I’ll never forget the day my son almost drowned. It was exactly 1 year ago from today. We had been at a private swimming pool, there were 4 adults there that day along with my 4 children. Somehow when there are more adults around, I feel more comfortable, but really I think everyone assumes someone else is watching.

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(This photo taken 7/7/2010 at his first swim lesson for this year, he did amazing, much better than I did actually, I was on the edge of my seat the entire lesson.)

We were getting ready to leave the pool that day and everyone was getting out. My son was playing on the steps and I was changing the baby’s clothes and not paying attention. The next thing I realized my daughter was yelling “MOM! MOM!” she was also yelling her brother’s name. When I looked up, she had her floaty in one arm and our son in the other and was swimming as fast as she could back to the edge.

Thankfully my mom was quick to yank him out but he was already blue and non-responsive. My heart dropped as I saw his little lifeless body lay there on the concrete. I froze, just couldn’t believe my eyes. Thankfully my mom was quick to turn him to his side and pat his back, he immediately started throwing up, which lasted for what seemed an eternity. He had soiled himself and had petechia all around his eyes, face and throat, but he was breathing, my sweet baby was breathing.

Unfortunately the teenage lifeguards on duty were of no help what-so-ever and advised us to take him home to rest. On the way home, he started crying his stomach hurt so we decided to go to the ER. Praise God for that decision because when we got there his lungs had water in them, they scolded me for not calling 911 and rushed him into for oxygen. If we’d have gone home that day he would have surely died in his sleep.

Later after talking with our son, he said he had slipped off the bottom step and couldn’t reach, in an attempt to get back to the steps he had actually floated out towards the middle of the pool. He said he put his hands up in the air hoping someone would see him, and praise God, our daughter did. She said she saw his hair floating, but he wasn’t moving, so she grabbed him. Our 6 year old daughter saved our son’s life.

So why am I writing this horrific post? Two reasons:

FIRST: Be AWARE! Drowning doesn’t always look like drowning!

No matter what the amount of water your children are playing in, keep a close eye on them. I now stay in the water at all times with them. We stay together and get out together. And I don’t rely on lifeguards to watch my children, the lifeguard that day didn’t even notice my son drowning, and my mom had revived him before the lifeguard even got over to us, even though we were yelling at him like crazy. Finally, be informed! The lifeguard that day told us to go home. If this happens to your child NEVER go home! According to our pediatrician if there is ever a restriction of the airway of any kind i.e., choking, drowning ALWAYS GO TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY. And if it is a near drowning like my son’s it is best to call 911 rather than drive them yourself.

SECOND: The second reason for this post is to admit my own feelings of guilt. I’ve never fully forgiven myself for this incident. I can go on and on about what I could have done, but that’s not really relying on God, that’s me trying to carry my own burden. I’m still not sure how to let go of this except through continued prayer, so that’s where you’ll find me today, giving prayer and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for looking after his children.

Timely as God is, I received this devotion from Alpha Omega Homeschooling:

I’ll never forget the day my son almost drowned….read more.

If you’ve had a tragedy in your home and struggle with forgiving yourself, God knows your pain. Being a homeschooling parent doesn’t mean you can protect your child from every physical bump and bruise. Accidents happen, and many times there aren’t any good reasons or answers to explain them. Only God knows what each day will bring, but praise the Lord that even when bad things happen, He is still able to turn them around for good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Lord, I can’t see the good in this situation right now, and I feel like it’s all my fault. Please, help me to forgive myself and trust that somehow, You will make sense of this problem. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ALWAYS keep an eye on your children when they are swimming, drowning can happen in an instant.

Now, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, take your kids to the pool and have a safe and fun summer.

48 Comments

  1. kudos for getting him into swim lessons shortly after this ordeal.i almost drowned in a YMCA pool when i was six. i was the guest of a member on a saturday morning open swim. i literally clawed up some other girl's back trying to climb back out of the water (i had been accidentally bumped off the ball I had tucked under my belly as i pulled myself along the wall–i ended up more than three feet away from the nearest wall and totally panicked–i too had waved my arms about hoping to be seen).the lifeguards blew me off when i told them about it and had me just sit on the side of the pool. we couldn't afford swim lessons so it wasn't until some six years later that I started learning how to swim.if i'm in water my feet have to be solidly planted and my chin above water. and even in the shower, if DH is too close when i'm under the shower-water, or tries to kiss me while i'm rinsing my hair, i COMPLETELY freak out.we enroll our kids in swim lessons as we have funds available. it's such an important life skill to possess!!

    O-mama
  2. I cried as I read this because I too had a similar experience. My mom, 3 daughters and I were at a public pool. We were the only ones there with no life guard. My mom was in the pool with my middle daughter while my oldest was running around. Well my baby (just about to turn one) was walking around in the baby pool. There had been a baby frog in the baby pool so I was trying to get it out and make it jump into the grass. In all of this I forgot about my baby and turned to see her walking around face down in the water. My heart never sunk so low. I pulled her out and ran to my mom. She struggled some to catch her breath but she did. My mom and I cried but did nothing further. I worried that whole night about something happening to her and have lived with the guilt ever since. So much so that I haven't even shared this story with my husband.Praise the Lord both of our babies are safe and we are now aware of how much more cautious we need to be around water. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Anonymous
  3. I slipped off the step in my great-aunt’s pool. My great-grandpa saved my life and ruined his Sunday suit and shoes in the process. I felt so terrible for it and told him so, but he hugged me and told me that the Lord would provide clothes and shoes but there would never be another me in all the world. I was 6 years old but I’ll never forget feeling loved and precious in that moment.
    I came across your blog as I get our homeschool schedule up and going for the semester. Thank you for the great posts!

    Heather
  4. Thank you for sharing, I’m sure God use you to bless many.
    i wasnt sure about swimming but now I’m going to put my kids on swimming this fall.
    Thank you 🙂 God bless your family

    Angela See
  5. I realize this is an old post (I was looking at your homeschool schedule!) but I have to share that almost the same thing happened to my daughter at a pool party. I was 6 months pregnant and jumped in the pool to get her out, but thankfully, my husband was faster. We were watching closely, but she just stepped off the step and slid right out of her swimmie, too. Like your situation, the lifeguard was no help and didn’t even see her until my husband had her out of the pool. (Needless to say, I was hysterical.) She started swimming lessons the next week. She and her brother now swim year round, as well. I started him as soon as he was walking. We scrimp and save to pay for lessons, but it is so worth it.

    Jodi
  6. And keep an eye on them in the bathtub too, even if they can swim. Toddlers only need 2″ of water to drown…and I am sure kids don’t need much if they have slipped and are facedown. Our rule is that the bathroom door is shut, but unlocked at bathtime until you are a teen for this reason.

    Ten years ago I went to the saddest memorial service ever, where a child had drowned in the family pool (it had fencing). I cannot even begin to explain the grief and heartache of the parents, the community, the school…just awful.

    Holly

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