No parent enjoys the panic when you realize that your child is no longer at your side but this was especially unsettling as some friends had just lost their two year old daughter in a drowning incident only weeks earlier.
Here we now were at our community pool looking for our daughter at the end of my son’s birthday party.
We had been so careful. She had a life jacket on the whole time and never out of my reach. There were 6 adults watching the kids enjoy the water but now where was she?
Was she in the pool? No. Had she escaped the gate and in the road? No. Where was she?
Then the my wife’s blood-curdling cry when out “Darren, she’s in the hot tub?”
I will never forget the sight of her lifeless body sunken to the bottom.
As I pulled her out, no one could remember CPR. Emotional trauma has a way of wiping your memory but something whispered in my mind “get the water out”.
Someone called 911. I frantically performed a Heimlick maneuver of sorts and she vomited more and more water. Over and over this occurred but still no breathing.
Darren, the ambulance wants the address. I knew our home address but I had no idea the address of the pool. “Daylily drive?”
Almost a gallon of vomiting now. Nothing. Maybe one more time.
But then a cough…and crying…she’s conscious!!!
Is the ambulance on its way? No. They still don’t know where to go.
I knew where the hospital was we had just been there two weeks earlier with the birth of our twins. I’ll take her.
I threw her in my car and dashed off to the hospital asking her the whole time questions like how old are you? 2. Good.
I am sure I made record time.
“My daughter drown” That was all I said and the ER quickly went to work.
It turns out that even though she was now conscious, she still wasn’t getting enough oxygen and we were not out of the woods. They needed to put her under, intubate and call for the life flight to transfer her to the children’s hospital.
Can I go with her in the helicopter? No. There is no room as 6 doctors will be taking all the seats. You will have to meet her there.
It’s so hard to watch your child take off hoping she will still be alive when you see her again.
She ended up spending days intubated in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit but when she was finally revived she almost immediately uttered the words “Watch Frozen?” Yes, dear. We can watch Frozen.
She has now made a full recovery with no long term effects. I’ve been told by medical professionals that my Heimlich approach is not recommended and CPR is definitely better but who knows how it would have turned out otherwise.