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Thursday, May 13, 2010

{Drowning Prevention} Awareness.

I originally came up with the business name, "Adam's Blankie" because my son, Adam, absolutely needed his "blankie" to be able to relax and go to sleep each night.

It turns out, the name I had selected then holds much more meaning today than we ever imagined, and its aim does not end with his love of blankies. In 2008, {exactly 2 years ago today}, we nearly lost our son in a drowning incident. It was by God's grace and "healing blanket" that enveloped our son, that he was saved!

That day started out just as normal as any other...I was heading to work {at this time, I worked 3 days a week} and taking my son to my Mom's house for the workday.  But what would entail was truly my worst nightmare come true....

{as posted on our blog, "Adam's Miracle}...

"For the thousands of people around the world that prayed for our son Adam during this tragic, yet wonderful journey, there are not enough words to express our sincere thanks for what you have done. We ABSOLUTELY felt covered by prayer during the most difficult times, and God was able to provide peace and strength beyond anything we could muster ourselves. Many people may feel that the God of the Bible worked so many miracles "back in those days", but I can assure you that He works those same miracles today...we just have to open our eyes (and our hearts) to see them. Here is our story of Adam's miracle.

On Tuesday, May 13th at about 12:25 in the afternoon, Kari was at work. Her boss, Chad, asked her if she was going to lunch. Kari usually leaves the office at 12:30, but since Chad prompted her, she decided to leave a few minutes early that day. Little did we know that God was at work even then. Kari went to her mom's house to see Adam, who always gets dropped off there on the days that she works. Her mom's house is only about three to four minutes from Kari's office.

At 12:32, Kari opened the front door of her mom's house and walked directly towards the living room, hoping to find Adam playing with his toys. She immediately noticed that the sliding patio door leading into the back yard was open. She rushed out through the door and was confronted with the horrific sight of our little son floating face-down in the pool. Our worst fears had come true and, ironically, Kari and I discussed the potential for this to happen the night before. With the weather warming up, we knew that spending time in the pool would become a weekly activity...and a source of great temptation for Adam when left to his own devices.

At 12:32 and 44 seconds, Kari heroically sprang into action. The time is forever stamped on the watch that she was wearing as she dove into the pool and fetched Adam from the water. He was not breathing and was a pale blue color. Kari immediately began screaming for her mother and started giving Adam CPR. Her mother called 911 while Kari continued to work on little Adam. She was able to get one deep gasp out of Adam after about a minute. The paramedics arrived in the blink of an eye...we think that they may have been at the McDonald's directly behind the house. They whisked Adam away and reported to us that he vomited water a couple times on the way to the ER.

I received the horrible news via a phone call from Kari while I was at work. All she said was, "Adam fell in the pool! Hurry!" I truly believed at that moment that my son was dead. I looked at his Halloween picture that was sitting on my desk and completely crumbled. I didn't know that he had taken a breath, and I didn't know that my wife had mustered the strength of a true hero and did what it took to give Adam a second chance at life.

I hardly recognized Kari when I arrived at the ER. She was trembling and so shaken that I couldn't believe that this person standing in front of me was the same person that I kissed goodnight the day before. She turned to me and said, "Tell me he's going to be okay." Honestly, I couldn't promise a thing. The doctors told me that Adam began taking a turn for the worse upon arriving at the hospital. His lungs were full of water and his breathing was not stable. They were forced to place him on life support in order to control his body for the time being. Adam was quickly air-lifted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at a different hospital. A Captain from the fire department drove us to the hospital since there was not enough room in the helicopter. On the ride over, Kari continuously prayed out loud for Adam to be okay. She saw that the firefighter was wearing a bracelet that said, "Faith" and I noticed a small laminated card on the floor of the truck that said, "The Family Prayer." I read the prayer to myself and began to realize that God had a hold of this moment.

I cannot explain how horrible it is to watch your tiny little son swarmed by doctors and nurses and placed on countless machines...with tubes coming out of his mouth and nose, IV lines in his arms and throat and the nerve-racking beeping of all of the monitors and alarms. There is no way to describe it, so I won't even try.

Once Adam was hooked up to all of the machines, ventilators and such, we began to see the storm of support that was brewing in our midst. So many people offered their prayers...from family and friends to folks we've never met. People from all over the world were lifting up Adam in prayer, and I can tell you that we felt it. Within the first few hours of this incident, I was able to look Kari's mom in the eye at tell her that we forgave her. I will never forget the power of that moment, and I can guarantee you that I was not strong enough to do that on my own. To overlook the anger and frustration that we had and provide her mom with that moment of peace was absolutely indescribable. As I sat there with her, not knowing what was ahead, I told her that Adam would fight through this. I suddenly felt a great deal of peace at that moment. I went back into Adam's room and told Kari that everything was going to be okay...and I believed it because I knew God was in control.

As the night wore on, Kari and I saw Adam fight his way out of the sedation multiple times. The nurses were baffled and continued to increase the dosage of his sedatives. He was supposed to be on the ventilator for at least 24 hours, but at 3:00 in the morning on Wednesday, May 14th, Adam put up a terrific fight and beat all of the sedatives that the nurses could pump into his body. They called the doctor in and she ordered them to remove Adam from life support. After only 14 hours on life support, our little son fought his way off of the machines and took his own breaths. His heart and lungs worked as if nothing had happened. We knew that there was still water in his lungs, but he didn't care. These first few breaths were a testimony to God's strength (which He unleashed in Adam). Kari was finally able to hold and comfort Adam, and God gave him peaceful rest for the next few hours.

Within five hours of going off life support, and while still in Kari's arms, Adam opened his eyes and showed us that God could perform more than miracles of physical healing. Adam immediately pointed to a water bottle sitting on the bed and brought it to his lips when we placed it in his hands. Kari and I recognized this as a behavior that we had seen before, and we were so happy to see a glimpse of our son coming back to us. Over the next few hours, Adam began to make noises, recognize faces and suck on his favorite pacifier. We were blown away at his speedy progress and recognized God's mercy in the way that Adam looked at Kari's mom and said, "Nana" when he first saw her. He certainly understood forgiveness. We knew that we were a long way from a full recovery, but we were so happy to have just 10% of our son back.

After weening his body off of the medications, we were able to talk one of the nurses into unhooking him from his monitors. We knew that the true test of Adam's neural abilities would only come when he tried to walk. We placed Adam on the floor and he immediately took off! He walked out of the room and into the main hallway where the nurse's station was located. Upon seeing him, the nurses broke out in applause and cheered him on. I remember telling people that if he walked, I would be totally overwhelmed. I didn't think that I had any tears left, but God had saved a few for that moment.

Adam walked right out of the ICU doors and down the main hall of the hospital. It was like a scene out of a movie, especially when the doctor chased us down in the hallway and said, "Get him ready because he's going home." We hadn't even received word on the X-rays that they took of his lungs that morning! I guess none of that matters when God shows up in a way that no one can ignore.

There were so many miracles along the way. This story doesn't do them justice and there's not enough room to tell the entire tale. We know that Adam has touched so many people around the world, and we are committed to bringing his story to people that need hope and faith. While this blog can't accurately communicate the power of God, I can assure you that His power is REAL and available for anyone who believes in Him.

We did not believe that we were strong enough to handle this incident, but a good friend of ours told us that God never gives you more than He knows you can handle. We recognize that He gave us so much when He gave us our son back, but we were very aware that if His answer was no, we would have to seek His purpose in that as well. We have been given much...and we know that He expects much from us. We truly hope that Adam's story will help others to see just the surface of how God works through every situation...even your worst nightmare.

Words cannot express our gratitude to those who stood by us throughout this."

Reading that still brings tears to my eyes.  God is sooo good!

That being said, it was evident in so many ways that God's hand was working through this incident all the way:
*Adam wearing his one and only shirt with a helicopter on it {as he would later be taken via helicopter to the hospital}...it was as if this day was meant to be - the day that would ignite the beginning of Adam's testimony to bring God glory later!
*The fact that my boss prompted me to leave work 5 minutes early....  With drownings, mere seconds count in preventing brain damage and death!
*My deliverance of CPR {of which I had never been certified!} working to revive my son, despite the fact that my husband had never seen CPR actually work to resuscitate someone in his 5 years experience as a police officer!
*My mom actually being able to find the phone to call 911 so quickly in the first place {searching for a phone over there is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack!}.
*Me seeing the breast cancer awareness bracelet on the man who drove us from the ER to the hospital {while our son was being taken by helicopter} the first thing I noticed was the word "faith" on it - knowing then, that God would provide if I just had faith in Him!
*My son seeing my Mom for the first time since his accident and reaching out to her, calling her "Nana," as if saying, "I forgive you."  This was one of the first signs our son gave us when he first began showing us that Adam was "back."

So.  Just what can you do to prevent this from happening to your own children?

(And, no, this is not my son...).

One organization that helps answer this question is the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona (DPCA) (to which my company, Adam's Blankie, very proudly and happily donates 5% of all its profits).  Their website provides an excellent resource of any statistics you may be curious about...regarding everything from who's at risk (did you know boys are about twice as likely to suffer a drowning experience than girls?) to times of days drownings more frequently occur to how the outcomes pan out for such drowning victims.  The DPCA site also provides a plethora of excellent information on how to prevent drowning, along with resources for where to sign up for the Infant Survival Class (ISR) or swimming lessons, for example. 

Back to my original question regarding what you can do to keep you children safe!  According to DPCA, the "ABCs" are what you should be doing to help instill water safety, thereby, helping to prevent child drownings:

A=Adult supervision.  

This is a no-brainer, of course, but this is, afterall, how drownings occur, so we shouldn't overlook it.  We must always be watching our kids around water, but especially keep in mind incidences when you might be particulary distracted....  For instance, if you're at a big gathering, make sure someone is "assigned" to be watching the kids (For example, if you and your husband are there; don't let each parent assume the other is watching the kids.  Make sure it's been discussed beforehand).

To go along with that, please know children can drown in just inches of water!  So make sure supervision is CONSTANT around all bodies of water - from fountains and buckets of water to lakes, pools and likewise!


Don't only rely on adult supervision.  Make sure there are gates around pools, and that they properly latch shut.  Make sure all doors leading to the pool/body of water are locked and inaccessible to your children.  Furthermore, make sure any chairs or other things a child could climb on are removed away from the body of water.


Make sure your child gets swimming lessons, and possibly even look into the Infant Survival Resource (ISR) class.  Also, make a point to get yourself and your husband CPR-certified.  It just might make a difference in the life of your child....

And some quick facts about drowning:
*It's known as the "silent death," as there is usually no cry for help and very little sounds from the splash.
*Most drownings occur between noon and dinnertime.
*Most children victims of drownings are wearing their street clothes when the incident occurs.
*Most drownings occur in the family pool.
*Drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1-4 in Arizona.

How Else You Can Help -- TODAY!!

As I mentioned before, Adam's Blankie gladly donates 5% of all its profits to the DPCA!  I have also set up an annual "charity driver event" to raise $1000 by May 15th {the day my son was released from the hospital from his drowning accident} of every year - STRICTLY in donations!  If you want to help, please click here to donate {OR click the "Chip In" logo in the right-hand column of this blog to help "chip in!"}.  Each person who donates will be entered into a drawing to win a free couture Sushi Bib & Burp Set, courtesy of Adam's Blankie

Furthermore, from May 13th - May 15th (the anniversary of my son's accident & recovery!), Adam's Blankie will be donating 10% (versus the normal 5%) of its sale profits to the DPCA!  So if you would rather help out by purchasing some adorable baby couture, please stop by Adam's Blankie!

Have a product you'd like reviewed?
Contact me at adamsblankie@gmail.com 



simplymerry said...

wow. thanks for sharing that! what a testimony of God's mercy. :)