Thursday, September 01, 2011

We Almost Lost Her - Part 2


(Read Part 1 here)

What Happened?

My husband is a phenomenal father.  He loves his children and takes an active roll in everything we do with them.  He's also a phenomenal husband.  He takes very good care of me...and this includes giving me breaks as I need them.  One of those ways is taking the kids to the pool.  It's fun for them, and gives mom a break.

He takes the kids swimming every other night after dinner as the norm.  I stay home and enjoy some peace and quiet.  I usually keep the baby home with me, but she had gone once before and really enjoyed the water, so Greg took her again.  Cheyenne had decided to stay home.  I was a little nervous about Greg having so many little ones with baby Amelia going, but Celeste, our 16 year old, was going too...and she helps to keep an eye on everyone. 

I tend to be one of those nervous moms.  And with nine children, I worry about keeping them all safe.  Every time Greg takes them to the pool, I say the same thing to him... "Do a headcount before backing up, and keep an eye on all of our babies."  He usually just smiles, understanding that it just makes me feel better to say this even though I know he will do those things.  Then, I pray.  Every. Single. Time.  I pray for the children's safety, knowing full well that accidents happen everyday.  I also pray for any other children who may be swimming that day too!  It just breaks my heart when I hear of parents losing a child.

While at the pool Tuesday night, Greg had the little ones in the shallow end near the steps like usual.  He was in the pool with them and had the baby in his arms.  He watched them all play.  The older kids were in the pool farther down having fun.  Genevieve (3) and Jonathan (2) kept playing with a hose that led into the pool right at the steps.  Greg had to get after them a couple of times because they wouldn't leave it alone.

Again, Jonathan went back to the hose, so Greg turned around to get Jonathan away from it.  Genevieve had still been on the steps in the pool.  By the time Greg turned around...Genevieve was gone.  Thinking she had gotten out and run off to another area of the pool, he scanned the premises trying to spot her.  When he couldn't find her, he looked down into the pool.  But, between the ripples from the kids splashing and the glare of the sun reflecting on the water, he couldn't see anything.  Suddenly, he caught a faint shadow of pink at the bottom. 

He walked a few steps toward her and reached down to pull her up, with baby Amelia still in his other arm.  To him, it didn't seem that long from the time he saw her on the steps to when he turned around looking for her, so he thought he would pull her up and she would just cough up some water and cry.

When he lifted her up, she was blue and lifeless.  She was not breathing.  Greg thrust her up to the side of the pool and quickly got out.  He set the baby down and yelled for the other kids, who at this point were oblivious to what had happened, to get out of the pool.  He told Celeste to call 911 and began rescue breathing.  Turns out, our cell was dead and the pool phone was not working.  No one else was around to make the call.

Celeste hurried back, picked up babyAmelia, and gathered the other children.  Providentially, a young woman walked into the pool area, saw what was happening and dialed 911.  The kids stood in utter shock watching Daddy resuscitate their sister.   

Greg had done about four rounds of rescue breathing and back blows before he saw signs of life.  He gave a final breath and she began coughing and vomiting water.  The young woman stayed on the phone with 911 relaying information. 

Once Genevieve came to, a gentleman from across the street ran over to assist Greg.  The man is an MTI at Lackland and was also a paramedic.  The man continued to help Genevieve expel water while Greg made the dreaded phone call home.

The ambulance was the first on the scene and the paramedics quickly took over.  Then the fire trucks and police vehicles arrived.  By this time, people had gathered outside their homes, and several had run over to assist.   Genevieve was loaded into the ambulance ready to be transported. 

Cheyenne, who had chosen to run over to the pool, beat me there.  She helped gather the kids into the Suburban while Celeste was busy talking with police officers.  My daughter said a sweet woman had come over to the car to offer comforting words to the children.  How precious that woman was to do that. 

At this point, Greg was about to head to the hospital in the ambulance until I flagged it down.  Greg jumped out of the ambulance and went back to the kids to help the older girls get them home.  Once he got them home, he got himself and the baby out of their wet clothes, and headed for the hospital.

Prayer

God answered my prayer that day.  I prayed for protection over my children, and He watched over and protected all of them, including Genevieve.  For those of you who don't know my husband, he is a fire fighter.  He's actually an inspector now, but was on the truck for 16 years.  He was trained to save lives.  And by God's amazing grace, he saved his own daughter's life.  I marvel at the possibility that Greg's whole career, and all of his training was meant for this very day!  We will never know, but what an incredible thought. 

Please pray for my husband.  He does not see himself as the hero who saved his daughter.  He sees himself as the dad who didn't prevent this from happening.  As a Christian, Greg believes and trusts in the sovereignty of God, and understands that this was no surprise to God.  But, as a father, and a human being, he's left with the guilt of it happening on his watch.  He's the one haunted by the image of his baby girl's lifeless body stuck in his head.  It will just take time for him to recover from this.  So please pray for healing and peace.  Pray also for my children, who were traumatized as well. 

God has used His people to minister to our hearts and meet basic needs.  We had hundreds of people praying for Genevieve.  Friends helped by coming to the hospital to offer support.  Friends came to our home with food and snacks for the kids.  And friends drove back and forth to the hospital bringing us food and things we needed from home.  There were also phone calls, emails, prayers, love, and the kind of support that demonstrate the hands and feet of Jesus! 

Our little Genevieve has made a full recovery.  She remembers some of what happened.  When I asked her how she got under the water, she said, "I sinked!"

We got home from the hospital last night.  She was so excited to see everyone and all the kids were very anxious to see her!  They had been so worried, that none of them could sleep the night before.  When it was time for bed last night, they all wanted to be near her.  So, Greg laid blankets on the girls' room floor and let them all sleep together.  It was a sweet time for our family.

We're a bit more rested today, but still exhausted overall.  For now, we're just clinging close to our family...and to our Heavenly Father, the author and perfector of our faith!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 
James 1:2-4

20 comments:

  1. I am tearfully praising our Lord as I read these posts. Praise God for saving Genevieve!!! From the woman who "happended" to come by with a phone to Greg being so perfectly equipped to handle emergency situations, God had His hand in all of this. He was there taking care of all of you! We are still praying for everyone's FULL healing both physically and emotionally. We love you!!!

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  2. So blessed to see how the Lord has protected and provided for His own! He is indeed gracious and good! And it IS a chilling thought, that Greg's years of training and career may have been for just such a time as this. Praying for you all as you continue to heal....

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  3. Candace, I don't know if u remember me from village parkway church. I am stephanie Knoblauch. This is truly Gods work. I was crying when reading it. I'm so glad u have a great husband that new what to do in this situation. God is great and he watches over all of us and on this day he was watching your little one. Praise God for the older kids that they could help out with the little ones. U are blessed with a great family.

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  4. What a gift you have to describe things in full detail and make us feel your every emotion. Genevieve will cherish this story one day when she is old enough to read it! Aaron, my third one, "stinked" once at the pool and was pulled out by the lifegaurd. He said, "you never told me I would drown if I went off the diving board". He was 4! Thanking God for our gifts from Him!!!!

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  5. Stephanie,

    Of course I remember you! I hope you all are doing well. Thank you for reading our story...and thank you for your kind words.

    Jennifer,

    I cracked up over what Aaron said. When I was in 2nd grade, I too, had to be saved by a lifeguard after jumping off the diving board. lol

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  6. Anonymous11:02 PM

    Candace, I'm praying for Greg and your family.
    Thank You Jesus for saving Genevieve life!!
    God does put situations in our life and
    I believe there is a reason for everything
    That happens in Life. Through lifes experiences
    And tribulations it makes us become more
    Close to our Father above and our FAITH
    In Christ becomes more stronger. I Love You
    All and will continue to pray for Greg and You and
    The Family. May God continue to Bless Your
    Family. Love Always 8>. Jennifer Allen :)

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  7. Anonymous11:07 PM

    Candace, I'm praying for Greg and your family.
    Thank You Jesus for saving Genevieve life!!
    God does put situations in our life and
    I believe there is a reason for everything
    That happens in Life. Through lifes experiences
    And tribulations it makes us become more
    Close to our Father above and our FAITH
    In Christ becomes more stronger. I Love You
    All and will continue to pray for Greg and You and
    The Family. May God continue to Bless Your
    Family. Love Always 8>. Jennifer Allen :)

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  8. Anonymous1:31 AM

    Greg and Candace,
    So precious are our children which are gifts from God. So proud of Greg and you as well Candace for your amazing strength in a time like this. Greg's training definitely came full circle. Praying for healing in Greg's heart and mind that he may come to terms with his emotions and his perception of the events surrounding Genevieve's accident. Give your two beautiful oldest daughters hugs from me and tell them how exceptionally proud of them, Ms. Lesley is........Prayers, Hugs and Smiles for you all!!! ((SMILES))Lesley C. Anderson

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  9. It can happen so fast. My 3 oldest are on the swim team and I often have 2-3 of my younger ones in tow when I pick up the older kids. We usually have to sit and watch for a while until the kids are finished. My younger kids would sometimes get a drink from the water fountain in the hall. Once my 2 yr old didn't come back with them. I asked where she was and her brother didn't know, she wandered off he said. It only took me about 2 minutes to find her racing around the club. I almost didn't go into the women's locker room b/c the door was so heavy I thought she couldn't have opened it. I did, though, praise God. She was at the very back and I saw her clothes in a pile on the floor before I saw her. She was just getting into the hot tub. There was no one else in the locker room. She said a lady let her in. Now when we thank God, she always remembers to thank Him for saving her from the hot tub. God is good. We've had several close calls in our family of 8. Once we were in a small airplane going between Maui and Oahu and the cargo door blew open mid flight and we just about lost one. God has been so gracious with us and I love, love, love Psalm 91 where it talks about God giving His angels charge concerning us to guard us in all of our ways. I know the ones in charge of our family are extra busy. God is good. Rejoicing with you and the life of your precious girl.

    Celee

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  10. I have been in your husband's shoes. When my daughter was three, I found her at the bottom of the pool as well...on my watch. It was devastating. Praise God that He gave her back to us, just as your sweet lamb was returned to you.

    Tell your husband that the picture he sees when he closes his eyes does eventually stop visiting so many times a day. He will, at some point, begin to go days without seeing it...and then weeks...and then months.

    My daughter is now 8 and is healthy in every way. But I still shudder at the thought of what she went through. Praise God for His grace which is sufficient for us all!

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  11. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Candace my friend...how I love you and your precious family and just having sat in your living room so recently and admired all of your "beauties"...I especially remember when Genevieve came into the room and was struck with her beauty as well. God is so good. Yes, and I cried and cried as I read your story...knowing the end would be alright, but still bawling out loud as I shared your anguish over your baby. Oh, God is soooo good. Thank You Abba Father that absolutely nothing..."no thing" passes out of Your sight. Teach us to number our days,Lord. Your lovingkindness is everlasting. I will be praying for Greg and all of you...each one of you. I'll say it again...God is so good. Thank you for sharing this with me. Can't tell you how often you have been on my mind since our visit. I dearly love you and your blessed family. Tell Greg that God saw him as worthy to the task that day and rest in knowing that he did not fail at all. Purpose + Plan = God's Provision of Grace to endure.
    Love, Louise Mathews

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  12. Wow Candace, praising God with you and your family for little Genevieve! I was relating to so much of your story. Except for me, as the mother, my 8 year old came near death, on my watch. Two months previous to the incident I had given birth to our fifth son. I felt well enough and energetic enough to take my boys to a local park. We were going to visit a small waterfall that we had visited numerous times before. This was one of my first outings with all five boys, and one of my first with two babies. I've never had two as close together as my youngest two are (21 months apart). I didn't yet know the dangers that lurked when your a mom spread so thin. Long story short-the water fall is down a short ravine... the boys and I had gone several times before and climbed down just to see the small (15 foot) waterfall and explore the creek bed. This time I stayed at the top with the two babies, the 8 week old on my chest in a carrier, and the two year old sitting on a bench (couldn't bring a stroller on the mulch trail). I noticed all of a sudden through the trees that my oldest son (12) had run up along side the top of the falls. I didn't realize it was accessible. Then I noticed my 8 year old had followed. I told them both to come back down. They turned around to come and my 8 year old, Micah, slipped and slid off the top of the falls. I turned and looked and there he was, lifeless, not moving, eyes closed at the bottom.

    It was the most horrendous moment of my life. I can hardly bare to recount it. I couldn't even go down there because I couldn't carry the two babies down the ravine safely. Praise God someone heard me screaming and came. Within a few minutes Micah began to cry and it was the most precious sound I'd ever heard. God sent help, I praise him for those fire fighters! And they found just a laceration at the side of his head. That was all, but he was life flighted to the hospital because of traffic issues and he kept asking, "Am I here?"

    So here is the most amazing part of the story-there was a tree that had fallen some time ago, right in the middle of the falls, so Micah fell about half of the distance, hit the tree, and then fell the rest of the way. So the tree broke his fall and he didn't hit the ground with the impact he would've without that tree. That tree may very well have saved his life. Bottom line-God saved him. In my niaviety, my lack of wisdom to take all my boys there, my lack of realizing my limitations with 5 children and two babies, God provided in his providence some time ago, for that incident. He knew Micah would fall and he felled that tree on purpose for Micah.

    I know we are strangers, but I just felt led to share that story with you. We can praise God together for his protection and provision for our children.

    I posted about the incident on my blog:

    http://oldfashiongirl.blogspot.com/2011/05/unexpected-journey.html

    Blessings,

    Abby

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  13. Wow Abby! Thank you for sharing that! Praising God with you that Michah was spared and okay! Going to your blog now to read about it.

    Blessings,
    Candace

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  14. Oh, Candace, how frightening... for all of you! Praising God that she is okay. Reminds us that EVERY moment is precious!
    ~k

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  15. N. Ibarra2:41 PM

    I know that Genevieve chose your special husband to be her daddy because she would need him one day, that day. Tell him he IS a hero for listening to the promptings of the spirit and making it possible for her to fulfill her calling on this earth. Thank you for sharing.

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