.

      I think these lessons are just so important to share so that everyone wee ones (wink, wink) are safe and sound.

      Hugs to you, friend.

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  6. and now, i sit at my desk and cry too. so glad you guys all came out ok. swim lesson signup, TOMORROW. <3

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  7. It's my worst fear too. My kids love swimming in lake Michigan and my parents lake. I need to put swimming lessons on my fall schedule ASAP! Thank you for this post and I'm so glad Lila is OK.

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    1. Yes, definitely sign up for swimming lessons for H. and K. It'll put your mind/heart at ease.

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  8. Oh my God, Kylee. I'm so glad she's OK! This happened to me when I was 4ish and my grandpa grabbed me. I still remember it vividly. I COULD swim then, I just slipped and sucked in water. I'm sure my parents flipped out.

    Also, you just convinced me NOT to dig a pond in our front yard (we've been considering it) until our non-existent kids are old enough.

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    1. Oh friend, how scary for you and your family.

      And you can do the pond -- just FENCE IT.

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  9. The exact same thing happened to Avery this weekend. We were swimming, all of us outside & for less than a minute we all thought the other was watching... I heard Emily (my oldest bonus baby) yell Avery's name... and in seconds we were all with her in the water. She too was submerged, kicking her legs, face under water about an inch... Eyes wide open, looking, looking desperately for someone to save her. And as I held her close and she too threw up much too much pool water... my heart went through all the same emotions and has been going through them since... ISR is an intense 6 week program here in the states. http://www.infantswim.com I am exploring this option now... And Kylee... My heart is with all of you and my focus is the same. xoxoxoxoxo

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    1. Oh my gosh, friend. How terrifying. Thank goodness for Emily. THANK GOODNESS. Was Avery ok afterwards? Has your heartbeat slowed yet?

      I wish we had ISR here, I checked and it's not available on the Baja. Thank you for recommending, though - perhaps it'll be an option for some of my readers/friends.

      Sweet friend, thank you for your love across the miles.

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  10. Oh my friend, hearing this story a second time did not change the tears that have filled up my eyes. So scary.

    I will say it again, I literally cannot even imagine....nor do I want to imagine this happening. Thank goodness sweet Bella yelled and Craig was right there and got to her so quickly.

    These little ones are so precious and accidents can happen so quickly....and ugh, it just makes my stomach turn thinking about. But you are right, we do need to think about it and watch them in situations like that. I have actually thought about putting Henry in swim classes some time in the next year since he seems to love water so much.

    Oh, HUGS to all of you.

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    1. Wrestling Kitties - DO IT. Sign Henry up for swim classes. Peace of mind. AND, you're giving him the skills he needs so that if he encounters water and is scared, he'll know how to handle the situation. Do it.

      xo.

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  11. Oh that is so scary. I am so glad everything turned out okay. gosh!!!!! Thank goodness for guardian angels, Bella, and Craig! xoxoxo.

    I want to add - If you go to a public pool, DO NOT rely on the lifeguards to watch over your child. There are usually too many people to look after and sometimes the lifeguard really isn't paying attention - in MY experience. At least not enough for my liking. This summer, we had two close calls, both with many adults and lifeguards around. Nobody notices because they are all so busy doing whatever. I only mention this, because I think this is also necessary. Don't take anything for granted around pools or water.

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  12. AHHHHHHHHHH. I'm SO glad she is okay, and that Craig was there and everything happened the way it should have. This completely reinforces my pool paranoia– it's not being paranoid, it's being CAREFUL. They're too precious not to be.

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    1. You're so right. Vigilance. Paranoia. Call it what you want -- they ARE too precious and they warrant this behavior. Hug Jude tonight. Again.

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  13. That is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. I'm so glad everyone is OK.

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  14. My heart is pounding and I have tears. Her poor scared little face. I just have no words right now.

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  15. Oh. My. God. Kylee!

    Thank goodness Craig was there and Bella was yelling! I just cannot imagine what you must be feeling. This is the scariest thing about pools/water and children.

    I had something like this happen to me when I was babysitting and a high school friend of mine, just lost his child to this same sort of accident. It's something that you will never forget and you will most likely become teary eyed about every time you have to talk about it or think about it.

    Look up... Infant Self Rescue. There's a YouTube video that is scary but awesome and you should watch it. See if there is someone that is local that can teach you kids this! It will save their lives.

    Pools are scary for anyone, no matter what age. My mom sent me this email that it only takes 20 seconds for an infant to drown and 60 seconds for an adult. It's unbelievable how quickly it can happen.

    I'd be a crying mess too, but thank GOD she's okay. Thank God!

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    1. You're so right, Jill. It's true - Bella was such a little hero. And thankfully, Craig had the wherewithal to jump in. I'm not convinced I would have/could have thought that quickly.

      I'm so sorry that your high school friend lost his child to the same sort of accident. That actually silences me. I cannot imagine. Jill, I can't imagine...

      I looked up infant self rescue - amazing.

      Thank you for your support. And take care of yourself - can't wait to hear that baby girl's name. :)

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  16. i cannot believe what i'm reading!! I have chills like no other and am crying for you. that fear, that panic, the way Craig felt pulling her out of the water. i cannot even stand it. SO SO SO relieved little Lila is ok. what a blessing. love you guys.

    Sal

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    1. Thank you, Sal. You know we all love you, too.

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  17. Yah, I just totally geared up! Holy cow! You are right, it is important for me to put Gooner's in swim lessons. Wow. I'm so glad that she is ok!

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    1. YES - do the swim lessons. Absolutely. DO IT.

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  18. Oh Kylee... my heart hurts for you. I am so very, very thankful that all is well.

    As you know, the house we just moved into has a small in-ground pool. It is fenced and padlocked at all times we are not in it. We never play near the pool unless we are swimming. Lily wears a swim vest and is only allowed in the pool if Jeff or I are in the water. She knows to wait and even gets in the water only with our help. There is absolutely no running on the concrete around the pool and jumping in happens only with our help. I had an old friend over 3 weeks ago. She has a 5 year old girl and twin 3 year old girls. Jeff left to cut grass at his parents, so it was me and my girls and Steph and hers. Before swimming, I explained the rules which inlcuded no running, diving, jumping from the side with the ledge in the wall, etc. I helped Lily into the water and I was holding Gracie, standing by the pool steps about to get in myself with Gracie. In less than two minutes, the 5 year old and one of the 3 year old twins both had to be rescued. First one twin got in without her floaties while Steph was getting the other twin's floats on. I looked away from Lily to see her under water and flailing in the shallow end. Steph jumped in and got her out. As she was comforting her, the five year old was in the deep end stuck under a raft also under water and flailing. I thought she could swim (Steph had said she could). Steph was jumping in after her in seconds to get her out.

    Both girls were fine in a matter of minutes, but I was a hot mess the rest of the afternoon. HOT. MESS. I could do nothing with Gracie in my arms and it was so scary. I called Jeff to come home immediately as the rest of the day was spent with the girls (not mine) fighting Steph about wearing their floats and me a ginormous ball of stress. From now on, the new rule for swimming at our house is the adult to child ratio in our pool is one to one. It's just too easy for accidents to happen. Way too easy.

    Thank God for Bella... and Craig's speed and awareness. Thank God.

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    1. Oh friend, you are such a responsible pool owner. I can't even imagine the fear and anxiety that you had during that little pool visit with Steph.

      I applaud your rules - they're necessary for safety, that's ALL there is to it.

      Stay safe, my friend. Thanks for your support and loving words. And you're so right, THANK GOD.

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  19. So Ron and I are both sitting here crying.

    I love the water, always have! Some of my favorite memories are from when we were little and in Grandma's pool every year. But I don't think I will ever have a pool/spa or other significant collection of water until the kids are teenagers. It's just too scary and too big of a risk.

    Unfortunately, because of where we are and what we do, we see kids every year that aren't found soon enough, and I can't even tell you how many have been found in pools with fences, have had swimming lessons, etc. It happens so fast and almost always with people around. Our public education slogan is "Children drown with out a sound."

    THANK GOD she is fine!! I have to tell you as I started to read this I was nauseated and terrified. It can happen to anyone. I was in the pool with Nathan and Abbie a few weeks ago, Nae could touch, I turned to Abbie for seconds and when I turned back Nathan had gotten far enough away that he was completely underwater (less than 5 ft from me) eyes huge, bobbing, silent.

    Yes, swimming lessons are a definite help but always remember NEVER let your guard down!!

    Love you guys!!

    Amy

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  20. I couldn't read this yesterday. Of course I already knew the story, but just wasn't in the place to read it again (yes, denial). I have thought about this story so much since you first told us and Ky, oh my, I just can't explain how I felt. . .

    I'm so thankful that she is okay. So thankful for Craig and his quick response. So thankful. . .

    And thank you, Ky, for using this as a teachable moment for all of us. I will NEVER forget this story.

    I love you. . . all.

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  21. Wow, I literally stopped breathing as I was reading this. How scary for all of you, and I am so glad for the outcome and that Lila is okay. Thank goodness for the quick response time from Bella and Craig.

    We actually pulled our oldest from an in-home babysitter almost 2 years ago, just after she turned 1. They had an inground pool, and while the children that swam were ALWAYS in life vests, the fact that there was only a fence around the entire yard, and not just the pool made me uneasy. The day that one of the little boys got out through the dog door and was found sitting (thank God, SITTING) on the top step of the pool? I was done. It was a blessing in disguise, because now my kids are able to stay in our home, and we have family come and watch them.

    Thank you for sharing your story - our kids are not around water enough so we have pushed swim lessons further and further out. After reading this, I have located and contacted a local ISR instructor to get both my kids into sessions. You are right, it is an absolute MUST, regardless of how often they are around water....the stories from your other readers just solidified that for me.

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  22. My heart beats fast just reading this. So glad she's ok!

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  23. Oh my gosh Kylee....how terrifying! I am so glad that Lila is OK. Sending you all hugs. xo

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  24. Thank goodness for Daddies huh? Thank you for putting her into swimming lessons right away. A similar story happened to me when I was about 3-4. My Dad saved me too. He was even IN the pool tending to my younger brother in a floating device, for just as you said, SECONDS. Then, thank God, my mom looked into the back yard from the kitchen sink and asked where I was. I was at the bottom of the pool, arms stretched up waiting for my Daddy to save me. They didn't put me into swimming lessons until I was about 10 years old. And for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I was constantly terrified. They had never told me about that story, and I didn't remember it, until one day I commented to them how I started hyperventilating for no apparent reason in swimming lessons, when we were treading water in the deep end when I was about 12 or 13. I am so glad your precious Lila is safe, and happy in swimming lessons!! You both are wonderful parents. Thanks for spreading the word!!! God Bless you and your family.

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