Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Day My Kid Almost Died

Two weeks ago my daughter almost died.

Just typing that sentence gives me the chills, I can feel my heart sink to the pit of my stomach and my eyes are starting to get glossy, swelling up with salty wet tears. I go to a place of terror and sadness as I relive the traumatizing memory of my daughter's close call with death.

It was sunny and warm and the solar powered pool in my backyard was up to 80 degrees. This was perfect I thought, after all the strange weather we had been having lately we finally caught a break. We could go swimming! Yes! I have been waiting patiently since the end of last summer to finally get back in the pool.

I asked my daughter during her favorite movie if she wanted to go swimming, and before I could even blink she had already grabbed my hand and was walking me up the stairs to grab her swimsuit. We put our suits on and I invited my youngest sister to come with us, she obliged. We spent about an hour and half splashing each other, swimming laps, and hitting each other with pool noodles. We had a great time, but I remembered that earlier my grandma had called and said she would be coming over to visit around 4 pm.

It was 3:45 pm so I told my daughter it was time to get out and dry off because Grandma would be here soon. I took her life jacket off and wrapped a towel around her cold wet skin. She told me she was freezing, so I told her we could go sit in the sun by the pool to dry off, she would be warm there. As we were drying off, my Grandma had shown up, and she was trying to come out the sliding glass door to see us, she is fragile, her hands shake and sometimes she has trouble walking. I could see her struggling to get the door open, so I say to my daughter," Come on Milania, Grandma's here follow me so we can help her outside."

I was not prepared for what happened next.

I had assumed my daughter followed me, she usually does, so I went to help my 83 year old grandmother outside. As I grabbed a hold of my grandmother's hand I heard a loud scream. It was my sister instantly I turned around and I saw my daughter was in the pool under water not moving. Before I could even move my sister had already jumped in the pool and grabbed my daughter out of the water.

The whole thing only lasted about 20 seconds but it was the most terrifying 20 seconds of my life. I was panicking, what if she is dead? Why didn't I just pick her up? I'm the stupidest person alive. I don't want to lose her.

Fortunately she was perfectly fine, we didn't have to administer CPR, call the paramedics, or anything because she was perfectly fine, but I wasn't. My daughter almost died, and it was my fault. I didn't even save her myself, my sister did. I am the worst mother alive! How could I allow this to happen under my watch? How am I going to tell my fiancee? I'm dreading that phone call, he isn't going to trust me to care for our daughter anymore. I was feeling guilty as hell.

My fiancee tried to assure me it wasn't my fault, he told me I should be grateful my sister was there, and I was but that didn't take away the tremendous amount of guilt I felt for putting my daughter in harm's way. As a mother it's my job to protect my daughter from these things and I failed miserably.

2 weeks have gone by since her near death experience, but I don't feel any better. In fact we haven't been in the pool since. I just can't seem to escape this overwhelming amount of guilt that is hanging over me like a black cloud. She almost died, under my watch. Why can't I just let this go already? Why am I still hanging on to a painful memory? Because she almost died. I don't know if I will ever get over this, but I know this much I am forever grateful to my sister.

Photo Credit: All photos courtesy of me


  1. Ugh. I so relate. You left a comment on my BabyCenter Blog about baby swim lessons. Thank you. The whole reason I started getting on a soapbox about swim lessons is because I had a very similar experience to yours (it was two summers ago) .... I understand how you feel, I truly do. I still feel sick thinking about the close call and I feel terrible. But you have to get her in the pool again so she doesn't fear water, which can be dangerous. I really understand. But you're OK, she's OK and it will all be OK. Here's my post on our close call:


  3. and then our experience going back to pool

    1. Thanks for sharing your story with me, it makes me feel hopeful hearing from someone who has been through a similar experience.

      I definitely think I'm gonna look into a swimming class at a public pool with other moms before I allow my daughter to swim in our back yard pool again. I'm hopeful a swim class with take away all my fears and negative feelings about her swimming.

  4. Megan, Please remember that Milania's experience was not traumatic like yours. She will pick up on your feelings toward water and eventually internalize them. Please please enroll her in a quality swim program that cares about the safety and well being of your precious children. Have someone else take her or participate with her (Dad/Aunt etc.) until you are ready to face water again. The swim class will give her tools to take a breath or swim to the side. Quality programs can be found at:
    Ruthie Zarren, founder of Little Fishes Swim School in St Louis, MO

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond and offer helpful advice. As I mentioned in the comment above I'm going to look into a swim class at a public pool with other moms, and I may ask my fiancee to come with just in case I become uncomfortable. Thanks for the link I will definitely check it out!