Yes, daylight was happening all around me...
I could see once again, and, it looked like the water levels were dropping. But, my proximity to land was unknown. I could see treetops off in the distance before me, I could see the tops of buildings and other things.... Oh, no! I am out at sea, and, none too close to shore... I try to keep my composure, I don't want the little one to get upset. It all made sense now that I could not feel any debris hitting me in the dark of night, nor did I encounter any buildings... When I was propelling myself, I was headed the wrong way!
Now to get back to shore... But, first I need to check the child. I look down and she is really sweet looking, I feel her skin and she is warm, a bit too warm, but, maybe that is to be expected. She seems fine so, I get against the back width of the table and stretch out, turning the table ever so slightly so that we will be facing shore. I begin kicking, and, we start to move very slowly. I realized in that instant that we were caught in the ebb tide, and, that it would be hours before that would be gone. A slow panic filled me. I did not know what to do... So, I slowed my kick down, just to make sure that we would not drift further out. I had heard that if you go diagonally against the tide that you can out swim its pull or current, but, that would put us in a dangerous spot where the gulf and the ocean meet, there are many cross currents and tides involved, and, I was not strong enough to deal with that.
At least it was getting warmer, the sun was doing its job. I began to worry about the sun on the child, it could burn her badly, and dehydrate her. I did not want to stop kicking lest we lose distance, but, I had to cover her up better. So many decisions, and, not many resolutions... I don't want to disturb her either, she looks so peaceful... I resume my slow kicking, getting lost in the motion and my thoughts. Wondering if my man was alright, wondering if everyone was alright. Slowly but surely, I can feel that we are making some gain.
Suddenly, there is a loud noise, very loud. I had been so out of it, that I did not notice the helicopter circling my makeshift boogie board. I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I was simply going through the motions, to keep the baby and myself afloat. The baby started crying, no wonder, the sea was chopping all around us, and, from her view the helicopter must have been frightening. I could see that a rope with a lift was being lowered. They were trying to rescue us! I could see several men peering out the hatch, assessing the situation. They must have decided that there was no way that I could safely get on the lift with the baby, and so, down came a diver. I have never been so glad to see anyone. He landed almost on the table, but, luckily did not. The lift was about 20 feet from the table, and, he swam to bring it closer to the baby and me. It seemed like it took forever. As he began to lift me into the small life saving device, the table took a flip, oh no, the baby... I was hanging onto the lift, and, the diver was gone. I did not see where he dove, and, again, it seemed an eternity before he finally popped up with the baby in his arms. I scurried, painfully into the seat of the lift, he handed me the baby, strapped us in, and, pulled on the cable to signal the others to lift us.
I am deathly afraid of heights, but, what I had been through had numbed my fears, my senses, and my thoughts. The worst part was when we reached the large hatch where we to be pulled in... It was windy and the lift kept swaying and swinging. The baby was in shock or something and, hadn't made a sound. One, two, three swings and we were in the hatch. Quickly, the baby was taken from me, and, I was wrapped in blankets. One of the crew was examining the child. They gave her resuscitation, and, rubbed her little body. Finally she coughed, and, coughed.... Everyone let out a yelp, or an "AMEN!" She was looking around, when she saw me, she looked at me, and said, "Mama". My heart went to my feet. It was so bitter-sweet.
They came and inspected me, said that I seemed to have some broken ribs, which they wrapped up tightly, then they lay me on a stretcher, and, put the baby next to me. She smiled at this, then, cuddled up to my body... As we were flying I heard one of the guys remark that we had been very lucky, and, that maybe angels really do exist. I smiled knowing that they, indeed do...

Stay tuned for the conclusion.... Have a great weekend~

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