American Heart Association Certifying in BLS Basic Life Support, CPR, ACLS Advance Cardio Life support, PALS Pediatric Advance Life Support, First Aid, BLS Renewal, ACLS Renewal and PALS Renewal in North Central Florida, Northern New Jersey and Queens New York, Connecticut and Long Island New York.
In June 2014, my friend Erin and I planned a pool day together as we decided we would spend the afternoon together at her private community pool, where we could eat lunch and chat while the kids could swim. We both have 4 kids all under the age of 8. The day went pretty much as expected, perfect weather, kids got along and we were having a great time.
Towards the end of the day, I had a distinct thought “It’s quiet…” and in a home of 4 boys, quiet is NEVER a good thing, unless they are sleeping. I looked over and noticed only 3 boys, off to the side of the pool. And, after a quick scan of the pool I said “Where’s Max?”
Almost immediately Erin yelled, “Kristy! He’s in the water!” I had noticed in the middle of the deep end a small, slightly darker area, all the way at the bottom. My heart dropped when I realized that tiny, hard to see figure was in fact my little boy’s body. What else could it be?!
I knew I had to get him out and I had to do it fast! All in a matter of seconds Erin had taken my 8 month old baby, Harry, from my arms and I jumped in the pool. Mid jump I remember noticing how calm the water was.
There were no signs of struggle on the water. Then I noticed his body-hunched over in an upside down U position, with his arms hanging down and his back at the highest point just like in the movies.
Once I grabbed him and made my way to the side of the pool, Erin called 911. When I got to the side, I tried to throw his body out, but again, I was brutally disappointed when I realized how heavy his lifeless body was.
Once I got him out of the water, I rolled him onto his back, I then realized the color, or lack thereof, of his face. His face, lips, and eyelids were completely bluish grey. All I remember thinking was, "Time to make him breathe.” So I took a large settling breath and proceeded with CPR techniques I learned 10 years ago!
I'm not sure how long I was working on him, we guess it was about 2 minutes, but I remember noticing when I would breathe for him, the color would come back to his face a little at a time. At one point, Max's eyes flickered a little and I remember the sense of gratitude that rushed over me at that moment.
Then all at once, his eyes opened as wide as they could possibly go. He tried to breathe, but he still couldn't, so I breathed for him a couple more times and then set him up to try and get him to breathe on his own!!
I could hear the water inside of his breath so Erin handed me the phone to talk to the 911 dispatcher. The dispatcher wanted me to calm him down, so his body would be able to throw up the remaining water in his lungs. Eventually, he threw up. It was 99% water.
The EMT's arrived a few moments later and started checking him. I'm so glad they brought a fire truck too, because that made Max happy and helped to cheer him up. He talks about it now when he tells the story. How he got to see a fire truck up close and ride in an ambulance!
In the ambulance,
Max didn't want to talk much, but he did provide his explanation of events: "I was swimming on the red floaty, my arms slipped off. I tried doing my scoops (swim strokes), got tired and then I sinked!” Once they knew he was stable they let him go to sleep.
At the hospital, I answered a lot of questions, but am still surprised how many people wanted to know "What did you do?" "How did you do it?" "How long did you do it?" Everyone was so encouraging, so positive, and so sweet to me. I consistently heard "Good job mom! You saved his life!"
Eventually, I was able to talk to the RN watching over Max.
He told me "how lucky we were," and I asked him with a drowning like ours, what were the chances of full recovery. He replied with "It is a miracle he is alive." Alive?! A miracle that maybe he didn't have