Izzy’s story ~

As you probably know if you read my blog, I started blogging after the near drowning accident of my youngest daughter Isabelle (Izzy). I started her blog after I had been emailing updates to friends and family and the email address list was getting so big I had to do several separate mailings to get it all out. That along with the fact that people’s addresses changed and would ask about updates. It was just easier to have a central place where I could write about her progress. The emails those first few months were priceless and I was so happy to have a way to correspond with people who love and care for our family. We were out of state for a couple of months in a rehab facility with Izzy. Later I started this blog because I enjoy the memes and general blogging that I don’t feel is appropriate for Izzy’s blog…

I have had several people email privately asking for the details of Izzy’s near drowning accident and have sent them the information. But, in an attempt to help people understand the potential for drownings, I am going to sum up her accident here…

Izzy was 21 months old. It was May ’04, a Sunday evening. We had been to church (morning and evening) stopped at the store for a few things, came home to read the Sunday paper and watch Extreme Home Makeover… My son Bailey who was 10 at the time was going outside (the side deck which is away from the pool) to lift weights for fun. Izzy was his constant shadow and he called to tell me Izzy was with him… to which I replied, “okay, but watch her!” I have to pause here to say that Isabelle was terrified of the pool. She even hated taking baths. I had just put her in the pool with Matt a few days before this and she screamed so I took her out immediately. I guess my point is she was afraid of the water and I felt like she would never get into it alone. I was wrong. Isabelle wondered away in a blink and got into the pool. I have replayed this a million times in my mind, the what if’s … what if I had said, “no, she needs to stay in the house.” what if I would have glanced outside and noticed she was headed in the direction of the pool… etc. What did happen was I had a weird thought, “isabelle… pool” came into my mind which was odd for the reasons I stated. Amanda was walking by and I asked her to make sure Izzy was still with Bailey (just to be sure), she came right back and said, “Bailey is still on the deck.” What about Isabelle? She went back out and before I could get there I heard screaming. Bailey pulled Izzy out of the pool and held her upside down. Matt came second and started giving her breaths. What seemed like hours was only a few seconds and the image I saw was a ifeless blue baby. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life and I prayed for a year for God to take that image out of my mind. I still get shaky thinking about it. I called 911, and took over cpr while Matt talked to the person on the phone until the ambulance arrived. I did cpr until a emt took her from my arms. After that I laid on the ground begging God to spare my baby. They worked on her for about 20 minutes in the ambulance. I wasn’t allowed near. I sat with the kids and we prayed for her … We were finally told they were heading to the ER. When we followed, we didn’t know walking in whether or not she was alive. We went into the family room and were told they had gotten a pulse but were still working on her. Before five minutes passed there were so many people there we had filled the family room and the hall of the er. They then took her to the Children’s Hospital by medivac. We followed again and were told that Izzy would probably not survive the night. The rest of the story would take a week to write, but she is alive… it will be three years in May! She is healthy and making progress and we have learned so much about our faith and about God. We believe that she will be completely restored.

A while after her accident I joined an online support group for parent’s of near drownings. I have come to learn that this happens far too often especially to children around 2 years old. I feel compelled to plead you to treat any open water as if it were a loaded gun. It is so dangerous for toddlers because they don’t have the rational to know the danger involved and it happens so quickly. I have read parents stories of babysitters, grandparents, birthday parties, koi ponds, retention ponds, it happens everywhere in every way! You cannot be too careful.

One great preventative if you have toddlers is to teach them to swim. The guys who come over from Australia to do Izzy’s brain therapy have made videos that show how to teach your babies to swim at a very young age.


If you are interested in more information on Izzy’s progress, you can look at her blog. If you are a person that prays, any prayers of faith for Isabelle would be greatly appreciated.

Here are a few statistics…

  • In 2000, there were 3,482 unintentional drownings inthe United States, an average of nine people per day.(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • It is estimated that for each drowning death, there are 1 to 4 nonfatal submersions serious enough to result in hospitalization. Children who still require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the time they arrive at the emergency department have a poor prognosis, with at least half of survivors suffering significant neurologic impairment. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15. (U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • 19% of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with
    certified lifeguards present.(Drowning Prevention Foundation)

  • A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved
    in the death of a child age 4 and under. (Orange County California Fire
    Authority)
  • Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates. (U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to
    unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. (National Safety Council)Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less. (Orange County, CA, Fire Authority)

  • The majority of children who survive (92 percent) are discovered within two minutes following submersion,and most children who die (86 percent) are found after10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe braininjury. (National Safe Kids Campaign)

**Update**
We have reached 50 comments & I am amazed at the visits over the last couple of days, I am so happy to know that Izzy’s story is building awareness and saving lives. You guys are all so great, your comments are so loving… each one was like a hug that I could literally feel. Thank you. My plan is to put all the names in a bowl and put Iz’s hand in and see what she pulls out! Hopefully someone will take pictures so I can show you how the winner was chosen!

For those of you who do not win, I have purchased several of these DVDs that I planned to set up with statistical information and Izzy’s story fliers to sell at the local pool stores. Anyone interested in purchasing one can email me mailto:anniepettigrew@yahoo.com).

I will post the winner first thing Thursday morning on this post. Please continue to tell everyone you know about Izzy’s story and the necessity of extreme pool safety. Thanks again, and bless you all!

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96 Responses to “Izzy’s story ~”

  1. ShariJoy says:

    I left a message yesturday but I guess it didn’t take!! I hate that!! Thanks soooo much for sharing your familys story. As hard as what you have all been through I commend you on getting Izzys story out there and making as many people as you can aware of the dangers and stats on it. I have a 18 month old and am expecting a my addition next month and I would be very interested in knowing more about this video. My daughter LOVES the water she screams when she is taken out. I would love to be able to enroll her in baby swim lessons but being in the boonies we just don’t have that option. My prayers are with you,your family and Izzy.

  2. GiBee says:

    Annie, I can’t even begin to imagine or even understand what you and your family have been through. Thank you for sharing your story. Both my husband and I are FREAKISH when it comes to bathtub safety, so I can’t imagine how we would be if we had a pool. It’s so important to get the word out. Your story has encouraged me to insist that my 17 month old begin taking swim lessons.

    Blessings to you and your family!

  3. Mike says:

    I teach my 3-year old(and soon, my 1-year old) how to swim — for their safety and for fun.

    Of course, I don’t let them out of my sight when they’re near water (or anything potentially dangerous).

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great Tuesday (and Wednesday, too!)

    Mike
    http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

  4. Heather says:

    Thank you for sharing such an important message. I read just a bit of Izzy’s blog. You all show such strength and grace. My prayers are with you all.

  5. ~yolanda says:

    What a heart-breaking story. I’m so glad that she lived through it. I have been saying forever that I’m going to teach my children to swim. This is just a reminder of how important it is that they know.

  6. Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing your very important story.

  7. Linda says:

    I don’t have small children but I am at the pool a lot and I always keep an eye on those non swimers

  8. Rocks In My Dryer says:

    God bless that sweet girl of yours.

  9. The Queen Of Cute Shoes says:

    I think it is great that you are sharing your story… if you can help the rest of us, then that is great! It’s great that you are so willing to share your experience so that the rest of us can learn from the whole ordeal and hopefully save some lives that could potentially be damaged or lost by drownings, thank you!

  10. Lesha says:

    ~hugs~

  11. meNmykids says:

    Thanks
    Gale

  12. Anonymous says:

    My husband lost a sister to a drowning accident when she was close to 2 y.o. About a year and a half ago we lost our nephew to a hot car; It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through. What I’ve learned is you can’t focus on the “What ifs” you discover that God has a reason for all . . . You and your family are in my prayers.

  13. Leann says:

    I will keep you all in my prayers.God bless you and give you the grace for the road ahead.he is faithful and is able to do all things.Isaiah 53 ;5 is a good one to stand on for healing.

  14. Multi-tasking Mommy says:

    Annie, I think about you every day. Your experience has served as a great reminder to me about just how precious our little curious children are. Thank you!

    I have written a little post on my blog in hopes that your story can reach as many parents out there as possible.

  15. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    Bless you for sharing your story so honestly and openly. I understand your heart- I can’t shout enough about my son’s life of epilepsy and dealing with it as well as his healing from it.

    I loved to read you say that you believe your daughter will be restored. I believe this, too. I witnessed it in my 6 year old son’s life. I know it will happen for Izzy, too. He who began a good work in Izzy will be faithful to complete it. May your story save many more lives.

    Love,
    Stephanie

  16. Glenys Hicks says:

    I will pray that Izzy recovers completely. My niece is 5 but has developmental/intellectual problems due to a genetic problem. The people over here in Australia- in an organisation called SCOPE are doing wonderful things for her. We are believing that she will improve and I am believing that Izzy will improve by leaps and bounds too.

    Blessings.
    Glenys

  17. Terri @ In His Hands says:

    I had lurked around your blog and didn’t get the whole story either so thank you for sharing. I am just out of breath! I pray that Izzy fully recovers. I can’t imagine going through that Annie.

    I pray that Izzy’s story will reach thousands of people.
    Blessings~

  18. Mandalyn says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! It is very brave of you to use your story for good! I know it can’t be easy to relive it each time you tell it. From a mother of young children, thank you for the vital information!

    God Bless You and Your Family!

  19. Quietromance says:

    Annie,

    I am blown away at your strength and think it is wonderful that you are sharing Izzy’s story. This touched my heart in many ways, and now I feel even more priveledged to have you as a Blog buddy. God bless you and your family, may you continue to have the strength and courage to share this in your everyday lives.

    Also, after reading Izzys story I bounced around to quite a few other blogs with the same purpose as Izzy’s. I had no clue drownings were so prevalent, and could happen so easy. Thank you for bravely sharing your story.

  20. ChupieandJ'smama says:

    I am just stunned reading your story. I have tears in my eyes and fear in my heart. I can not imagine what you went through. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for bringing this to our attention. It is a very important topic and very timely since summer is coming. We’ve been thinking of buying the boys a larger pool this year, but I may need to rethink what type of pool we buy. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

  21. Sandy G. says:

    Thank you for telling your story. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

    ~Sandy G.

  22. Indiana Amy says:

    Thank you for being courageous and telling your story. It is such an important message to get out to people. My daughter is 13 months old and that is one of my biggest fears of leaving her by my parents house as they have a pool. You’ve certainly encouraged me to get on those swimming lessons!

  23. Michelle says:

    OH this rends my heart!

  24. the night owl says:

    Hi Annie,…..Your story of Izzy has made me sad!! Today is a sad day anyway , being Good Friday..
    May you and your family continue on with her progress , by God’s loving hands.Have a blessed Easter. Baba

  25. WiscMom says:

    Annie..
    What a large story of life and survival to put into a single blog entry. My heart goes out to you and your entire family.
    May each day bring more healing & strength to each of you, and may the prayers offered build you up when you feel down, and bring you peace.

  26. Tori :) says:

    You are an amazing, strong woman. Thank you for sharing your story… Izzy’s story.

  27. Joyismygoal says:

    Thanks this is vital info I had a drowning incident as a child I think I will blog about it tomorrow

  28. Leah says:

    Thank-you for telling your story, it is a reminder to me as the spring starts to warm and pool season starts up to be always watching.
    God Bless
    You are in my prayers

  29. Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing – my daughter is nine and I am still overly protective at bath time and near water (she has balance issues as part of her syndrome) – I hope Izzy continues to recover and thrive.

  30. Me says:

    I can not imagine the terror you and your family felt. I am sitting here in tears reading this. I have two small children myself. I am so happy that Izzy survived. She is in my constant prayers.

  31. jtcosby says:

    I wandered over here from a Works for Me Wednesday post (can’t remember whose, sorry :)). I am overwhelmed by your story. I have four children, two of which are 2 years old and there are many times I stay in the house while they play outside. We have a fish pond, small but definitely scary…and officially scarier at this point. I will be making a point to pay far better attention than I have in the past. Thank you for the reminder…I will be praying for your family!!!

  32. Nat says:

    Today as I sat at work like everyday I decided I wanted to find a good Enchilada recipe…well Annie I found your webpage and suddenly became interested in why you started this, so I began reading. Half way thru the story of Izzy I was brought to tears, this truely is one of those amazing stories that you hear about. My heart, and prayers go out to Izzy, you and your family.

    My husband is a Paramedic and I can’t even begin to tell you how many times he has seen this happen and every time I see him break a little more as watching a child and the parents go thru the pain, blame and everything else that goes along with such a tramatic accident. Your comment “you can never to be careful” is so true.

    One of our son’s had a near death accident almost 3 years ago. We were in the middle of a move and he had climed up the entertainment center and it fell over on him. He too was flown to Primary Childrens hospital where he was very touch and go. It was the most helpless feeling I have ever had in my life. Thankfuly Connor (our son) had the will to live and he faught like heck! Not to mention our faith in God and all the prayers from family, friends, loved ones and total strangers. Today he is now a healthy and happy 7 year old little boy. As he walked in this afternoon from school, I was reminded of what I almost lost and I am so grateful I did not. Therefore I too am a huge advocate of “never being to careful” as we have all seen these tramatic accidents happen either in our own families, friends, loved ones or like in this case a perfect stranger. Needless to say I am so thankful that I was searching today and came across this I know that you are truely blessed because of your faith in God and your will to keep fighting.

  33. Heart of Rachel says:

    Hi Annie. Thank you for visiting my FF. I went to visit your feast when your link led me to this post.

    I can’t help but be moved by the events that took place. I could imagine the fear of seeing your daughter in such a condition. I’m glad that your daughter survived and is on her road to recovery. God is very kind. I will pray for Izzy’s full recovery.

    Thanks for sharing these eye opening information. I don’t know how to swim but my husband does. I never let my son go to the pool without him just in case of an emergency. He wants to teach our 3-yr old how to swim gradually.

    Thank you for sharing and God bless.

  34. Jenileigh says:

    Oh Annie~I just came across your page today by looking through the designs posted at Bluebird Blogs. I first participated in your Time Traveling Tuesday. Then I ventured further in your blog and came across Izzy’s story. I brought my 11yo dd in and read the story aloud to her. My heart just cries for you, your family and Izzy. Know that we will keep you all in prayer and we stand in agreeance that the Lord will restore Izzy completely!
    In Christ,
    Jenileigh

  35. Cats ~ Goats ~ Quotes says:

    Came by through Wordless Wednesday.
    Will keep Izzy, you, and your family in my prayers.

    Thank you for telling her story.
    Bobbie

  36. Penless Thoughts says:

    Momma Roar sent me the link to this site. I just read for the first time but am linking. I too am from Oklahoma. Praise God for TOTAL victory for your Izzy!!!!
    Susan

  37. Karen & Rick says:

    Annie,
    I’m so sorry you had such a terrifying experience and so glad that Izzy is progressing.

    We do have a pool that has a separate fence inside our regular fence and we keep the pool fence locked always. My kids (12 & 13 now) are not allowed in the pool without an adult. I always give a swim test to any child who comes over who wants to swim. I sometimes get strange looks from these kids but I don’t care. Pool safety is not something I will ever take lightly.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I wish you, your family and especially Izzy continued recovery and a joyful life.

    Karen

  38. it's me, Val says:

    This is the first time I have read your story about Izzy and I thank you for being such a strong woman and mother. I commend you! I am not sure I could have been the strong sould that you have been. I hope Izzy keeps progressing well. Prayers and love to you . . .

  39. Pearls of Wisdom says:

    Dear Anne,

    I am teary eyed reading your post. Thank you for being kind and loving to post this story for other parents. You and your family are so beautiful. Hugs to you and so sorry you all and Izzy had to experience that. She is so beautiful . I will continue to pray for her.

    Angel ( Angel Mama )

  40. Miss Profe says:

    God Bless you, Izzy and your entire family. Thank you for sharing your story.

  41. Corey~living and loving says:

    Your sotry touched my heart. As I was reading, I began to cry. My own 2.5 year old came over and layed her hand on my lap and asked me why I was sad. Our children are so very precious. I am thankful that your daughter survived. You are a strong mother, and Izzy is very blessed to have you.
    Many hugs!

  42. Jen says:

    I have a 20 month old and cannot believe nor imagine what you went through. God had you wrapped around his arms for sure that night. We are wanting to put our pool in this fall for they are less expensive. Miller needs to take lessons first though. We had a pool at our other home and Madison who is 11 now took lessons at 2,3,and 4. When we got our pool she had become a fish. I’m so sorry for this…..I know this has made you stronger though

  43. Donetta says:

    Thank you for the courage to share your story. I almost lost both of mine in an instant last summer, when the adults that were supposed to be watching the pool were not. I pulled them both out they were pulling each other down for the third time! I had been mocked for being so careful with my kids. I lost a nephew 20 years ago and am very cautious around pools. God too, called me to the alert over my two. I was mid sentence telling my host I was uneasy not watching them my self, and turned around to find them not visible . The pool had several other kids in it, NO ONE SAW THEM STRUGGLE!!!!!!!! God Called us (you and I) to them!! HE SAW. HE SEES. May Issy continue to gain good ground I am so grateful that you paid heed to Gods calling you to her!

  44. Chappyswife says:

    Oh, Annie. There are no words to convey how sorry I am for all of you. I am glad that Izzy is improving. Your faith is so refreshing. God is able for so much more than we can even imagine. I pray He will heal your beautiful daughter. You are doing a great thing getting the word out. God bless each of you.

  45. Ter says:

    Annie, as a bereaved parent, I’m so glad that your litle girl survived and I hope her accident will lead to saving other children’s lives.

    (((Many Hugs))) for you and Isabelle.

  46. Buckner Family says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I have a 10 month old and am thankful to have read this! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and I know God has the strength for anything or anyone! Thank you,
    Sarah

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