Monday, June 27, 2011

the moment my world stopped

Unfortunately, my Manic Monday post has a back story to it.  They always do.  I just don't always share it.  And if I do, they are usually not this horrifically terrifying.  But, my Manic Monday's always relate to my world, my feelings, things that happened over the weekend, etc....basically my Manic Monday posts are equal to "the taste in my mouth" that I start my week off with. 

And today I need to express to everyone....mother, father, friend and cousin, alike...everyone!!!  Everyone needs to know how important water safety and awareness is.

It's like one of those cliche statements.  But it truly does and can happen in the blink of an eye.

I won't tippy toe around this.  Layla had a very close call yesterday at the pool.  While I do not believe she took in any water...

Layla + pool - floaties = no bueno scenario. 

This can get lengthy and very emotional, and the long and the short of it is:  You cannot and should not take your eyes off of your child, or whomever you may be responsible for, while in, on or near any amount of water.  Not even for a second.  Yes, a second. 

Because the most disgusting and horrific thing about what happened yesterday is that there is a pool, FULL of people.  Adults.  And no one - NO ONE - heard or saw Layla having trouble and struggling.  No one.  Drowning is so silent!  It's disgustingly silent.  I could-lose-my-lunch-now-just-thinking-about-it quiet!!!!

Timeline of yesterdays events:

10 a.m. - Leave San Antonio, headed to Houston to make it to Layla's swim lesson at 2:15.
12 noon - Arrive in Katy, Texas.  {I was driving hella fast, and probably too fast, truth be told.}  New record.
12:20 p.m. - Arrive home. 
1:45 p.m. - Arrive at friends pool for private swimming lessons.  Layla and mom play in pool until instructor arrives.
2:15 p.m. - Swim instructor arrives, lessons begin.  Mom relaxes and soaks up some rays. 

{please excuse the wedgie}

2:30 p.m. - Mom noticing and acknowledging the awesome job Layla is doing at her swim lesson.

2:35 p.m. - Layla swimming well, blowing bubbles and going semi-under water.  And kick-kick-kickin'!!!

2:40 p.m. - Mom sees an increased confidence in Layla's expressions.

{will come back to this visual, as an aid*}

2: 45 p.m. - Swim lessons over.  Mom's "me time" over.  Instructor says the girls are doing really well.  If we could up the lessons to two times a week, she thinks they could be swimming by the end of summer.  Yay!!! 

2:46 p.m. - 3:46 p.m. {guestimation} - parents and kiddos splashing around in the pool.
3:47 p.m. - Layla's friend takes off her floaties.
3:47 p.m. and 2 seconds - Layla wants to take off her floaties. 
3:48 p.m. - Kids have floaties off; moms exit the pool to sit poolside and watch girls play in 5 inches of water.
3:48 p.m. and some odd seconds - Layla's mom sits down to grab a drink; Layla's mom friend, turns and yells Layla's name!  {*see picture above; Layla is bobbing up and down, right by the steps to enter the pool.  Struggling to stay above water.}

I am assuming you guys have somewhat of an imagination....and you can visualize the hysteria that comes with an awful scenario, such as this.

It was probably THEE worst moment of my life.  And even though I was maybe 20 feet from her....I couldn't get there fast enough. 

I remember shouting, "Oh my God, Layla!!!!!!!"  And then just collapsing into the pool, because she was so close to the edge.  And after I stopped shouting, I thought to myself....get her out of the pool.  2 breaths and then start chest compressions.

Yes.  That's how bad I thought it was. 

As I was sprinting towards her, I saw her head bob up and back under 3 times.  I was assuming with each bob she was taking water IN! 

All three of us (me, my friend, and my friends hubby) grabbed her at the same time.  Crazy how that happens.  It kind of blurs from that point....

I know she coughed one time.  And NO water came out.  And then the tears started flowing.  On Layla.  Yes, I wanted to, but I had to remain calm for her.  I assured her she was okay. 

We talked.  We discussed.  We laid down some new rules.  And then we jumped back in the pool.  That was important for me to do with her.  Since I knew she was okay, and that she was actually holding her breath while under water, I did not want her to carry away a frightening feeling. 

All the while I wanted to cry.  To throw up.  This was MY fault!  No one else. 

And now I owe my friend my life.  And I know I can never re-pay her.  Ever. 

I hope you can all learn from this.  I truly do. 

If I could explain to you the look I saw in my baby's eyes....I know you all would be forever changed by this too.  But, I can't explain that look. 

Unfortunately, it is a look I have to associate with the look Richard's brother detailed as their mother died in his arms.  That of shock.  That of being terrified with every ounce of her being.  That look that pierces right through your  That look of here, but not here. 

I hope to never see "that look" again.


  • Nearly 1 of every 3 unintentional deaths among children ages 1 to 4 is from drowning
  • Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional death in kids aged 1 to 14 •
  • More than 55% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or transfer for higher levels of care (compared to a hospitalization rate of 3-5% for all unintentional injuries). These injuries can be severe.
    •Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).
  • The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is 3.1 times that of white children in the same age range.
  • Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4 years.
  • Seconds count. CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to improve outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly intervention occurs, the better change of improved outcomes.


Please keep ALL of this in mind while celebrating Independence Day this weekend.


Okay, I know this post is ridiculously long now.  But last night I got it completely out of Layla.  You know, the story.  How it all happened.  Because I wasn't quite sure.  Did she jump?  Did she fall?

Me:  Do you understand why we now have to keep our floaties on at all times when we are around the pool?
Layla:  Yes.  But, momma, I was just trying to go under, like Isabelle.  {FYI, this is Isabelle below.  She is 5.  And swims like a dolphin.  She was "helping" Layla learn how to swim yesterday, while Layla's floaties were still on.}

Me:  But Layla, Isabelle already knows how to swim.  You are still learning.  What are the pool rules that Miss Ana teaches you?
Layla:  But momma, I went under water!  {all proud} But then I couldn't get back up.  It was hard.
Me:  And that's why we are taking swim lessons with Miss Ana.  She's gonna teach you how to do it properly.  {holding back tears.}


Selena @ Stoneyville said...

Wow i have tears in my eyes and my stomach is on the floor. How utterly and completely terrifying. I am so glad she is okay, and that is a moving reminder that we all must be paying attention all the time no matter what.

carrie1 said...

Oh... what a horrible thing to experience!! I'm glad everything turned out okay.

Summer said...

Oh Meli I am so glad Layla and you are ok! love you girl

Cheryl Ann said...

oh my gosh, girl - this post gave me chills. i don't have any babies of my own, but i was a lifeguard at a neighborhood pool for YEARS, so i definitely know "that look" in a child's eyes as they try desperately to pull their heads above water.

so so glad your Layla is ok. good move on putting her right back in the event like that can totally turn a kid off to swimming, forever!

Kori Donahue said...

I'm so glad everything is alright! Scary! Have a great Monday honey! Kori xoxo

blueviolet said...

I am so happy that things turned out ok, so incredibly thankful. I can't even imagine what you felt in that moment and even now. Big hugs to you both!

Melissa said...

Oh Mel..I am SO glad Layla is alright. What a horrible experience! I commend you girl cause this Momma would have gone major hysteria.

Kelly at I Dream of Decor said...

Meli that had to be so very scary for you and Layla both, I'm so, so happy that she is okay, I had to just go and hold my little one after reading this:)

georgia~gigi said...

Oh Meli Love, I am so sorry! Nothing is more scary than thinking you might lose your baby!
Darn that bravery, not always a good thing!
It sounded like you handled it so well, you ARE such a good Mommy!
Cool, calm and collective during a crisis is not my strong suit!
I am working on it!
I have been known to hyper~ventilate.
Oh do I have stories of my children ( probably why I am getting so grey)

Love you lots
gi gi

Courtney said...

So glad your Layla is okay. I was a lifeguard/swim instructor for many years and I can't tell you how many times I've jerked kids up out of the water in this exact same scenario. Even if kids are in the kiddie pool, it takes only a second for something to happen. Very scary. Very serious. So glad she is taking lessons! Prayers of peace for you, Mom!

Alicia said...

oh my goodness, that's so scary! i'm so glad that she's ok!! i'm sorry you had to go through that...i hope she still has fun in the water :) kids are braver than we think!

Kayla said...

So scary! Glad she (and you) are ok...thanks for the reminder of just how quickly drowning can happen - and not just in the pool. I'm sometimes tempted to leave Reese in the bath alone - for just a minute - but nothing's more important than staying and making sure she's safe!

Trish {Pink Preppy Lilly Lover} said...

Sweet Meli I am so sorry I didn't see this post until now, you poor thing, you must have been so upset! It was totally just an accident though and you handled it so brilliantly. I am sorry you had to go through it but thank goodness your little love is ok and I know she will keep those little floaties on until she gets a little bigger and stronger! I am sending you sweet hugs, beautiful lady! xoxoox

undomestic chica said...

I'm literally tearing up reading this. I'm so sorry you both had to experience that. Thank God she's okay!

Kristin said...

I am so so sorry. I can't even imagine how scary that must have been for you! She had an angel on her shoulder!

Lace said...

Oh, Melissa... my heart is pounding for you. I'm so glad she is ok & was brave enough to hop back in! Brave of you too! Unfortunately a little boy drowned in my city about a week ago from playing in the pool. Such a tragedy. Can't imagine how that family is getting along. Again, so very glad everything turned out fine that day! She is such a beauty!

Summer Athena said...

baby girl. i read this and never commented. or did i and just forget? who knows. this was so scary to read that i cannot even begin to imagine how you were feeling, felt, still do feel. i love you and want to say you are the best mother ever.

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