Michaela Peters knows that silence means one of three things in her busy household.
Either her twin boys are asleep, up to mischief or something is very wrong.
On the afternoon of February 23, Mrs Peters had just woken 20-month-old Octavious and Raffael from their naps.
Her Bassendean house was missing the usual patter of the toddlers’ feet on the tiles and there was no movement in the backyard.
Then, in a stomach-turning moment, she noticed the pool gate ajar, a faulty spring mechanism having failed to shut it properly.
Standing at the entrance to the pool, a mother’s worst fears were realised.
“Then I saw them floating there with their heads down,” Mrs Peters said.
“You think, ‘No, no, no this can’t be true’, and your first reaction is, they can’t be dead yet.
“I have to get them out. They’re too young to die, they’ve just started their life.”
Mrs Peters recalls jumping into the pool and dragging her “wet, heavy and lifeless” little boys out.
It had been 18 years since she last had first aid training but the decision to start CPR was automatic.
However, resuscitating both of her sons on her own at the same time was impossible.
The panicked scream she let out sticks in the mind of her husband Richard, who had just pulled into the drive-way.
“I just heard the screaming like something out of the horror movies. It was indescribable, like someone was trying to kill her,” Mr Peters said.
“I just dropped everything and ran thinking I’d have to save her, and then there’s two babies at the side of the pool.
“I just thought we’d lost them. They were blue.”
Dialling triple-0, the frantic parents gave CPR to the boys while taking directions from the operator, holding hope from each murmur or twitch from their children.
It may have felt like the longest few moments for Mr and Mrs Peters but just six minutes later, St John Ambulance paramedics Nathan Haynes and Sarah Macconnell arrived.
On the street, Mr Peters carried a pale, unconscious Raffael. Mrs Peters followed, carrying a lifeless Octavious.
“Certainly, we saw the second child was sicker than the first child, so that was a bit more confronting … they were just unresponsive and really, really pale,” Ms Macconnell said. A back-up ambulance arrived minutes later and Mrs Peters joined her boys on a priority one trip to Princess Margaret Hospital, with Mr Peters following in the car.
Twenty medical staff awaited the boys and when they arrived in a critical condition, Mr Peters said he heard the heart-warming sound of the boys yelling.
“Then I was happy, I knew they were alive,” he said. “Now when they scream, I don’t mind because it means they’re alive.”
Remarkably, the twins were discharged from hospital the next day.
Aside from respiratory problems, which hospitalised the boys again that week, and restless sleep, the boys have no lasting damage and will celebrate their second birthdays next month with family.
Their parents, who were this week reunited with the paramedics who came to their boys’ aid, said they wanted to publicise their experience to thank the paramedics and hospital staff and show the importance of first-aid training.
“Because we both had the training, we snapped out of the panic faster,” Mr Peters said.
“The operator is talking but when you’re going through that, you’re not hearing anything.”
Mr Haynes said Mrs Peters’ quick response likely saved her sons at the crucial early moments.
“There’s no two ways about it,” he said.
“Without that early CPR it may have been a very different outcome.”
A reminder how important it is to receive early CPR. If you need to update your first aid certificate please see our website www.canberrafirstaid.com now for upcoming course dates and all the information you will need.
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