Friday, July 01, 2005

Drowning

Gabriel fell in the pool on Tuesday and almost drowned. Well I guess technically he was drowned, but he didn't die from it.

I left him with my other three children (Jean-Alexandre is 11) and a friend of Jean-Alexandre's and went inside for 2 minutes. Noone noticed that he had fallen in the pool. I came out and saw right away that he wasn't there. The others thought he had gotten down from the deck and wandered off by himself. I didn't think so because he is too small to get down himself. Then Dominic saw him in the water. He was on the other end of the pool. It looked like a kid swimming, he was moving his arms and legs. I thought for a second "Why is there another kid swimming in the pool?" I thought maybe some neighbour kid had joined them, but then it hit home. That is when I jumped up to the deck and into the pool. (the previous owners of the house did not follow the norms of security and had fixed stairs leading up to the deck which we removed because anyone could get up there at anytime, there was nothing to stop them, so I had to jump up.) By the time I got to him, Gabriel was no longer moving. When I lifted him up, he was not breathing either. I got him out. I don't even remember how I got up the ladder with him in my arms or off the deck. I was kind of in a trance, patting him on the back hoping I wouldn't have to do artificial respiration because that would mean things were really bad. As soon as I got onto the deck I noticed the neighbour on her deck and yelled at her to called 911. She just happened to have the phone in her hand and called right away. I was walking towards her, still hoping not to have to do ressuciation, when she yelled at me to do mouth-to-mouth and I knew I had to. I dropped to the ground and started doing that right away. In the movies it always takes a long time for the victim to come around, but I only breathed into Gabriel 4 times before he started breathing again. I knew then he was going to be okay. He regained consciousness not long after. He was breathing and conscious when the police arrived. The ambulance arrived not long after.

He is fine now, he spent just over 24 hours at the hospital and did go into convulsions while there, but he is running around the house now, like nothing happened. While I still have images in my head of my baby suffocating. I can't imagine how horrible that must have been, but he isn't even scared of the water.

We have learned our lesson and are no longer taking any chances.

Marc said I shouldn't blame myself, (but I still know it was fault, although I don't beat myself up over it, thank God he didn't die, I would not be able to forgive myself if he had.) If it had been him, he said, Gabriel would probably be dead. That was supposed to comfort me I guess but all it did was scare me, because it might be true, I am a little more vigilant than he, and he could easily have stayed away longer, although I don't think he would have left him up there. What kept me from sleeping that first night was not so much guilt as the idea that I could have been distracted by something and stayed away even longer, that my baby could be dead now. That, and the image of him struggling to get out of the water and not being able to, being so scared and alone, and the picture I still have in my brain of my baby in my arms, turning blue and so still, as if lifeless.

His guardian angel was certainly with him Tuesday, and I am infinitely grateful for it.