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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: I saw the light go out in her eyes

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I saw the light go out in her eyes

I saw the light go out in her eyes as she floated buoyant, but motionless under water. Her eyes staring out in front of her.

I wish this was the beginning to some fictional novel, but instead it's what happened today at swim lessons. This is on the heels of great success in swimming I just wrote about last week Good teachers change lives
If you know me, it's no secret I have an over active inhalation and freak out whenever I think my kids are getting hurt, but today this was no false alarm.

I'm shaking typing this. As a mom, sometimes you have to keep it together and find strength you didn't know you have to reassure your child even when you know you will fall apart.

I was sitting poolside about 20 feet away behind the red line so "lifeguards can do their job." Two life guards keep watch on the side, and as I've mentioned before, Ashlynn has had to be rescued twice.
Ashlynn is getting more comfortable in the water. She can stand in it, so she's been venturing out more with the other kids to do her head bobs and bubbles while the teacher does individual instruction.

I have to watch my little man too who is good but active wondering around a play structure they have there. I looked at the water and Ashlynn was underneath doing a head bob. I turned away to make sure Jace was in view. I looked back to the pool and Ashlynn was still under water. She was struggling silently and I saw her trying to reach the top of the water with her chin, but because she was freaking out she wasn't putting her feet down.

I ran over.

"Ashlynn!" I screamed.

Other parents stepped forward. The lifeguards were still talking.

I looked over at them while crouching poolside and screamed, "someone help my baby!!"

The lifeguards didn't move. I looked back at Ashlynn and, and, ugh.....I can't get this image out of my head.

She stopped struggling. She was in a sitting position under water staring into nothing. I jumped in and pulled her out. I patted her back and looked at her blue lips. It was probably only a few seconds, or maybe even one, but it seemed like an eternity and then she started coughing.   Then she cried and I have never been so relieved in my entire life.

I wanted to cry tears of anger, of relief, of joy, but she was so scared I had to dig deep. I didn't yell at the lifeguards (though the pool will be hearing from me), and I put on a smile and told her it was okay.  Even after this, the lifeguards casually looked over asking "what happened?"

Josh her instructor came over and was incredible. He put on his big smile and reassured her for close to five minutes. We both knew she had to get back in the pool, because if she didn't she might never go back in.  He and I coaxed her back.  I hear his voice and I don't know what he said but it was soothing to me so it must have been soothing to her.  He made her smile.

I happened to look back and it felt like a dream. Parents had their hands over their mouths. I see them in slow motion. They almost witnessed a tragedy.....and the tragedy was MY daughter. Another parent told me that's why she always sits on the side of the pool regardless of the red line. I hear her voice as muffled confusion. A grandmother told me she's had to save both of her grandkids last year. Her voice is just jumbled confusion.

All I can see is the light that left my daughter's eyes.

Ashlynn has had a Mormon blessing and a Catholic baptism, and I know she was saved today.

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