With July 4th approaching, I couldn't push down the nagging urge and inkling that pops up every year…telling me I need to share my story with you all. My horrifying, embarrassing, life-changing story of that time I almost let my child die because I was distracted on Instagram.
As with every year there is an outpouring of grateful comments, thanking me for the reminder of how important it is to be present with our children. There are also comments from people thinking I'm using this as a ploy to get more page views. I assure you, this has nothing to do with page views. As I share this story I implore and beg you to share this with as many families as possible. Not because it helps my blog stats (trust me, that's the last thing on my mind with this), but because even still, 8 years later, I get occasional anxiety when I see my son swimming under water.
I still have dreams of pulling him out of the water, and still look at him with a pang in my heart, imagining what life would be like without him and thinking about how close we came to losing him. If my story can help even one parent avoid any of this, my job is done.
Enjoy your summer and holiday weekends. But please, leave your phone at home. Or on the boat. Or in your pool bag. Or, if you choose to take pictures (as we all do), save the IG posting and photo editing for when your kids are safely tucked into bed. Let us all remember to be present with our families this summer.
THE GIFT OF PRESENCE
*Original post from the summer of 2012
My son drowned today.
Well, technically he nearly drowned, but it doesn't make much difference to me right now.
They are both horrifying.
Both happen in an instant.
Both are things you think would never happen to you.
Both make you stop and appreciate the blessings in your life.
The difference? (and a big difference at that…)
For whatever reason, my son was spared. He nearly drowned, rather than drown-drowned.
That has yet to be determined, and maybe I'll never know (maybe so I could write this post?)…but it's something I plan to not really question or take for granted.
I learned a
valuable invaluable lesson today, about being PRESENT. It's interesting because this subject has been on the minds of me and my husband for some time. What I mean by being present, is to be
To not just physically be there, but to really BE there. Soaking it all in. Participating. Adding to whatever it is. Enjoying. Not just being around, but being…present.
Today we went to the pool, like we do almost every single day. There is a nice, private pool in my new neighborhood that is 3 houses up from ours. I load my 11 month old girl and 2 year old son in the ol' plastic Red Flyer wagon (the one with cup holders. we don't mess around.), grab the Ikea bag filled with towels and snacks, pile the floaties on top of the kids, and head to the pool.
Today my goal was to stay as long as possible and really wear out the kids so they would take good afternoon naps. I have had company in town all week, and poor Hutch (my 2 year old) has been bored spitless. He's been naughty and pushing my buttons, which tells me he's bored, bored, bored. We head to the pool. I lather them with sunscreen (protect their baby-soft skin). Fail to put any on me (I want a tan, and am too lazy). Put Hutch's floatie on him, make him wait until mommy is in the pool (that's our main rule at the pool other than no splashing mommy and the baby…the water is freezing). Blow up Priya's baby ring frog floatie so it's nice and full. Get in the water with Priya and tell Hutch he can get in. We spend the next hour swimming to our heart's content. Hutch is a maniac in the pool, a complete fish. He jumps in, swims all over the pool, floats on his back, dives under water (as much as he can with massive floaties on), and swims like a polar bear. I was a nervous wreck the first day at the pool, but as the summer progressed I got more and more trusting. His floatie is AMAZING. He couldn't drown in that thing if he tried! It's the kind that has two “water wing” type floaties that go around his biceps and are connected by a chest bar in the middle, and the entire contraption snaps in the back. It slips down his arms from time to time but he always pulls it back up so he can get back to belly flopping like a mad-man. Our neighborhood is a decent size, but for whatever reason there is usually NO ONE at the pool when we go. Maybe a few teenagers sunbathing, but literally, we are more often than not the only people in the pool when we go on any given day. Today was exciting because the pool was bustling. There were lots of kids, lots of playing, more moms than usual (4 or so), and Hutch was loving it because his 3 year old buddy showed up and they were having a blast. As it always happens, after about an hour or so they both get tired, fussy, cold, and hungry. I get them out of the pool, strip them down butt-naked, wrap them in towels, strap Priya in the wagon so she won't tumble head-first off the lounge chair that Hutch and I are sitting on, and eat our snacks that I pack. Usually we only last this way for about 10 minutes or so before heading home. But today it was extra warm outside and there was lots of action in the pool for the kids to admire, so we hung out for awhile. The kids were getting a lot of sun so I put their SPF suits back on them. Hutch decided that since his suit was on, he wanted to swim again. Priya had zero interest in anything other than her string cheese, so I broke my rule and let him get in the pool without mommy. I put his floatie back on and I actually remember cinching it extra tight in the back, just to be safe. He got in the pool with his little friend, and they had a blast. He loved jumping in the water right by the stairs, swimming back to the stairs, climbing out, and doing it over again. I finally had some free hands…so what do I do? Grab my phone of course. I snap a few pics of Hutch jumping in the pool.
I am careful to angle the pictures just right so the pictures look awesome and impressive, show off my amazing neighborhood, the size of the pool, and make me look like a super awesome mom. I even think about the caption I'm going to put on the pictures in Instagram and Facebook. I decide that I want to make a photo collage and post it to Instagram, so I can squeeze in as many “having fun with mommy” pictures as possible, to make the day all the more impressive, of course. I put some shades on Priya and she's hamming it up for the camera. I'm loving it. I am engrossed in my collage-making, trying to capture the perfect shot.
I finish the collage after way too much time deciding which pictures to use. I'm about to post it onto Instagram. For whatever reason, I look at the pool. To exactly where Hutch was. In the water. By himself. Floatie-free.
Bobbing just under the surface of the water.
I still don't know how he had the strength, but he was able to get his face just enough above water for me to see clearly that he was in distress. I could see his blue lips all the way from my pool chair. He was drowning.
Not too far from the edge of the pool…the edge of the pool where his floaties were lying…without him. He was gently clawing, trying to “swim” as best as he knows how. No knowledge of what to do. Desperate to get his face back to the surface of the water. Exhausted. Struggling with everything he has in his tiny body that has only been on this earth for two short years. He is so scared. He is helpless and trying so desperately to get one tiny gasp of air. His feet are down toward the pool, his arms out to his sides, trying to tread water, his neck bent and arched, trying with all he has in him to get his tiny little nose or mouth above water. He comes to the surface for a brief moment, then drops below the water, then almost to the top, then down below again – but never enough to get above the water to take that beloved breath. It's hard for me to breathe even thinking about it.Then I really noticed his face.
Ash white skin, lips blue. So blue. The rest is a blur. But I believe my absolute first thought before thinking anything else was, drowning doesn't look like drowning.There was an article a friend of mine posted on facebook weeks ago that I never took the time to read, but thought “wow, I bet that is really helpful to know. I hope people with pools read that.” Drowning doesn't look like drowning. I don't say a word. I jump into the pool, the water only hitting me waist-high. I remember being shocked at how blue his lips where. So blue. Scary blue. “That would never happen to my child” blue. I grab his tiny little body. So light. So helpless. I think to myself, “breathe baby, take one breath and it will all be better. Just breathe baby.” I lift his body out of the water. He went completely limp. It's a sickening feeling, the feeling of lifelessness on your arm. To feel the little body that you created from your own, only minutes earlier so full of life… still. Lifeless. More split-second thoughts. how can that be? He was just flailing…why is he limp now?this can't be good.his lips are so blue.how long has he been in here?how did this happen?breathe baby, breathe. The few movements it took to get him up from under the water to out of the pool felt like an eternity. At this very moment of writing this post all I have to do is picture is horrifyingly-blue lips and I burst into uncontrollable sobs. So unnatural. So ugly. So scary. I remember his limp body, and I remember his teeth grinding. Hard. A lot. are those his teeth?oh my gosh, this can't be good. I scoop him up out of the water and lay him on his back on the hot, hard pool deck concrete, my body still in the pool. It was a natural reaction, natural position. It's what they do on TV. It's how you give CPR. That's what you're supposed to do…right? His belly seems big; bloated. It must be full of water.Breathe baby, breathe.
His lips are so blue.
Oh my gosh his face has no color.
This can't be good. At this point, not a soul is aware of what is going on. The kids in the pool are still splashing and playing, just inches from where he was struggling for his life, the moms are still chatting. One of the moms sees me jump into the pool and grab Hutch. I will never forget what she said… “Oh! goodness. You'd think that with so many of us someone would've noticed him.” Casual. Matter of fact. So. Sadly. Wrong. I don't think they realize how serious this is.Did they see his lips?How long has he been like this?I can't believe I was on my cell phone. Then he cries. Weak. Helpless. Pitiful. So weak. No gurgling, no barfing, no coughing up water. I jump out of the pool. I grab him and lift him upright. I set him on my knee, slightly bent forward. It was a natural reaction, natural position. Let the water drain down.Throw it all up.Keep breathing, baby. The color slowly started coming back into his lips and his teeth stopped grinding. I sit with him in the same position on a pool lounger. All of this happens in a matter of seconds. So quickly, no one – including the kids swimming right next to Hutch in the pool – knew that anything had happened. Questions start piquing from the moms. “Did he fall in?” “He looked like he was trying to float on his back, that's pretty good!” “Did he hit his head or something?” “What happened?” I lift Hutch up and hold him facing me, his head resting on my shoulder – his favorite “I need my mommy” position. I stroke his back and realize that my heart isn't even pounding. It all happened so fast, my body – quite literally – didn't have time to catch up to what was going on.
After I made sure he was ok, breathing, and would respond when I talked to him, we walk around the pool deck, making casual chit-chat with the moms. They still don't quite understand what happened, but one thing is clear… Not a soul noticed him. No one. We were all talking. Chatting. Taking pictures. Playing with cell phones. Busy. Around, but not present. I'm still feeling surprisingly calm, and even crack a few jokes with the moms. “Well, Hutch, have we learned our lesson buddy?” ha ha ha. Ha.
I start asking him questions to see how well he would respond.
“Buddy, did you take your floaties off?”
“Baby, you can't get in without mommy. That's a no no, that's a big no no.” I talked to him a little more as I rocked back and forth with his head still on my shoulder, holding him tight and rubbing his back. His key word in our conversation being… “scawee”
Scary? No kidding, bud. I hope that scared the pants off of you so you never take your floaties off again. One mom in particular, a friend of mine, was concerned when she realized what happened, and came over to check him out pretty soon after I got him out of the pool. She said, “it sounds like he might have water in his lungs.” I knew her sister is a nurse so I asked her to call her sister to see if there is anything I should do. “He's exhausted, I was heading home to put him down for a nap, should I not let him sleep for any reason?” He's responding,His lips are pink again,That silly little kid.Ok, time for naps. I hold and rock him for a while to calm him down, then load him in the wagon with Priya.
He's so exhausted. I start loading my things and saying goodbye to the moms, when I notice his face. Specifically, his eyes. They were distant. Dazing. Hazy, even. He was looking at Priya, but not really looking at Priya. Looking past her; through her. I call to him, he looks at me and answers, just like normal. Hmmm…that's weird. I bend down and scrutinize him more. My friend notices and comes over. “How's he doing? Is he ok?” I mention that he looks a little out of it. She says, “If all else fails, you might want to take him in, just to be safe.” Nah, thanks but no thanks, the last thing I need is another medical bill. He's fine, just tired I'm sure. We start walking home and I decide to call his doc, just to make sure it's ok that I put him down for a nap. Does he need to be upright?Can I give him something to drink?
Is he going to barf? I really don't want him to barf in his bed. While the phone is ringing, I'm suppressing the urge to post about my experience on Facebook. Your hands are full, just do it a little later. I call the doc and ask for the nurse. She's busy. I tell them my brief story.
“Hello this is nurse so-and-so”. Tell her my story.
Hold please. She tells me I should take him to the ER. My heart sinks slightly that she's not giving me any useful advice.
Um, no. Thanks, but no thanks.
Cha-ching, cha-ching! No thanks, not another ER bill, that's REALLY the last thing I need.
He's totally fine, just super tired is all. I start to ask vague questions to get her off the phone, but lead her to believe that I'm actually considering taking him to the ER. Then she says the words that make my blood run cold. “You need to take him to the ER. Right now. As fast as you can get there.” The flood gates finally opened. My heart finally starts pounding. My stomach feels sick. It hits me for real this time… this can't be good. I get off the phone and move into hyper speed. Diapers on the kids. Bottle for Priya. Put her to bed as soon as possible. Keep Hutch upright. Hutch? Hutch? Hey buddy, look at mommy, how are you? Keep him responsive. Keep an eye on him. Please sleep Priya, please sleep right away so I don't have to worry about you too. Call my husband, Bubba. No answer. Call again. No answer. Call again. No answer. Throw some clothes on. Grab my diaper bag. Ipad, need the ipad – could be a long day, Hutch will need Toy Story 3. Call the sitter. No answer. Call the neighbor, ask her to leave the monitor at her house until I figure out plan B. Text Bubba, “Hutch needs to go to the ER call me asap.” Called him again, no answer. Please sleep, Priya, that will make this much easier on mommy. Hutch, how are you buddy? You ok? Want to watch TV? Keep him alert. Set him on the couch. Remote. Where's the dang remote? Shoes for Hutch. Shoes for me. Milk for Hutch? No milk, no time, don't know if he should drink anything. Priya's quiet, good girl Priya. Hutch, how are you doing mister? You excited to watch TV? Oh crap, he's totally dazing into space. He's totally out of it. Keys. Phone. Where's the darn remote? Grab Hutch, tell him he can watch TV in the car. The babysitter will just have to sit in silence I guess, can't find the remote. Load Hutch in the car, turn on the Ipad for him. Toss the monitor to the neighbor in the driveway with little to no explanation. Call Bubba, no answer. Bubba finally calls me back. “Jordy, what's going on?” How do I say this?Well, honey, I was on my phone, completely neglecting our two-year old who can't swim (whom I let in the pool by himself, by the way) and he almost drown. Oh but don't worry, I caught him just before he slipped to the bottom of the pool and he's totally breathing again. No biggie. But he's acting weird and the doc is freaked so we're going to the ER. But really, I'm sure it's fine. At least I got some good pics of the kids before we lost one of them. He drops everything and drives up from a work event in Provo, 30+ minutes away. I finally get ahold of the sitter. How do I say this?Hey, you're not busy are you? I wasn't paying attention to my son and he almost drowned. He's breathing now but I still have to take him to the ER because he might be having some major problems due to my lack of interest in what he was doing. Will you come watch Priya? Oh yeah, and I can't find the remote. I keep checking on Hutch through the rearview mirror. I notice three things. 1) He looks like he's in la-la land. Pale face, zombie eyes, bobbing neck. Great. 2) I forgot shoes for him. 3) His car-seat straps are totally sliding down his arms because it's his spare seat that I have in my car today randomly and we've never taken the time to adjust them to fit his body properly. Mom of the year. I get to the hospital, head in the ER, and check in. Hutch wants down so he can see the fish tank. He's talking to the fish, kissing the tank, and acting like he didn't just almost meet his maker 30 minutes earlier. I ring the triage bell. She's in the back of the room talking, motions that she'll be there soon, and continues talking. Lady, could you hurry up please? My son could be like, dying over here or something. How can I help you? What are you in for today? How do I say this?I was being an awesome mom and took my kids swimming. But then I was so busy posting about it and flaunting my awesomeness to the world that my son just about drown and now is about to endure hours of misery because of my actions. Oh yeah, and I almost didn't take him here because you guys are really expensive and the last thing I need is another medical bill to worry about. Hmm…I think that covers it. They take us back right away. They have me sit on the bed with Hutch on my lap, and the bustling begins.
Once the words “near drowning” buzzed around the ER, everyone sprang into action. We became the most popular people in the place. Five people immediately burst into the room. Blood pressure checks. Listening to lungs. Listening again. Heart. Ears. Eyes. Question after question. Orange stuffed animal for you. Do you like to color? Here are some crayons. Blood pressure cuff. Finger light thingie that looks like ET's finger.
Hustle, bustle, lots of concerns, lots of questions…all directed at me.
“How did this happen?”
“Where were you?”
“How did this happen?”
The same questions over and over, all with the same answer.
I wasn't paying attention and he jumped into the pool without his floaties on and almost drown.
Naturally, I left out the “I wasn't paying attention because I was on my phone” part. Hutch is an absolute angel. He sits so still, doesn't make a peep, silently looking around letting people poke and prod him. He's still in a daze, but responds when I talk to him. Throughout the day there were at least a 1/2 dozen or more people checking on him. Each time I had to explain what happened. Each time they had a look on their face like, “Oh darn…so you're one of THOSE parents?” They never said anything of the sort, but they always, without fail, had a look on their face like “ooooh….THAT explains it.” So many people came in during the day, and so many people seemed deeply concerned about HOW it happened, I kept thinking they were from Family Services coming to investigate me as a neglectful parent. I'm not trying to be humorous, those were actual thoughts. The hustle and bustle died down. They said his vitals looked good, but his temperament concerned them and they ordered a chest xray; told us to hang tight until they were ready for us. Everyone left and I still had Hutch sitting in between my legs on the bed, his back against my chest. He rested his head against my chest and immediately fell asleep. That mini rest of his was God's gift to me. Hutch NEVER falls asleep on me, no matter what. But that moment was a gift. I was fully, irrevocably PRESENT. I smelled his hair. I stroked his soft face. I listened to him breathe. It sounded so good. And I cried. I cried, and cried, and cried. My tears ran down his soft blonde hair and onto his tiny blue shirt. So many thoughts. Thank you, God for sparing my son.Please let him be ok.How could I have been so stupid?We got so lucky.How long was he struggling?Did he jump in?What possessed him to take off his floaties?Thank you, God. And without fail, every time I closed my eyes I saw his tiny little body struggling with all the willpower one can possess to make it to the surface of the water… and those lips. So blue. Then the tears would pour. They drew his blood, waking him up. It hurt him so badly, and it hurt me to have to pin him down so tightly. I'm sorry buddy, I'm so sorry.
Hutch settled down, the nurses left, I cried. Bubba arrived. I couldn't even speak to him, I just silently cried as he kissed Hutch, held his little hand, asked him questions, kissed his tiny hands, and was present with him.
I almost took this little boy away from his daddy.Because of my actions I almost made it so that this man's last moment with his son would've been the hurried kiss out the door on the way to work.All because of a cell phone.
Bubba gently carried him tenderly to the Xray room.
The xray was horrific.
It took 4 of us to force him into this tiny machine that I can't even explain, with a huge plastic cuff that goes all the way around his tiny body and squeezes him so tightly that his arms are pinned above his head and he can't move, so they can xray his chest. He screamed with every fiber in his soul. They made us leave the room and stand in the hall, his screams and cries echoing off the stark walls. I was sobbing and couldn't talk. “Talk to him through the door.” I choked out to Bubba between sobs. Bubba's voice cracked and caught in his throat; trying to be strong for his baby boy. “Hutch? Buddy? Daddy's here, it's ok. You're almost done buddy, it's ok. Hey, Hutch? Can you hear me? Daddy's here.” It made a noticeable difference. The screaming was toned down, but Hutch's sobs and cries came on harder than ever. As soon as we heard “ok we're done” we bolted through the door and couldn't snatch him up fast enough. Our tiny boy. They kept us the rest of the day to run tests, watch his vitals, observe his behavior, and track the test and xray results. Bubba left to relieve the sitter and watch Priya. Hours passed. I laid on the bed with Hutch and tried to get him to sleep. He was too wired. Back to his old self. Silly, talking, asking for fruit snacks and milk, happy. The color was back in his face. I turned off the ipad, turned out the lights and told him it was time for a nap. He said he wanted to say a prayer. We prayed to our Heavenly Father and thanked him. It was simple, sweet, and inspired by a 2 year old. It was perfect. It took me an hour to get him to sleep, but as he slept I laid in bed and made a decision. I will, from this day forward, do everything in my power to be PRESENT. With my kids. With my husband. On a walk. In church. In the car. With friends and family. That whatever I'm doing, I do IT and nothing else. I focus on THAT moment, at THAT moment. No more checking my phone while sitting in the play room with the kids and calling it playing with them. No more having Hutch jump on my bed by himself so I can get things done in my room. No more sitting next to my husband and working on my computer while he works on his. Sure, those things will need to happen once in a while in order to get life done. But my decision is to be PRESENT in my life at all times and stop letting it pass me by. My experience today was God's gift to me; a gentle but firm warning. Many people don't get a second chance like I did today. I sure as heck don't plan to take it for granted. It's going to be hard. Heck, on the drive home from the hospital I was texting and driving to all my family and friends that Hutch was ok, trying to keep my frantic parents from impulsively flying here from Oregon.
I posted my story on Facebook first thing when I got home and keep having to stop myself from checking my phone to see who all has commented on it.
Baby steps. BUT…I'm not going to let my phone rule my life any more. I'm going to rule my own life, and own every moment of it. I couldn't sleep tonight until I wrote this post. I can't deny the feeling that this experience did not happen on accident. I sobbed the entire way through writing this. It physically hurts to write down the details, and to admit that I was wrong and caused fear and harm into my little angel. Seeing it in a cold, hard font makes it real. No sugar-coating, no dancing around details, it is what it is.I dread going to sleep tonight. Closing my eyes is the hardest thing, because behind my eyelids I get an instant flash of his body in the pool, his lips blue. So blue.
But writing helps. I'm facing the reality of the day, and – hopefully – doing some good in the meantime. I hope that anyone reading this can take this into their own lives. I hope that you set aside the blog readers. The smart phones. The tags. The hashtags. The comments. The pinning. The whatever it is that is not allowing you to be fully present in your own life, and get back to the way things should be. By all means, read blogs. In fact, keep reading this one! Write a blog. Check your emails. Take photos and post them – I love seeing them. Text. A lot.
do we really need to take our phones to the bathroom with us? Check it first thing in the morning? The last thing at night? Have it with us while we're outside playing with our kids? In church? At dinner? On a date?I'm setting a goal to only check my social media only 2x per day, and the rest of the time it can wait.Presence is a gift. I plan to give mine to others, and to enjoy every moment of my children's gift to me. If people are left hanging? That's ok, they will survive. And guess what? So will my son. XOXO,
Thank you for sharing this story! I felt great anxiety while reading it, only imagining what you were going through. My heart aches for you and your little buddy! I too have 5 kids and this has been such a fear for me. Thank you for your example and being brave enough to share your story. I will take your words to heart and be more PRESENT!
How horrifying, thank you for sharing. When my son was 8 months old he fell off the changing table when I reached down to get a diaper. He was fine, but it was so traumatic for me. They warn you of every little caution, and you never think anything will happen to your own baby. But it can. Thanks for sharing the message of presence, it is something we can all work on. Very glad your son was ok. Xoxo
*wiping away tears so I can type this* Thank you for sharing. I wish that didn’t happen to you and your family but hopefully by posting about it you can prevent this very common thing from happening.
That’s my goal in sharing, so that it makes others aware so that it won’t happen to them! XOXO
This is an important post, and you are brave for sharing it. You probably have saved many lives as a result.
Thanks for sharing. Do not beat yourself up over this. I think most of us if not all mothers have done something that they regret and this haunts us from time to time. We are not perfect just human. We hopeful learn from these mistakes. As mothers we do the best we can. No one should judge you I know I don’t. My children are grown and now have grandchildren. I will make sure I unplug when they visit. Thanks again for sharing makes one realize how quickly life can change.
“Wow what an amazing story!!” was my first thoughts after I finished reading. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy each moment. I find myself getting caught up in racing from one thing to the next, without taking time to enjoy e.v.e.r.y. m.o.m.e.n.t.!! Very good story and a must read for everyone!!!
Thank you for sharing your personal and heartbreaking story. You have made me realize that I need to be present with my kids at all times, not just in the pool. God gave you a gift that day and you have shared it with other people, even though it is tough. Thanks for being so inspiring.
Thank you for sharing! So many people including myself will benefit from your unfortunate experience.
Thank you for being brave enough to share this story. The details you write really helps me to imagine myself in a situation like that and it makes me realize how important being present is. It can be so difficult to be fully there in our fast paced world where our attention is beckoned from all different directions, but it causes me to appreciate all the more my ever present Heavenly Father who is fully everywhere all at once. Thank you for being real! Your realness probably helps many people to be real and that is where others can relate. God bless you!
Praising God he is ok.
I will be present.
Our son nearly drown in a pool with both my husband and I right in there with him. We got distracted by the other kids and he slipped under where he couldn’t touch the bottom. He was older than your baby but it scared the crud out of all of us. It’s 5 years later and he’s still scarred by that day. He’s just now able to get in a pool to take lessons. We just never know when something is going to happen. Thanks to God for protecting them!!! Thank you for sharing this! An excellent reminder!!
Thank you for sharing your story…..by sharing your story however painful it is, others WILL learn.
I completely empathize and know your journey. My hear ached as I read……
Thank you for all you do! You popped up on my YouTube feed for meal planning. lol.
God Bless you and your family.
Thank you for sharing your story.
My heart ached as I read and empathize with your situation.
Thank You for all you do to help other moms!
I came across your YouTube videos on my suggested feed.
Thank you again!
God bless you and your family.
Wow. Im glad he’s ok. Talk abt looked up in the nic of time! Idk when this happened. (Unless im completely blind, i cant find the date.) But im just SO HAPPY for you & Hutch & his dad that he is ok. If all the tests came bk ok, why was he dazed out like that? Im thinking he was just tired & his brain was “processing or rebooting” or something. Prob just exhausted like u said. Im also glad u shared this story because its a real-life thing. You were so honest. And thats part of what makes us good moms: we like our perfect picture showing-off happy family & awesome mom-ing times, and we make serious selfish mistakes because we get caught up in the wrong moment. I dont know you Jordan but im proud of you. I know it took a LOT of guts to put this out there for the world to see but i support real “Mom-ing Life” 100% and I believe God sent a poke into your unbreakable mommy instinct to make you look up. Glad he’s okay. Glad we can all take a lesson from this. Here’s to never (again!) letting anything or anyone come between us & our kids! 🙂
I had a similar experience with my daughter but it was rsv and she was only a few months old. I won’t ever forget that look. Thank you for reminding us to BE with our families!
For those wondering about the dazed “out of it” look, it’s one of the symptoms indicating continuing oxygen deprivation from water that has entered the bloodstream via the capillaries (tiny blood vessels in the lungs.) That throws the body’s systems out of balance. It is NOT fatigue and it can appear before and/or after shock wears off.
Water does not belong in lungs. Take it seriously.
Get medical attention immediately.
I’m a nurse in a hospital emergency department in one of the largest cities in the southern United States. My colleagues and I are not judging you. We’re each asking you what happened because we’re hoping that you’ll remember that one little thing that will help us help your child. We weren’t there, you were. Every little thing you remember is important.
More information about the damage that can happen below.
Just because the water is aspirated (removed) from the lungs does not mean oxygen intake is back to normal. Lung cells absorb the water and swell in size. The same thing happens with blood cells as the water enters the bloodstream. Some of those cells will burst. The liver then has to suddenly deal with the extra hemoglobin. That water in the bloodstream creates an imbalance that can disrupt the heart’s electrical activity. The brain can also be affected.
It takes a relatively small amount of water to cause all this trouble.
The chemicals used to treat pool water create additional problems.
Wow thanks for this information! Amazing to know all that so we know what to do God forbid we encounter something like this because you always think of just the moment and don’t realise to think about all the stuff that can happen after :/
Thank you so much Samantha for the medical explanation. Sometimes we fail to see the seriousness because we think “child-breathing=child-ok”. We also forgot how little amount of air capacity their lungs have compared to ours and how small an amount of water can take up that previous air space …
Thanks Jordan for sharing you’re story, I come back and read it every year, even though my youngest is almost 12. Water safety is so important. And I renew my pledge to be present.
Oh my gosh! How scary! Posting this may have saved lives. I believe texting and driving is a no no as well! Never text and drive… kids are watching, learning from us at all times.
Thank you for that! I’m so sorry that happened! My sister ‘almost’ drown too. I was only a kid but could hear everything from the other room as my Mom gave her CPR.
As a mum now myself this is a story that I needed to hear again. Be present! It’s so easy to be distracted by life! I will try my hardest to be present from now on. Thank you for the reminder. God bless
It is so unfair that the hospital would even charge you a PENNY just to save your child’s life if needed. Honestly, anything children need should be free in the hospital until they’re adults.
Much love and blessings.
Omg I was in tears reading this. Thank God he’s ok.
God bless you!
I read this post years ago before I even knew who you were. I just stumbled upon this while scrolling your blog. I think about this post every time my kids are in the bath or near water. I had no idea you were the mom in this horrifying event. I’m so glad everything is fine now but I have taken your words to heart. Thank you for sharing this.
Thank you for sharing. Many would never admit to such an experience, but it’s so true: are we truly present at all times?! Something I think we all can work on.
I came across this article a couple of years ago – before I knew about your amazing tips on everything. It struck me and made me realize the day our kids are growing up in is so different and we have to fight to not get distracted. I am glad things didn’t turn out worse – and grateful for the reminder.
What a great reminder. It is so hard to think of in the moment but so important! Behind my tears thinking of my own 2 year old son, I’m so grateful you had a positive outcome from such a scary experience!
This is such a good reminder about how things can happen in an instant! Such a powerful story!
OMG this story <3 It is SO easy to get distracted, and accidents can happen so fast! I have a couple of friends who HAVE lost their kids from innocent distractions, not allowing them to be "present". Thank you SO much for the story, and reminder that THEY should be our number one distraction. I don't know how I would forgive myself if something ever happened to either of my baby girls that I could have prevented 🙁
This is so hard. I’m so happy your baby is ok. My son got an electric shock from a busted laptop cord that was plugged into the wall. I could have stopped it if I wasn’t working on my phone just inches away from him. We too had to go to the ER and my baby was a trooper. To this day I still need reminders to be present. Sometimes my oldest toddler even calls me out on it ?. “mommy stop talking” meaning on my phone.
Thank you for sharing your story, definitly a timely reminder for me to be PRESENT at ALL times with my babies.
Thank you so much for sharing this. When I first read it, it was a great such shocking reminder and your story has stuck with me for years. I think about it every summer when my kids are splashing around and I feel hyper vigilant to pay attention, all because you shared a really horrible experience. Thank so much for being so open and honest.
This must have been so hard to put our there to the world! I appreciate your honest sharing and am grateful that your experience had a happy ending. Hopefully it helps the rest of us!
Thank you for such a real blog post. I have actually read this a couple of times. I came across it quite a while ago before I knew who you were. This is such a great reminder for all mothers, not just those with little ones. We have such limited time with our kids, we need to make the time we have with them count and must be physically present for them.
Holy cow! My heart raced and I got teary eyed reading this. I cannot imagine what you went through, and I’m sure it’s somwthing you will never forget! My daughter is in swim lessons and I tried to stress how important they are so she’s safe in the pool. Anything can happen in an instant. Water is so dangerous.
Even at my daughters dance lessons, most of the parents are on their phone. They can’t devote 30min. Granted it’s danxe so it’s pretty safe, but still.
I’m so sorry that you had to experience something so traumatic to change your ways. But I hope it’s an eye opener for others that aren’t as present.
Wow. What a tender mercy. So scary. ❤️
I read this story of your often….it’s such a great reminder to me that we need to really think about being present a lot….it’s a conscious decision that we often miss because it’s such a habit to grab the phone. And not only may our decision lead to a dramatic event like this, but it might just be that our kids feel less important than our phone….anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I always think about it…..
It was really hard for me to read past this paragraph.
“What I mean by being present, is to be involved, aware, in-tune, connected
To not just physically be there, but to really BE there. Soaking it all in. Participating. Adding to whatever it is. Enjoying. Not just being around, but being…present.”
I think it’s too easy to fall Into the “rabbit hole” of technology these days so this was the perfect reminder for me today to be in the present.
So scary. So glad he’s okay ❤️
Thank you for sharing this story! Definitely going to be more present in my child’s life! ❤️
Oh wow! How scary for a mamas heart! Thank you for the reminder. I have been working on being present more this week and consequently I have gotten more done, created more memories! Thank you for the reminder
I remember reading this forever ago. At the time I was not a parent and I still sobbed while reading it. Re-reading as a patent of a 2 year old boy today I cried even harder. Such an incredible reminder. I grateful that you had the willingness to share such a personal experience. This helps boost my motivation on personal changes I have been trying to make. Thank you.
This is an amazing story and an amazing lesson from God. I cried reading this and am making my husband read it too. Our phones do rule our lives and it brings home the importance of being present. Thank you so much for sharing this story. The more of your posts I read the more inspired I am by you. Thank you for that.
Oh my goodness…. being a mom of 4 I worry about this at the pool all of the time. Constantly counting 184.108.40.206 okay, they are all there.
So glad everything turned out ok.
Hey Jordan, I’ve seen a video here and there if you but this is my first stop into the blog. This story really hit me hard. It made my stomach hurt and my throat choke as I imagined everything you described so well. You are a skilled writer. I have seven children (yes seven ?? 6 boys and one girl) and over the years with lits if swimming, I’ve pulled my younger kids that are pool float age out of the pool three times (they hadn’t taken on too much water but when you see your child under the water… the panic is real no matter how long they have struggled) . Once fully clothed after throwing a plate of food aside since we were just “stopping in” for a 30 min swim at a friends pool. always that sinking feeling and shame (whether deserved or not) that i had too much to handle with so many kids to glue eyeballs on to 24/7… to keep them all safe…. all the time. It’s enough to cause insanity if i think about all the things that could happen. But you are so right… i love swimming but of all the mothering minefields, it’s my most feared realm. I’m sorry you had to go through this and I’m so glad you saw him when you did. You were the help he was desperate for and I’m sure you still feel the sting of being distracted but when he was desperate for strong arms to pull him to air, you were there mama, you were there.
And hey, I’m sure you have a million other things on your plate but I watched your q and a on LDS/Mormon church and I still have some questions that are more interpersonal ones. My husband is an EM physician and teaches residence and gets pared up with residence from your faith quite often (I think the program director thinks they will be comfortable with my husband ?). We always love these couples and it’s an inside joke that we got handed Mormon church location lists when we interviewed for our residencey back in the day because we already had 4 kids and one on the way and I guess send out the wholesome vibe. ? We’ve had many good friends from the church through the years. My husband and i both grew up in a very traditional German background Protestant Church with similar family values and close knit fellowship. If you have time I have questions about what “questioning Mormons” really means and maybe some tips on how to interact with those we mentor as a couple through the medical program we are at.
I recently had a moment in mommyhood that I hate myself for. Reading this reminds me just because I had a moment where I wasn’t completely present doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom. My 18 month old could have been seriously hurt and every time I close my eyes I see her fall over and over. But your story like mine was an eye opener. xoxo
WoW. That’s a long story. Suspenseful. My kid nearly drown, too. Thank God was pulled up by her hair by her sister. She had stepped off the step into the deep end and headed straight downward. Aged 2 and 4. I had no cell ph at the time but I turned my head to discuss briefly with their father our dinner plans. It only takes a second for something to happen. Really scary stuff. I’m glad your son was saved and is fine!?
Wow, powerful story! I lost my sister to social media! This story will save lives! Share with many!
Praise God your baby is okay.
Thank you for sharing. A great lesson and a reminder for me to be PRESENT at all times (in and out of the pool).
This happened to me recently as well. Tons of people in the pool, my attention was on my friend and my daughter was only 10 feet away from me on the steps of the pool. My 6 year old daughter was in the pool and noticed her 3 year old sister floating face down in the pool. She swam to her sister and pulled her to the steps. People started to notice what was going on and when my daughter was turned over, her face was completely blue. One of the people at the pool was a doctor and she gave her CPR and revived her. Everything you described is what we went through and all the feelings of guild and bad parenting that came with it. I thank God every day that we were spared. Thanks for sharing.
I am so glad he is ok and thank you for your invaluable lesson, and your honesty. So sorry you and your family had to go through that but I am happy that you made it and everyone is ok. God bless you and your family 🙂 so happy found your blog.
I’m Sobbing reading this, I know the horrible feeling that is watching your child’s lifeless body. My youngest ‘died’ several times as a baby he was in hospital for months from birth. It is one of the most Harrowing experiences ive ever been through and i wouldn’t wish it on anyone xxx
Wow….. my heart throbbed when I read your deep detail of your little buddy lifeless appearance …. I feel you how you were feeling . You handled it so well and I know deep inside you feeling so numb … As for me I know it would take me a while to be able to get myself back in my body and hit reality that something serious is happening and take control of situation . I get so weak and mindless for a minute when I see my kids get hurt . Did you feel like during this whole dramatize moment that you were a puppet and you body movements was control by someone moving you around with strings controlling your every moves til you finally got your strength back to being the best mom and handling the situation? I just askin cuz In a way reading your story was like I’m feeling you but that’s how I felt reading your story …, I’m so glad everything is fine … No matter what ..I know til this day that sad image isn’t goin to stop .. it will keep flashing in your mind … just keep reminding yourself that it’s a lesson learned it could happen to anyone , you are the greatest mom , your kids are happy , your husband loves you and know you are a great mom and wife and you have supporters. I’m one of them lol .., but For reals wow … you are very strong and I love the way you are with your kids and the whole motherly and family thing . I am too that way except I not into the social thing and instagramming thing . Cuz I be overwhelmed for my body if I was able to do what you do I probably do it too … I mean with the social . Take care and keep up with great job of what you are doing. You are a strong woman . And encouraging for other females who probably may need to be reminded that you can still be you once you become mother . Life doesn’t stop and being you is important for our kids to learn and teach their own when they grow In our shoes
Mama of 5 boys here and I want to thank you for sharing this important message of staying present especially around water. I had a terrible experience of being INSIDE a pool and not realizing that another family’s child was at the bottom of the pool for I’m not sure how long before another mother jumped in with all her clothes on and brought him up. Even as she jumped I had no idea why… I had not seen the child run out from the house and jump back in. Perhaps I was hyper-focused on making sure I saw all 4 of mine who were swimming – still swimming. The child was fine thank Gd as far I know, definitly shaken up. It was our first time meeting this family and I haven’t followed up but he seemed fine. I still get chills and a broken heart when I think about myself swimming in a pool with a child under the water!!??!! How could that happen??!!?? Fast. Please be present – not only for your own children but for everyone around! Thank you for being real with us always and for sharing your very real story.
Oh my gosh! It is truly soon terrifying. It can happen in an instance. I’m glad the child was fine. So thankful. XO
Oh my goodness! Your story gave me so much anxiety so I can only imagine how you felt. This is so scary. I’m so grateful that your son was ok. Thanks for the reminder to be more present. I don’t even know what else to say but as a mother this really scared me.
Just finished reading your post and it takes me back to March 2015 when this “my 4 year old daughter nearly drowned” happened to me. The biggest takeaway I have for anyone reading this is . . .
– it happens very fast
– yes, it CAN happen to you
– it is very SILENT and not like the movies
The chilling details you wrote take me right back to my experience.
Thank god for your blessing and the reminder.
I am so sorry to hear that this has happened to you as well! But I’m so glad that she’s still here with you! XOXOXO
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have a 3 year old and your text is an ultimate warning to leave the damn thing in the bag and not keeping it between two of us all the time. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I am glad that your little one is good. God bless you.
Yes! Just put the phones away! 🙂
I love this post. It really hits home. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget what your priorities. Your children can easy become your distraction to what you want to do. Instead they need to be your priority. I’ve many times felt Gods mercy when I’ve made stupid decisions thinking my children are old enough or there is someone else that has eyes on them. I appreciate you putting this out there for all of us to read. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You are so right on all points! 🙂
Thanks again for reposting this. I read this blog post when it first happened in 2012, and think about it every summer. Such a terrifying story, and I’ve shared it many times with many people to get the point out there. The little addictive phones are nothing compared to our precious children. Thanks again.
Thanks for sharing it with others! It really is so important for people to realize the dangers of not focusing on the kids when they’re in the water. XOXO
Thank you so much for writing this – I was in tears reading it and thinking of my two daughters. I am going to make more of a concerted effort to be more present in their lives – it is *so* easy to be distracted by mobile phones – they are invented to be addictive, and it is terribly hard to switch them off or put them away.
Yes, I love this! It’s important to be more present when they’re doing something that could turn dangerous, but still so important to just be present in their lives in general.
I hope you are forgiving yourself, mama. This could have happened to ANYONE. Thank you for sharing❤️
It took me a long time, but I have forgiven myself! Now, I ALWAYS make sure that I’m present when my kids are near the water. It’s just not worth the risk!
Thank you for having the strength & courage to share this story. I’m certain that God led me to read it and memorize your message. I do catch myself at times not being present enough with my child. I shared in your tears as I read your words. I’ve watched many of your videos but this is, by far, the most valuable information you have shared. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family. <3
Thank you! It’s so important for both their safety and just being there for them! XOXO
My kids’ doctor lost his 20 month old child to drowning. He was the second youngest of their 8. They just looked away for a second (he had a life vest on as well). If it can happen to a physician, it can happen to anyone. Thanks for sharing your story and stay safe out there everyone!
Oh goodness, that’s so sad to hear! It really can happen to anyone.
I think the mistake most parents make is they think floaties will prevent drowning. They dont. They give us a false sense of safty. I just don’t trust kids around the pool. It’s the 1 place I’m present for mine and everyone elses. But any other time I am on the phone when the kids are around. Thanks for having the courage to post your story. I’m sure you saved many lives and reminded us all, of what’s important.
Thanks for your kind words! Floaties definitely give us a false sense of safety because you just never know when your kid will be able to get them off when they shouldn’t be able to, like my son did!
Jordan, I am a recent-2018- Freeb convert?Oddly enough just happened upon this gut wrenching story of yours. Man. I thought there is just no way I could ever respect you more than I already do, but then that bar shot up again. Mad respect to you momma. ????
Your story is still powerful, even years later. Thank you for sharing. So, the word that hit me obviously was presence.
Present. That was actually a possible word choice for me in 2020. ?So odd that I happen upon this blog post of yours about this same topic.
I think that is God’s way of showing me what I need to improve on. Keep on rocking it Jordan!! xoxo
Wow, that’s crazy! I’m so glad that you found this post, it’s one that I want everybody to read so that they can learn from my mistakes without having anything bad happen to their own children. Being present is definitely hard in today’s phone-driven world and it’s one that I still have to work at every day. But good things don’t always come easy, right? You’ve got this, mama! XOXO
I just wanted to leave you a message here to say Thank you for sharing this terrifying experience for you, Hutch and your family! We are leaving in a couple of weeks for a summer vacation – staying at a cabin by the beach with our two young boys ages 15 mos and 4 years. Your story has shook me to the core! I can’t imagine the terrifying experience of seeing your child in such distress. I want you to know that I will be thinking of your little Hutch when I am watching my kids playing in the lake and I promise to you that your experience has also taught me to be – present- during our trip, to watch carefully where our children are at all times! God bless your family and you for being so brave to share your story to help others!
Sending your family lots of love!
My daughter is in infant swim lessons to learn if she falls into water to flip on her back and float! It is scary. I was scared the first day when they said we are going to put her in water and see what she does, she of course sank! Now after 6 weeks she can float by herself. She is still learning to flip over, but we are getting there!
That’s so amazing! It’s so scary at first, but that’s so great that she’s learning how to survive if she falls in the water!
I’m so impressed of and thankful for your honesty. Admitting to your readers that it happened bc you were distracted will help so many more parents, including myself. Because that’s truthfully when drownings can so easily happen. And being distracted is almost inevitable. I read an article written by a woman who investigates drowning. She said she turns her phone on airplane mode and sets one minute timers over and over when she’s watching children in a pool. She also says, definitely bring your phone w you to a pool and make sure it’s fully charged, IN CASE you need to use it to call 911. Anyway, thank you for your honesty. It was probably so hard to admit (especially since no one else even noticed you were distracted, you could’ve easily omitted that part), but your message is making a much bigger impact because of your honesty.
I’ve been a mother for 18 months. 18 months this week. I’ve always known one fact, but really only understood it when I became a mom: they don’t teach us when to stop! They teach girls and women to take care of the house, the husband, the babies. But they never say when to stop. That usually comes as a “take care of yourself” comment when you’re single and looking. The only time I’ve heard it said to a mom was right after I had my baby, but that’s it. Give it 3 or 4 months and nobody says it. I come from a different country than you, I live in a different country. Heck! A different continent really. But I see it happening with me and every woman around me. I read this article and it gave me the chills, but the most prevalent feeling that came through was your guilt. Your guilt that you looked down instead of up. That you indulged. You were a mother of 2 small babies (I still don’t know how you do it with all the lovelies you have now! I’m complaining with one), you had spent some significant amount of time in the sun yourself, YOUR BRAIN WAS TIRED! It needed a break and it took it so you can function on. IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT! It could have happened with you right next to him in the pool. What if the baby needed you and you looked at her for the time you spent on your phone? Yes, I agree it’s time to put our phones down. But what we need to teach our children is to STOP WHEN YOU’RE TIRED! Stop when it’s your time to stop. Stop as soon as you feel yourself being distracted. Nobody taught me, but I’m learning by doing it myself and seeing the results. If I stop from … anything: working, taking care of the house, the baby, the husband… I can come back 10 times better afterwards. EVERY SINGLE TIME. NO VARIATIONS. Been trying it for the last 5 years. That’s the lesson! Had you stoped after feeding both kids and went home, wouldn’t you have felt guilty about robbing them the time with their friends in the sun? Wouldn’t some comment from someone about “letting them be kids” have hurt you a bit? You can’t win either way. Yes, given the choice I’m sure you would take that comment instead of the horrific experience any day. But if you hadn’t had this experience to compare, wouldn’t the comment still hurt?
They say children will ask of you non-stop. But it’s not true. It’s not just children, it’s everyone. What I learned is that you need to BE PRESENT WITH YOURSELF. And when you’re tired, STOP! Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. 8 seconds, 8 months or 8 years later. See the lesson, learn it and pass it on. Guilt should have no place in it.