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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Day We Witnessed A Miracle... We Will Never Be The Same

{It took me a very long time to even start to write this post.  It was hard to start it and get through it.  It's not exactly perfect and is probably missing parts too.  It's long and detailed in some parts and short and vague in others.  I want to get this post out before the year ends so we can start 2012 with a clean slate.  Please bare with me the length of this post as I wanted to get it all out in order for my heart to heal.  Even as I write this little note up here, I cannot bring myself to re-read the body of this topic, it's just too hard.  Bless you if you read the entire thing and the follow up links.  I have had readers click on these links before and leave non-related comments which tears at my heart.}

I share this story because it may help at least one person or reach out to at least one person who needs to hear it.  I believe God allows us these events so we can help others....

June 2, 2011...

It was the first weekend of summer vacation.  My oldest daughter, Ashley invited us to her community pool by her home to spend the day together.  I usually decline because I don't like the cold water of the pool or the beach.  Ashley is the one who has taken them to the beach a few times.  Since we went to a pool party 3 months prior for my granddaughter's first birthday and we had fun, I agreed to doing a pool day.  My husband had to work so it was just me and the 3 little girls.

I packed our bags, drinks, snacks, pack-n-play for baby along with her toys to keep her busy.  When we got to the pool I immediately set up the pack-n-play for Hayden so she would have a safe space to play while everyone was swimming.  I sat beside her to keep her company.

It was a beautiful day.  I even took one of those pictures that Ashley and my other daughter, Saphire take when they go to the pool.  The one where you are lounging with your feet crossed with the view of the open pool straight ahead.

Ashley gathered up the kids to go into the pool

my nephew AJ (14y), my neice Za (9y) both are able to swim
my daughter Aleshanee (almost 6y), my daughter Dakota (3y), and my granddaughter Liyah (2y) they cannot swim

AJ and Za were in the pool having fun, swimming, and taking turns holding on and swimming around with the little ones who could not swim while they were sitting in their infant floaters.

I took Hayden in for a while and Ashley and I also took turns pushing the ones who could not swim around while they sat in their floaters.

Eventually I had to get out of the pool because I got really nauseous.  For years now, the chlorine from the pool and the movement of the water on the surface of the pool causes me to get really sick.  I told Ashley I had to get out cause I was feeling sick.  I took Hayden out.  All the kids were okay.  Dakota, Aleshanee, and Aaliyah were all standing on the steps of the pool while Ashley was standing in front of them at the bottom step, this is in the shallow area.

I walked away to the pavilion area where we were sitting, oh I don't know... 50-100 feet away?  I dried up Hayden, changed her clothes and put her into the pack-n-play.  She was sitting nicely playing with her toys and lying down quietly.  I kept watch of Ashley and the kids while I took pictures of Hayden.

Shortly after, Ashley asked what time it was and said we needed to start packing up in a few minutes to leave.  She and her husband needed to be somewhere that night.

In the meantime we found out that one of the kids did not bring extra clothes.  Ashley and I were asking them why and were going back and forth with them about it.  

Ashley told the kids we were leaving.
everyone got out of the pool
grabbed their towels
grabbed the floaters
walked over to me
put their stuff down and started drying off to go home

Ashley said "where's Dakota?"
I said "I don't know, what do you mean where's Dakota?"
Za said "I think she went to the bathroom"

Ashley immediately went straight to the pool because something inside told her to
I watched as she walked over there not thinking of anything really
as soon as Ashley got walked up to the pool
she yelled "OH MY GOD!!!" and jumped in
My heart stopped
I went over there as she pulled her out of the pool completely blue
her eyes were open but glassy
distant not connecting with us
she was not moving
she was not breathing
All I could do was stand there while Ashley had her in her arms
she kept telling her to wake up
"please koda wake up, wake up!!!!"
then she started to pray
fervently with everything she had she was crying out to God
I could not believe what I was seeing.
I felt numb
I felt the sudden urge come over me that she was dead and that she would never come back to us
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ASHLEY!!!! WHY DID YOU LEAVE HER ALONE??!!!!                             
that's all I could do, I just kept repeating myself
Ashley looked at me and yelled to CALL 911!!!  she kept repeating it to me
I ran to get my phone and no matter how many times I tried I could not get my phone to work.
I just stood there and stared at the phone not knowing what I was supposed to do
Across the way a lady yelled out to us asking if she was breathing and responding
I looked over at her and saw she was on the phone and had already called 911
I was in shock
I did not think to call 911
Prayer did not even cross my mind
I was numb
the only thing in my mind was that she was dead
"I lost my baby, she's gone, my baby is dead!!!!"
at that moment
after Ashley had started CPR on her
Dakota started coughing
water started to drain out
she was foaming at the mouth
still unresponsive
I grabbed her from Ashley
walked over to the pavilion
sat on the chair with Dakota
I just rocked her
telling her how sorry I was that this happened to her
I kept repeating to her that it was okay
the whole time I was still crying
she was not responding to me
her eyes were glassy like she wasn't there
she started vomiting a lot over and over again
all over me
I just kept holding her tight rocking her in my lap
the whole time this was going on from the minute she started coughing up water I tried to call my husband
no answer
no answer
no answer
no answer
over and over
the paramedics arrived sirens blaring
they had me put her down on the pavilion table and asked lots of questions which we could not answer
her oxygen level was not great but it was okay
because she was unattended when she drowned
they had to strap her to the long board and put on a neck brace because they have to assume she fell and may have hit her head just to be safe

my niece came up to me and told me she was taking Aleshanee over to the bushes near by to pray for Dakota, they were freaking out.  Ashley went over with them and was praying with them.

FINALLY my husband called me back
He said 'WHAT???!!!!"
I told him Ashley revived her, the paramedics were here and they are taking her to the hospital
because of the type of job he has, he cannot just leave.
he needs to be replaced which takes time
I told him what happened
he was angry

I finally called my mom
I told her the same thing "Dakota drowned"
I told her what happened and asked her to call everyone else

When she called my son he had just come home from work
she told him "Dakota drowned"
but did not tell him that she was stable and revived
he ran back into the car and drove as fast as he could to the hospital which is far from where he lives
he was crying and driving thinking she was dead

In the ambulance they couldn't get her vein for an IV
it took a long time, so much so that the guy had to do it standing up while the ambulance was rushing through traffic
Dakota was not responding
I just kept talking to her
holding and rubbing her face and hands
half way to the hospital she started nodding her head to answer me
I kept talking to her and telling her how great she was doing
she was still not connecting to us
I just kept talking
once we got to the hospital a swarm of emergency team swept her away
I stood outside the door numb
they asked me to come in and told me it was okay to stand up by her head
it was like on tv or the movies when they had to ask me if they could cut her swim suit off
I didn't care about it and told them of coarse, she won't be needing it because we're never going swimming again!
they checked her vitals
brought in a portable xray machine to check her lungs
the lab tech came in to draw her blood
she was just laying there with glassy eyes and not responding to anyone
I remember feeling so relieved that she was alive, awake, and in the hospital where they were taking great care of her
My son came first
he was so angry
when my mom called him, she told him "Dakota drowned"
he had just got home from work so he got right back in his car and had a hard time driving to the hospital
he thought she was dead
he was so relieved to see her awake when he arrived in the ER
My husband came shortly after
he was so angry
thoughts were swirling in his head about how this could happen
It was an accident, I kept telling him
It all happened so fast
Eventually test results starting coming back and we found out that
Dakota had really low PH levels due to her swallowing too much water and 
needed to be kept overnight for observation and for some IV medication to balance her levels out
There was concern for infection which, thankfully never happened
Several hours after arriving at the ER
Dakota finally started talking and interacting with us
not totally back to herself but the strangest thing happened.
She started talking and expressing herself like she has never done before
It was as if something unlocked in her brain when she was unconscious

She was all of a sudden such a smart little lady
talking in ways we have never heard before
Not only did I witness a miracle at the pool when she was revived,
I feel like at that moment when she opened up,
was another miracle.
Later that night family started showing up at  the hospital
When Ashley arrived with the little girls
Dakota would not look at her
It's like she knew something happened with Ashley
For days she would not talk to her and she would shut down and look down when we mentioned Ashley's name, or if we saw Ashley in person
The day Dakota was discharged from the hospital

My husband found this bracelet and had Dakota choose the color she wanted to give to Ashley.  Just so happens she picked the color blue, like water.  It was very weird when we thought about it later.

Dakota gave it to Ashley when they picked us up to go home but would not look at her
It wasn't till a few days later when my older kids came to visit Dakota that she finally opened up to all of them, especially Ashley.

To continue, please read more in these links below.
coming back to us
blessing in disguise

Today, Dakota is doing fine.

 She is still scared to go into the water and does still talk about this day.  She asks questions about different things, about God, about who was there, and tries to put pieces together... then she just drops it.  She knows and is constantly reminded that God has bigger things in store for her.  Although she was alone physically in the pool for that short time on that day... Ashley reminded us that God was with her the entire time.  Everything happens for a reason.  God and his angels are at work.  HE works for the GOOD in ALL things.  This has taught me not to take anything for granted.  Events like this force us to STOP... gather as a family in time of need and brings us together to be united.

I end this year knowing this was my greatest lesson and greatest blessing.
Xoxo, Salena s

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Ashley said...

Oh Salena, I can not even begin to imagine what that was like for you. I was crying reading this post because it is every mother's fear that the second we look away something will happen. I am so so glad that she was revived and seems to be adjusting.

Lena @ Mom2MemphisAndRuby said...

Oh Salena.... Your family survived & made it through a nightmare... I am so happy you have a happy ending! This post was hard to read... So scary, but thank you so much for sharing!!! Very powerful post!

Lil' Woman said...

Oh my goodness, my heart was breaking reading this. What a terrible event to go through. I am so glad everything turned out ok. God bless you and your family.

Lacee said...

What an emotional post Salena...I'm sitting here in tears. What a horrible experience for you and your family to have to go through. I'm so proud of you for having the courage to share it with us though. Not only is it good for you to release those feelings but its such a great reminder to all of us about how quickly things can happen. I am SO happy that your outcome was a good one and Dakota is well. She is such a little beauty! Love you Salena!! xoxo

Kim said...

How completely scary! I can't imagine what I would've done, I'm sure the shock just takes over. I'm so glad she is ok!!

Favreau ~ SSC said...

Dear Salena, Thank you for writing about Dakota's near~drowning incident. I never really knew all the little details of that day. No one can understand and know the overwhelming emotions one faces when something like this happens to your child ~ only someone who has gone through this can.
I did tell Kapono that she was revived, he may not have heard everything I told him that day. But when I am by Dakota I think about how blessed we are to have her here with us. God has given our family a blessing that we are all thankful for. :0) I love you, Salena, Mommy

Darcie Santoyo said...

oh my gosh, im crying with you. I can't imagine how hard it must be.. God knows..
Blessings =)

Karly said...

Oh wow. Wow wow wow. I am so glad this story has a happy ending, it was all I could do to keep from crying while thinking about my own little girls. God surely provided and is so good!

Karen said...

I have chills running up and down my body and tears streaming down my face. I can't imagine what you went through. A very similar situation happened with good friends/neighbors of ours and for over a year they refused to talk about the incident. The girl was in the hospital for a few weeks in a coma and when she woke they said she was sick but wouldn't say anymore. They have since talked about it and told her what happened(she had a full recovery thank God). I am so glad that you are all so open about it with Dakota and the trust is there with everybody. She is blessed and so are you!

Tracy Jensen said...


You have had a rough year girl....I'm amazed at your spirit and strength to share such a difficult story. Those stories are always the hardest but bind you to others. <3 Dakota is right...God was with her, is with her, and does have a plan for her and FOR YOU! ((hugs))

Samantha B said...

Bless your heart. I can't imagine how I would have reacted. I am glad your daughter is safe and fine. :)

Kate @ A Creative Cookie said...

I cried reading this. God was with Dakota, and he saved her. What a beautiful story. I can't imagine how difficult this has been for you.
Blessings <3

Kristine @ The Foley Fam {unedited} said...

Oh Salena!!! I read this with a huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. So terrifying friend. God has big things in store for her and ure fam!! Hugs and love to u friend!!

Kimberly Sminkey said...

No one could read this story without crying... how absolutely heart breaking for your family and little girl to endure. I wanted to stop by and say hello and get to know you as it seems we will both be co-heads of "Little Speak" for Speak Now. My family also endured some very horrible heartbreak after the birth of my daughter 16 years ago... She too left us 3 times and we strongly believe she was cradled in Jesus' arms thru those times. As she grew and became verbal she would ask questions about God, Jesus, and Heaven... telling me very assuredly one night in the bath tub that she "knew" Him {Jesus} and he was such a nice man. She would tell me how beautiful Heaven was {she was just about 4 or 5 and the language used was of someone much older}. Anyway, my daughter has a rare syndrome or two, and suffered some brain damage from the incidents so our lives were changed in many ways. I look forward to getting to know you better!

Feel free to stop by my blog, tiarasandbowties.blogspot.com

Rachel said...

Oh my goodness, so thankful all turned out as it did! What a miracle, and what a horrible horrible day for you as a mother :( I can't even imagine!!