Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Izzy's Story

Izzy was 21 months old. It was May 16, 2004, a Sunday evening. We had been to church (morning and evening) stopped at the store for a few things, came home to read the Sunday paper and watch Extreme Home Makeover... My son Bailey who was 10 at the time was going outside (the side deck which is away from the pool) to lift weights for fun. Izzy was his constant shadow and he called to tell me Izzy was with him... to which I replied, "okay, but watch her!" I have to pause here to say that Isabelle was terrified of the pool. She even hated taking baths. I had just put her in the pool with Matt a few days before this and she screamed so I took her out immediately. I guess my point is she was afraid of the water and I felt like she would never get into it alone. I was wrong. Isabelle wondered away in a blink and got into the pool. I have replayed this a million times in my mind, the what if's ... what if I had said, "no, she needs to stay in the house." what if I would have glanced outside and noticed she was headed in the direction of the pool... etc. What did happen was I had a weird thought, "isabelle... pool" came into my mind which was odd for the reasons I stated. Amanda was walking by and I asked her to make sure Izzy was still with Bailey (just to be sure), she came right back and said, "Bailey is still on the deck." What about Isabelle? She went back out and before I could get there I heard screaming. Bailey pulled Izzy out of the pool and held her upside down. Matt came second and started giving her breaths. What seemed like hours was only a few seconds and the image I saw was a lifeless blue baby. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life and I prayed for a year for God to take that image out of my mind. I still get shaky thinking about it. I called 911, and took over cpr while Matt talked to the person on the phone until the ambulance arrived. I did cpr until a emt took her from my arms. After that I laid on the ground begging God to spare my baby. They worked on her for about 20 minutes in the ambulance. I wasn't allowed near. I sat with the kids and we prayed for her ... We were finally told they were heading to the ER. When we followed, we didn't know walking in whether or not she was alive. We went into the family room and were told they had gotten a pulse but were still working on her. Before five minutes passed there were so many people there we had filled the family room and the hall of the er. They then took her to the Children's Hospital by medivac. We followed again and were told that Izzy would probably not survive the night. The rest of the story would take a week to write, but she is alive... it will be three years in May! She is healthy and making progress and we have learned so much about our faith and about God. We believe that she will be completely restored.

A while after her accident I joined an online support group for parent's of near drownings. I have come to learn that this happens far too often especially to children around 2 years old. I feel compelled to plead you to treat any open water as if it were a loaded gun. It is so dangerous for toddlers because they don't have the rational to know the danger involved and it happens so quickly. I have read parents stories of babysitters, grandparents, birthday parties, koi ponds, retention ponds, it happens everywhere in every way! You cannot be too careful.

Here are a few statistics...

  • In 2000, there were 3,482 unintentional drownings inthe United States, an average of nine people per day.(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • It is estimated that for each drowning death, there are 1 to 4 nonfatal submersions serious enough to result in hospitalization. Children who still require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the time they arrive at the emergency department have a poor prognosis, with at least half of survivors suffering significant neurologic impairment. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

  • Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15. (U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • 19% of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with
    certified lifeguards present.(Drowning Prevention Foundation)

  • A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved
    in the death of a child age 4 and under. (Orange County California Fire

  • Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates. (U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to
    unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. (National Safety Council)Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less. (Orange County, CA, Fire Authority)

  • The majority of children who survive (92 percent) are discovered within two minutes following submersion,and most children who die (86 percent) are found after10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe braininjury. (National Safe Kids Campaign)

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Our Peculiar Life said...

I am so sorry for Izzy's accident and I join you in believing she will be completely restored. Your love for God just jumps off your posts and I want to reach out and hug you! Izzy is an amazing young girl and I can't wait to hear more about her miracles.

Anonymous said...

I know this story well, it just happened to me today. The child was not mine but my neighbors 2 year old daughter. We were lucky enough to be informed almost immediately after it happened by the 2 year olds 4 year old sister! I am praying her recovery and I'm happy to see Izzy is doing well. God Bless <3

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. My son was 1 yr 11 months and he fell into a soft-sided small child's pool. I pulled my own baby out of the water and held him lifeless in my arms and screamed and begged god to bring back my baby. I begged god to take me insead of my little boy. It's a nightmare that I can't wake up from and an image I wish I could erase forever. God bless you and your family! With faith in God nothing is impossible.
Alicia, Isaac's mom 5/31/07 date of accident.

Demara said...

Ya I am terrified of water, always have been, I hate swimming!
I almost drowned when I was, this is embarrassing, 19 years old in the middle of a lake...seaweed wrapping around my legs and friends near by encouraging me to swim...I was tired...but with God's strength I made it close enough to one friend that she was able to pull me up and out of the water, that's the last thing I remember.
I hate water!
I'm glad God gave you Izzy back to take care of on this Earth!!!
Praise be to God, our Heavenly Father!!!

Shannon **Gabi's Mom** said...

Oh Annie! I am in tears here! How terrifying that must have been for you and your family. I see Izzy is doing so well now. How is your son? I wonder if he feels guilt over this like you do? I guess it is so hard not to feel guilt even though accidents are just that...accidents! When I worked PICU, I seen some very similar things! The important things are is that she is doing better and better and that you know that God is always in control. We don't always have answers to why He allows certain things to happen in our lives, but knowing that He is in control is a comfort to me. He sees the bigger picture. I am sure God has blessed you in so many ways through Izzy and your circumstances. Your faith is very strong. God Bless!

Dovey said...

Annie, I will be praying for you and your family through this. Our youngest (16 mos. old) choked on a banana just before he turned 1. We were able (only by God's grace) to get him to swallow it as it would not come out. He is still eating completely pureed food. He's scared and so am I. I cannot imagine the thoughts that you have from time to time as this replays in your mind. I will pray that God will help you to bring every thought captive to Him. You are a testimony to God's grace. Continue encouraging others!

itien said...

Thanks for showing me your strong faith in God and the wonders God has done for you. God Bless always and Dear God, I love you (:

Jennifer's Blog said...

I will pray for your family. I'm so sorry for Izzy's accident. The idea of that happening has worried me since I've had little ones. I have to talk about the swim program I just put my 17month old through. It is through Infant Swim Resource. It is water survival and a WONDERFUL program!!! Well worth the money. I have faith Izzy will be completely restored.

The Hong Kong Sweeneys said...

found your site via a search of all things- pork chop recipes!
Thank you for sharing your story- in two hours I will be heading out to the community pool with my 4 and 5 year old. Those statistics about drowning are a wake up call. Being from the Great Lake State I am well aware of how many little ones slip past their parents into dangerous waters. I will keep my eyes open a little more today than usual as we venture out.
God is a healer and a restorer he can do that for your precious Izzy-
you are saving lives with your willingness to share.
Blessings to you.