Roman Forest – Tuesday August 9th at 3:15pm, Roman Forest Police responded to a drowning Dispatch. 3:17pm, Roman Forest Police Chief Stephen Carlisle is first on scene. Shortly followed by EMC Fire and Rescue, other Roman Forest and Splendora officers and MCHD medics. But none of these responders were heroes today but rather the five-year-old victim’s mother, Samantha Costa.
Samantha Costa took quick action when she saw her five-year-old son, Adoniah Costa, on the floor of the pool. She only looked away for a moment and then saw every mother’s worst nightmare. She dove in the pool and pulled her lifeless son out of the water. His lips were blue and he wasn’t breathing. She did chest compressions, breaths, and pats on his back repeatedly for what she thought was 2 minutes, praying for God’s help, and telling witnesses to call 911, call for help.
To Samantha’s relief, he started to breathe and cry. Moments later she was relieved when she saw the familiar presence of Chief Carlisle who started to assess the situation. Then Fire and EMS personnel arrived to start accessing the child.
“I pick him up as he begins to breath on his own and he cries out with a confused scream,” wrote Samantha Costa in her blog. “I hadn’t heard him scream and cry like that since he was an infant. The loud screaming and crying was the most beautiful thing I ever heard.”
The investigation revealed that while the mother was present but not looking, the 5-year-old boy dove into the pool and his floaty slipped away. He then went head first into the side of the pool underwater rendering him unconscious. Although the incident generated no sound, the mother immediately looked in the pool after not seeing her son. After seeing her 5-year-old son at the bottom of the pool, she took quick action by diving into the pool to retrieve her son, performed CPR/first aid, and revived him. Due to the quick response, the boy suffered little health problems and made a full recovery by day’s end; leaving only a bump and scrape on his forehead.
During a follow up meeting, the boy told Chief Carlisle that he wants to be a Roman Forest Police officer when he grows up.
“Had one of my officers saved the boy’s life, they would receive an award,” said Chief Carlisle. “At the next Roman Police Awards ceremony, I will be awarding Samantha Costa the Citizen Citation Award for saving the life of her son and my future police recruit.”
Samantha has signed up for the next CPR class at the EMC Fire Department to update her skills. She wishes to spread her story to other parents in hopes that they too will learn CPR and first aid before a similar incident happens to them.
SAMANTHA COSTA’S STORY
I woke up already feeling attacked. There was so much negativity going on at work. I felt consumed and overwhelmed as I woke up.
Later in the afternoon my neighbor stopped by and asked if we wanted to stop by and swim, as she had her grandkids over.
I decided that the kids and me needed a little break from being in the house. Working from home has its advantages but also disadvantages when you feel distracted from your pride and joy, your babies.
So I sent a last email and suited myself and everyone up and got the boys’ floaties and loaded up in the van. After 10 minutes of being at my neighbor’s home and getting everyone settled in the pool, she kindly asked me for a drink. I grabbed a glass of water and looked back at the kids. And when I looked over, it was so eerily quiet. Where was my son Adoniah?
I suddenly noticed what looked like clothes at the bottom of the pool to the far left of where I was on the porch. And the worst realization in the world was . . . this was my son at the bottom of the pool. I jumped in and got over to the side of the pool where he was. Suddenly fear gripped me with doubts. I can’t swim under water well at all. How am I going to get him? I asked the 5-year-old neighbor’s boy who is an excellent swimmer to help me get him. He just stared at me stunned. I asked him to get his grandma to call 911. Nothing.
I quickly regained confidence and went under to grab him. I pulled his completely limp body up and lay him nearby the pool, as his head drops and hits the cobblestone underneath. The image is haunting.
I move him to the grass nearby. He is not breathing. He is limp. He is pale with blue lips. My baby. My firstborn. My angel. This can’t be. This is not happening. No Lord I cannot live without him.
I kept yelling for the other boy to call 911. I pumped his chest three times and put him over my chest and hit his back a couple times. “Come on Adoniah, don’t give up on me. Dear God please give me another chance. Please give me a chance to be be his mommy again. Dear God not now, not after the all the time we have had together.” I pump his chest again several times and breathe into his mouth twice. Nothing. “Call 911, get your grand-ma.” “Lord, God, No, this can’t happen. Please Lord. This isn’t happening. I can’t live without him, please Lord in heaven. Please my baby.” I put him over me and pound his back. “Will water come out of his lungs?” Nothing. I pump his cheat again several times. I breathe into him once and twice. I swing him over me and I see his eye barely open. I pump his chest and breathe again and he finally takes the most subtle, shallow breath. And then as I breathe into him again, another breath a little stronger this time. “Praise, God! My baby is showing life, my baby he is here, coming back!” I pick him up as he begins to breath on his own and he cries out with a confused scream. I hadn’t heard him scream and cry like that since he was an infant. The loud screaming and crying was the most beautiful thing I ever heard.
As he was screaming and crying I walked over to the shade. “He is alive. Thank God. My baby is alive.” My neighbor was on the phone with 911 and she handed me the phone to explain what happened. I told them how I found him and how it seemed to be over 2 minutes to get him to respond. I kept trying to explain and the first person to arrive was a familiar face, Chief Carlisle. Then some more cops. They asked me to explain what happened and over his cries I explained again as I could feel my breath shortening with every other word that came out of my mouth. I started to hyperventilate as I retold the horrific scene but tried to calm myself. Then EMS arrived as I had my neighbor call my husband. I told my husband briefly what happened as I scattered to give him instructions of what hospital to go to.
They laid my precious baby on a stretcher as they loaded him in the ambulance. They informed me that Texas Children’s would be a better place considering the severity of this accident. I knew that would be the best place to go for a thorough scan and check of my baby boy.
I have such a love/hate memory of Texas Children’s. Three years ago, my 2nd child, was a newborn baby who almost bled to death after his circumcision. After a couple of days, they gave us the shocking diagnosis of severe hemophilia A, a rare genetic bleeding disorder. Since the 3 years ago there has been a LOT of traumatic bleeds, ER visits with scares, and needle pokes for intravenous infusions weekly for is blood product. We were just at the hospital 2 weeks ago for my younger son.
Texas Children’s did save my younger son’s life. It is just hard to visit the battle scene where so much trauma happened.
Behind the ambulance is a police that follows us to the hospital to get a written statement from me. Before we even leave the driveway, media has shown up to the scene! This definitely felt like an invasion of privacy in such an intimate, scary time. Thankfully my wish to remain confidential of my family’s name was honored by the local police.
The 45-minute drive to downtown from Roman Forest regained my confidence that my son was going to be OK. He was alert and they monitored his breathing, which the responder said was “textbook perfect.” I rehearsed what happened and how I responded to him in detail, questioning him if anything I did helped. He reassured me that I did everything exactly perfect in responding and told me that is why he was doing so well. In fact, he gave me some medical explanation that based on all of my son’s recorded breathing that there was probably not a lot of water in his lungs based on how leveled out his breathing was. I couldn’t logically understand how when he started breathing . . . no water came out. I just didn’t understand. Yet as I kept searching for more medical and scientific answers as to how he was doing so well, I knew deep inside why. It was a miracle. A miracle is an event inexplicable by natural order or science.
Yet I pressed on for some answers. And my worries still climbed my chest with anxiety when I thought about the possibility of secondary drowning, or life long repercussions in his lungs or worse his brain’s health.
As my brave son cracked jokes to the first responder in the ambulance ride and told him all about how his favorite color being black because of his dad’s black mustang. I just smiled inside to see and hear that my son was back. He was back 100% — a miracle.
I didn’t know what I was doing when I performed CPR. I had taken a class when I was 10 which I vaguely remembered. I acted upon instincts, wisdom and strength God gave me. God gave me my son back. To HIM be the Glory. He is the creator of life. He designed the intricate, fine-tuned way the body is able to breathe.
Once we got to the hospital, a team of doctors surrounded him and ran tests and an X-ray. The X-ray came back with minimal inflammation. The lead doctor told men that I needed to stop focusing on how bad it could have been and just be aware that on a scale of 1 to 15 they rate their drowning patients that my son was scored at a 15 (as I proceeded with tons of questions and possible scenarios of my son having any long-term issues). Several doctors told me when we arrived at the hospital that because he was rescued so quickly, that is why my son is doing so well. The EMS responder and my son’s doctor at the hospital told me several times that I saved his life without a doubt. Although I heard them, guilt gripped me so much it was hard to comprehend the continual positive affirmations from the medical team that I did exactly what I needed to.
After 6 more hours of observation my son had another X-ray taken. This X-ray would determine if we could go home and if he was getting better or worse. Clinically the doctors and nurses were amazed at how well he was. The X-ray proved just as amazing. The 2nd X-ray was clear of any water in his lungs, the little inflammation was gone completely and the lead doctor told me that if she hadn’t known that he had drowned 6 hours ago – she would not believe it. His X-ray was 100% normal as if the incident never occurred.
But it did occur. Any mother’s worst nightmare happened. While this information should have stopped my mind from anxiety, I simply couldn’t shake the image of the horrific events.
However, I was and am so thankful of my son not only being alive but being 100% well, as he was before he drowned. The fact that he drowned, stopped breathing and was lifeless and blue in my arms is a forever burned image in my head. Yet this traumatic scene illustrates how vulnerable we all are. How nothing else matters. The drama at work, the way you will pay your house note, the superficial concerns of this world. None of it matters. God taught me to keep my eyes focused on Him and my kids. Not 99.9% of the time. All of the time. As life tried to distract me, I will forever walk away with the life lesson of how my focus shapes my life. Where is your focus? Do you realize that every breath is a miracle? You are a miracle.
I learned about a reflex in your throat which is activated automatically and closes up to not allow water in your body. I can contribute that beautifully, intricately, perfectly designed reflex to the One Creator who has wisdom for what our body needs and how to make it work without our conscious thought. Our God is AMAZING. In death and life. May I always follow YOUR will Lord and not mine. I am a vessel to your divine plan for my life and those around me.
And yes, I will be taking CPR and swimming lessons for me and my son very soon. Amen to the most horrific yet most miraculous day I have ever witnessed. My son is alive and I take every breath as a miracle. I hope my story will encourage other parents to be prepared for the unthinkable, unpredictable events in life and how to respond quickly and with God-given courage. I thank my local community support and the swift and compassionate response by the Roman Forest Police Department and EMS responders. I can never thank them for the confidence that their presence gave me. That everything was going to be OK.