Posted September 12, 2007 6:05 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2007 6:24 p.m. EDT
As parents, we've all been there. We know that sick feeling we get in the pit of our stomachs when we realize our child is missing.
Most of the time, she is just around the corner in Target, hiding behind a tree in the back yard, or engrossed in a coloring book out of sight in the playroom.
But on Sunday, when it happened to Denise Rentz, her gut told her that her 21-month-old daughter, Bridget, was not safe.
One moment, she saw her beautiful, fair-haired toddler digging in the dirt in the back yard under the watchful eye of her siblings. The next minute, when Rentz checked, she was not there.
She immediately sent her children and her friends' children fanning out in different directions. Bridget's 15-year-old sister, Alyssa, immediately raced to the neighbor's pool. Her mother followed.
What happened next is incomprehensible.
Alyssa and her 13-year-old brother found their sister floating facedown in the pool. They both jumped in, pulled her to safety and started CPR– a skill Alyssa learned from her eighth-grade physical education teacher.
Denise and her husband, Daniel, were not far behind. They were in shock. Prompted by Alyssa, they jumped in to help with CPR.
Before Daniel took over giving his baby chest compressions, he said a quick blessing. Bridget was blue, unresponsive – in his mind, already gone. He thought she might have been in the water too long, that she had no chance for survival.
The Rentzs are devout Mormons, and faced with a tragedy beyond measure, prayer was their sanctuary. Daniel recalled the other children in the family (they have six) and their friends kneeling on the lawn, also praying for Bridget.
Bridget was rushed to a local hospital, where she stayed less than 24 hours. Denise and Daniel said doctors were amazed by her speedy recovery.
On Tuesday, Bridget playfully danced around her living room, waving at our camera, flashing us Cheshire cat grins as she ducked into her hiding place behind the couch.
She looked like a healthy child without a care in the world.
Her parents credit Alyssa, Alyssa's physical education teacher and God for Bridget, who they have now dubbed "the miracle baby."
Watching her wispy blond hair cascade over her big brown eyes as she spun like a ballerina around the living room, it was very hard to disagree.