Mother Screamed For Help When Her Son Got Stuck In The Washing Machine.
Story by Tiffany Hebb
“That tragic day at 10:20 a.m. as we left the laundry room together, I went to look up how many weeks pregnant I was and Ollie must have gone back in the laundry room to throw his tiny sock in. I called his name and didn’t hear a reply. Again and again. No answer. Silence. Nothing. No tiny noises or sounds in the house. The air began to be very thick and still. I began to worry just a bit more. I ran quickly into the kitchen. I couldn’t see him anywhere. I couldn’t hear anything in my house, not even that stupid washing machine. My body immediately went into fight or flight. My first thought was, Ollie went outside. I ran to the back sliding glass door which was 50 ft. away, it had been such a short amount of time that if he went outside he would be just at the door. I would have seen him opening it. It was locked. Nothing. Silence. My heart jumped into my throat. A cold stillness crept over the air. My heart was beginning to beat so loudly; it was the only noise in the house.
I began to cry and scream for him. I screamed so loud, my soul was crying for my baby boy to answer me. Still silence. Nothing. No noise. Just pure panic. Complete silence filled my ears, other than the loud beats of my vigorously beating heart. My yelling began to get louder and more intense. I ran around my tiny home all within probably 30 seconds. I then ran back into the laundry room. This was the only place he could be, the lid was now open and the washer had since stopped. I stood there looking at the water in shock. Something told me to put my hands in the washing machine. I resisted. No way. Are you kidding me? Of course he is not in the washing machine, what a weird thought to even be considering. But I knew I had checked the entire house, and I knew he couldn’t have gone outside that quickly.
I fought against this feeling for a good second. (It is so interesting looking back on this trauma, I feel like my spirit knew I would find him in there before I reached my hands in). I finally built up courage and when I say courage, oh my goodness, I mean courage like nothing from this earth, I know I had some serious assistance from on high. I was preparing myself to find his body. It was a weird experience in my head, my conscious and subconscious were fighting beyond comprehension against one another. I am almost certain someone was standing behind me and helped me pick my hands up and guide them into the cold water… horror, panic, disbelief, and shock all engulfed my being in that moment. I wanted to pass out.
My heart instantly broke into a million pieces and I think it really shattered completely. It took everything I had to not pass out and crawl into a tiny hole and die. When I felt his precious, precious body inside the cold water, words do not even describe the horror, fear and helplessness I felt as I tried to pull my sweet Ollie’s lifeless body out of the washing machine. How could this have happened with me 15 feet away – in the same house, and only 1 or 2 minutes had passed since I last saw him by my side? I honestly heard nothing. My hands were inside the washing machine trying to dislodge Ollie’s tiny body and my pregnant tummy was getting in the way. Ollie looked lifeless already. Ollie was not breathing at this point. I was so confused – I didn’t understand how he got in there. I didn’t know how to get him out but I knew I had to act fast. I had never seen a person unconscious and I never thought I would witness this horror with my own precious child. So unreal. I was in pure, cold shock and autopilot took over.
I immediately knew I needed to call Chris. I couldn’t remember his number or find his name in my phone. The shock and shallow breathing cause you to not think clearly in situations like this. I finally got it together and remember Chris specifically telling me just the night before, if I ever needed to reach him in an emergency to call his special work phone. I texted him the text I never ever wanted to text to anyone. I had to get his attention quickly and I needed him to understand the severity. I reluctantly and sadly texted him, ‘OLLIE IS DEAD. 911. COME HOME.’ This text broke my heart even more.
Ollie was transported to the hospital where we watched and prayed for a miracle. After 24 hours (legally hospitals are obligated to try and keep you alive for 24 hours) we were physically and emotionally exhausted. That moment was a bittersweet moment in our reality. I was so tired and haggard at this point; we all were. I wanted it all to be over, but also knew if we took Ollie off life support, we would have to say an earthly goodbye and I just wasn’t ready to let him go. Our family said a prayer and at the end of the prayer we all knew it was time to take Ollie off life support. It was not even a question to keep him on life support while having 0% brain activity and no signs of improvement in 24 hours.
You can read a more in depth version of the events that day and about how we said goodbye in my upcoming book…..stay tuned!!
It’s been 8 years since Ollie Kai Hebb passed on from this life and there is not a day that goes by that our family doesn’t talk about him and include him in our life. Last year sweet Ollie sent us a baby boy on his angel day, March 24. Miracles do exist! Personally, the thing that’s helped me most is trying to heal in a healthy manner which consists of lots of service and holistically healing the body mind and spirit! There are very ugly, dark days, but they have become less frequent as the years pass by. I am open, real and raw and I let my grief in, feel it and allow it to pass through. Just that small act has helped significantly with my healing.
My husband and I have grieved so differently through the years but the major part in us having a solid strong marriage after this tragic event, is allowing each other to grieve in our own way. We may have to leave the house or not agree with their way, but remember it’s their way and no one knows the proper way to grieve for your precious child. Ollie lives and blesses us daily as we bring hope to other grieving families.
In honor of Ollie, please get locks on all your washing machines and DO NOT let your children play in them, they are not toys. Even if you think there are no dangers in your home, double check and check again. Please hug all your children extra tight for me and be just a bit more patient today.”