I figured now was a good time to replay the events that led up to Aidan's accident, because some people act like I directed my child to go play near the pond he nearly drowned in. I don't want anyone to think that I'm a bad mother. I love my children more than anything else in this world (sorry, Russell).
We arrived at my "step-dad's" house around 3pm (an hour before the party) to set up everything. I drove and Aidan's carseat is behind the drivers seat, so I got him out. As soon as I put him down on the ground he ran toward the swingset . I had to go get him because we were having to unload the car and all and I knew that I couldn't keep an eye on him. I was planning to take him in the house to play with his cars, but my step-dad said to let Aidan stay outside and he would watch him. Aidan is with Papaw playing in the rocks in the driveway and looking at the tractors and things so Russell and I continue to unload the car. I set Evan up in the living room in his exersaucer and went to finish unloading. My grandparents arrive during this time and Aidan is still with his Papaw and now his great-Papaw.
I start unpacking the deocorations and blowing up some balloons with a helium tank on the front porch, and Russell is in the front yard setting up the bounce house that is our gift for Aidan. My mom and grandmother are in the house getting the food ready, and Aidan is still around the side/back of the house and shop with Papaw and my step-dad (I assume).
I get a bundle of balloons for Russell to take down to the bottom of the drive to tie onto the address post and he puts them in the van and will attach them when he is on his way back to our house to pick up some things that I forgot. I still think that Aidan is with his Papaws. Russell went inside to use the bathroom and when he came out, I gave him the keys and asked "where's Aidan".
This is where the terror unfolds. All I heard was "we thought he went around front, with you" (to the bouncer where Russ had been). I believe I said, "find him"... all I remember was looking at Russell and his head turned toward the pond (down the hill and some uneven terrain) and he started running. I see something floating in the water that looks like a blanket, and the realization hits me that it isn't a blanket, it's Aidan and I take off running behind Russell. I almost fell running down the hill because I was going so fast and had to stop because I almost collapsed. My mom passes me as I see Russ diving into the water and grabbing Aidan. The bank is covered in rock to keep it from erroding and he has a hard time getting out and carrying Aidan so he hands him to my step-dad and he lays him on the ground where my mom immediately began CPR. All I could do was scream for my grandmother to call 911 (Russell yelled too, after he gave Aidan to my step-dad).
I was hysterical, so I won't even pretend that I wasn't. I couldn't even get near Aidan. My mom was pumping on his little chest and he was pale and blue. I was begging her to make him breathe, and pleading with God not to take him. I couldn't even cry at that point. I was up and down, pacing the hill, praying. What seemed like forever (only 3 minutes) later, a truck barrelled down the drive and around the pond and a volunteer fireman jumped out and took over CPR for my mom. The ambulance (well several of them) were right behind the truck.
There is a driveway all the way around the pond and there were first responder vehicles everywhere. Several family members had driven up during this time as well. Remember, birthday party... family and friends hadn't all arrived yet. The paramedics worked on Aidan for a long time, I don't know what they were doing because I wasn't allowed near him and I didn't try. I just knew he was gone. I was still pleading and begging God to bring my baby back.
The ambulance takes Aidan away and I'm told to go back up to the house and get my stuff so we can go to the hospital. At this point I'm just numb. Aidan is ALWAYS with me. He's never out of my sight. I wanted to blame my Papaw and my step-dad because they had been watching him. I still blame myself because there were so many opportunities to bring Aidan inside the house, but I didn't want to upset him when he was playing and happy.
Now, this is my perspective of the events. This scene plays out in my head many times each day. I have nightmares about it, I have anxiety attacks about it. I've played out every "what if" scenario, but I can't go back and change any of it. Would I? In a heartbeat! If someone offered me the chance to go back and change one event in my life, despite all the heartache I've experienced, this would be the one. As much as it hurt me when my dad was murdered, I've dealt with it, and I know that he's with me always. But Aidan, he's my son, my miracle baby, my heart and soul. God took a tiny little cell from my body and Russell and he grew inside of me. I felt him kick and move and I prayed I wouldn't lose him. He took everything he needed from me to grow into a beautiful, amazing, precious little boy. I can not imagine my life without him in it.
If I could go back and fix everything yes, I'd have put a fence around that pond, I'd have tied his little 2 year old butt to my leg if it would mean that he wouldn't go near that pond. We were only there for 30 minutes when this happened and Aidan was only out of someone's sight for a few minutes. It happened that quick. It was a miscommunication as to who was watching and where he was. It only takes a minute and it could happen to anyone. How many times have you heard, "I only turned my head a minute"... whether it be the child was kidnapped, or got lost, or, God-forbid, an accident like ours. Kids are curious; they will get away from you before you have a chance to figure out what happened.
What made it difficult to see Aidan was the terrain going down to the pond. He's so little that he was able to slip down there without being seen. I was on the front porch almost the whole time, and his Papaws were outside the whole time. They thought he had come around the back of the house, where he was last seen, and down the far side and around to the front yard where Russell was putting up the bouncer. We thought he was with them playing with the tractors and stuff, since that's usually where he goes.
Unless you've walked a mile in my shoes and relived this nightmare over and over and over, don't judge me. Believe me, I beat myself up enough for you and me and everyone else, but I can't change it. I have to move on and I have to help Aidan the best way I know how. I'm trying to be strong and I'm trying to put my faith in God to see him through this. Making me feel like crap and blaming me doesn't make me stronger, it only hurts me more and makes me even more useless to Aidan. So keep your hurtful comments to yourself.
I have apologized to God for my retort, and asked forgiveness. I'm only human. I don't care if you think I'm to blame, I don't care if you think any of us are to blame ... we are ... we know it. AIDAN needs prayers to recover, not me. I'm not asking for anything for myself.
I'll get off of my soapbox now ... Sorry for going on so long.