Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My boy almost drowned… right in front of me.

Myrtle Beach Vacation 2012
This is something very dear, embarrassing and still hard for me to say out loud. But as summer approaches, I think it's important for me to say it. Two summers ago, when Caleb was just 14 months old, he nearly drowned right in front of me. It was one of the scariest days of my life.

We were on vacation with my dad, my husband and my three nieces. Jeff and my dad and one of my nieces were in the ocean. I had the other two and little Caleb up further away from the beach but playing in a little pool of water that had pooled onto the sand. We were sitting there with another mom, grandmother and little girl. All the kids were playing nicely in the water. Caleb LOVED the water. While the children were all playing, the adults were talking. Caleb was standing right in front of my, less than arms length away. I was watching the girls play and Caleb was bent over playing in the water.  At least, that's what I thought. I thought my little baby was playing. Soon, the grandmother remarked at how nicely he was playing and couldn't believe that he wasn't afraid of the water at all. That's when I realized that I hadn't heard a sound from him. That he was quiet and still, though bent over. I quickly yanked him up and with fear in my hands and heart, realized that my boy's face had been down in the water. He wasn't playing at all, he was drowning. When I yanked him up, he threw up, then gasped for air and then promptly started crying. I was terrified. I kept thinking about all of the "what ifs" What if that woman hadn't said anything? What if  I didn't pull him up when I did? What if I continued watching the kids play and talking to the adults, never realizing that my son was in trouble?

And those "what ifs" didn't stop in the next moments. That night, I was so terrified that he was going to drown still. You know, if a kid swallows too much water, they can still drown after they're out of the water. I didn't sleep that night. Instead, I looked up signs of drowning. I had no idea that if a child, or any person for that matter, were drowning, they aren't usually flailing about- that's what I'd always pictured, the child would be flailing, bobbing up and down, gasping for breath, making some sort of ruckus so you'd know they were in trouble. But that just isn't true and certainly was not the case for Caleb.

Caleb wasn't interested in going in the water much more during that trip. In fact, he ended up getting pretty sick and had a blessing. He was still a pleasant little boy and enjoyed the playground at the resort, but preferred to stay away from the water. I was afraid this would affect him for a long time, and gratefully as we found out the next summer, it did not. It took him a little warming up to get into a pool, but once he did, he was fine and had great fun. I expect this summer will be much the same.

Now as summer is approaching and there will be times where we'll be swimming either in pools or the ocean, I just wanted to bring to my remembrance and possibly to my friend's understanding of what drowning really looks like. It's not like what we see in movies or what we might picture in our minds. It's quiet, eerily peaceful.

Here's an article that I found helpful and maybe you will too.

Drowning Doesn't look like Drowning

And another:

8 Quiet Signs of Someone Drowning

This year, especially as I have two (very active) little ones to keep safe near water, we're going to try and get the kids into swimming lessons. I think it's important for even the littlest to know what to do in the water.

My sweet boy. (2012)

I love those curls of his… wish he still had them. :) (2012)

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