Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mom to Remington Derik
Born on June 17, 2010
Grew his wings on June 25, 2010
Salt Lake City, Utah
I will never forget the day I took that first positive pregnancy test. January 23, 2010. I was having a few of the usual symptoms.  I was tired, grumpy and a little nauseous at times, my period wasn't even late yet but I had never felt the way I was feeling before and thought I'd take a pregnancy test.  When it came back negative I'd cross the possibility of being pregnant off the list. I took the test and then sat it on the counter. I was so sure it would be negative I didn't even think to look at it until after I had already washed my hands. When I looked down I saw two perfectly pink lines. It didn't even take me two seconds to decide I was excited about it. Maybe everything in my life wasn't as in order as I had imagined it should be when I got pregnant, but I was growing a little person inside of me and knowing that was the best combination of emotions I have ever felt.

I started doing all the things any expectant mother does. Picking names, planning a nursery, wondering the oh so enticing question... boy or girl? I truly just wanted a healthy baby, but any mom who says she doesn't have any preference at all is lying if you ask me. I wanted a boy so bad it killed me. I wanted to give my husband a little fishing buddy, his first son. However, I was convinced I was having a girl. The day we went for our ultrasound was like being a 6 year old on Christmas eve. When the tech said to us are you ready to know the sex of your baby we both excitedly said "YES"! When the words IT'S A BOY popped up on the screen I felt like I floated out of my chair with excitement, and my husband really did jump out of his yelling Whooohoooo!!! I was the luckiest person in the world, at this moment I had everything I always wanted. My life was perfect and nothing was going to change that. We decided to name him Remington, because my husband is an avid hunter and his first gun was a Remington. My husband was excited for hunting and fishing with him, and I couldn't wait to raise a little Mama's boy. We couldn't wait til October to meet our handsome boy!
I was a good little mom, I suppose I still am. I endured all the morning sickness with a smile, ate right, got lots of rest and most importantly loved my little man to the edge of the earth and back. I went to every doctor appointment, he was growing well, had a good healthy heart rate and was cute as a button. I had planned on having a natural labor, I was going to breastfeed, whatever was best for my baby I was going to do it and be happy to. I had kept my weight gain down to 1-2 lbs a month and was super proud of that. I wanted to eat right for him, but I did not want a ton of weight to lose. On my 22 week check up however, a few strange things happened, first, in an ultrasound Remi measured about 9 days behind my expected due date, they told me the cut off is 10 days so they weren't concerned. But then when the doctor measured me I also measured small, which was insane considering I had gained 14lbs at this visit!!! It scared me... It just didn't seem right, but my doctor assured me not to worry. So I went home and waited for my next visit in 5 weeks...
On the morning of June 12th I woke up with the worst neck ache I have ever had. I assumed I just had slept on it wrong, took some Tylenol and went about my life. I thought if I gave it a couple days it would start to feel better. Early in the morning on June 14th I woke up still in horrible pain, not only had it not gotten better, it was worse! My husband had left for work so I called my mom and begged her to come help me reach my doctor and figure out what we could do to ease my pain. My mom and my brother came to my house, my brother plugged in a heating pad for me, while my mom tried to reach my doctor. It was about 5 am so my regular doctor was not in yet. They had the on call doctor in his practice call me back, she recommended I go to the emergency room to get my neck checked, she said at the very least they could give me some stronger pain meds until it started to heal. So I threw on some pajama pants and a hoodie and we headed out.
I called my husband on the way to tell him what was up and he insisted he come meet me at the hospital. When we got there they had me fill out the usual paper work and took my weight and blood pressure. First surprise 6 more pounds, this time in less than two weeks. Next surprise, my blood pressure was 170/110!!! The emergency room doctor insisted he call my OB and admitted me to labor and delivery. He explained to me the condition called preeclampsia, when your blood pressure sky rockets and you have a decrease in kidney function. This condition is extremely serious for the mother because it can lead to eclampsia, which is a bleed in the brain that can cause seizures or strokes! Trying to remain calm I asked, "So how do we treat this"? He explained to me that we could try blood pressure medicine and bed rest but that the only real cure is to deliver the baby. Scary solution when you're only 24 weeks. He told me not to stress, that would only make my blood pressures worse and that my doctor would evaluate my situation and be able to give me a better idea of our "solution".
When my doctor finally came to see me in my room in labor and delivery the first thing I asked him was, "am I going to have to deliver my baby"!?!?! He assured me that our goal was to keep Remington in as long as possible but that at the end of the day his job was to keep me safe. This just made me angry. I would gladly die to save my baby so for him to tell me my life was the priority over my sons was disgusting to me. He did have some good news though, he told me my blood pressure had dropped from the meds and that was a good sign. I would most likely go home on bed rest for a month or so and we would deliver the baby when it was safer for him. I was kept in the hospital for 24 hour observation on a Magnesium drip, which helps prevent bleeds on the brain, and I was told I would be sent home the next morning. In the morning before being discharged I had requested an ultrasound. A lot had happened and I needed to see my little man and make sure all was good in there. There he was up on the screen my beautiful baby boy.  I heard his heart beat, I was watching him moving but I could tell by the look on the techs face something was wrong. "What's wrong I asked her?" She told me that the amniotic fluid was low and this could be dangerous for the baby, but again the doctor would have to look at it. The next 48 hours of my life are such a blur, and yet I remember it all like it was yesterday.
About 20 minutes after the ultrasound tech had left my room the doctor called. He said he was transporting me to the University of Utah Hospital because the NICU there was better equipped to care for a 24 week baby. WAIT, WHAT!?!?! "Am I having my baby today?!?!" I asked him. He simply told me he didn't know and that I was in the U's hands now and they would be there to pick me up in an ambulance shortly. I remember crying hysterically, I wanted to run away with my baby so they couldn't take him, but would that save him? Of course not. I had to be brave for him. And most of all I had to have faith. Faith in God, faith in myself, faith that I was meant to have this baby. FAITH!
I arrived at the U to see most of mine and my husbands family standing there as they wheeled me down the hall to my room. When I got to my room two doctors, and a nurse from the NICU greeted me. They talked to me about our "game plan" which to my relief was still to keep me pregnant as long as possible. I was given steroids for Remi's lungs in case he was born early, and hooked up to all kinds of monitors and told to hang in there until the morning when they could get an ultrasound tech in. When I had my ultrasound they told me the fluid was about the same, which was good news because it could have been less. But they made a new discovery, there was not much blood flow to the placenta, this is a problem obviously because the baby gets all his oxygen and nutrients from the blood flowing in and out of the placenta. I was sent back to my room with a much more negative out look. The plan of course was still to keep Remi in as long as possible, but chances are he wouldn't live in there for long with a shortage of air and food. All we could do is wait...
On the night of June 17th I was finally getting wound down for the evening. I had a lot of visitors that day and it was just my mom and dad and my husband in the room now. I noticed on the monitor that Remi's heart rate kept dropping really low and then popping back up, three or four times it did this each time with the nurse running in to check only to have it pop back up again. Finally, the doctor came in and told me the decelerations most likely meant that Remi had the cord wrapped around his neck and that he needed to come out to save his life. I immediately sprung out of bed for my emergency c section. I couldn't handle taking him out to save my life, but if taking him out was our only chance of saving his life I was ready to meet my son, even if it was 4 months early.
They gave my husband some scrubs to change in to and asked me if I could walk to the OR... "Yep lets go" I said. When I got there the NICU team was already in there getting ready. They told me that he would not be able to breathe on his own and they would have to stick a breathing tube down into his lungs. This scared me. "Please be careful" was all I could tell them. They explained to me that Remi most likely would not cry because he couldn't breathe to do so, so not to be alarmed if I didn't hear him. They promised me they would do all they could to save my son, and really that's all I could ask. They sat me up on the table and gave me my spinal. Pretty soon I couldn't feel my legs which I knew meant it was time. I watched them drape all the curtains up and count sponges and tools. Then my husband walked in, I have never been so relieved to see him. He looked like an angel. He had an expression on his face I will never forget, it was a mix of happiness and sadness, excitement and fear. All the sudden seeing him made my fears melt away... I listened to him announce what the doctors were saying, and then it happened, a cry that sounded more like a kitten meowing, it was my son. He cried. He could breathe! Thank you God for giving me a fighter! And then it stopped.  I heard commotion around him and then they rushed him out of the room.  "Is he ok?" I asked.  "For now," the nurse said and she whisked him away. My husband was sitting there holding my hand and I asked him to please go with Remi, I would be fine, he needed him.
It was only 15 minutes and I was back in my room waiting to hear when I could see my son. I was only in there maybe a half hour waiting but it felt like the longest half hour of my life. Then my husband walked in, I could tell he was fighting back tears. He explained to me that there had been a complication. His esophagus was punctured when they had intabahted him. Everyone in the room broke down. But not me. Even if he wasn't going to make it, it wasn't his time yet. "Can I see him" I said. My husband said yes of course and he and two nurses wheeled my bed down to the NICU so I could see my baby.
There he was surrounded in glass like sleeping beauty. I was told I couldn't hold him of course, but that I could touch him. This was the single most precious moment of my life. As I laid two fingers on his precious chest, held his perfect little feet in my hand and stroked his fuzzy little head, I was in heaven. This is one of those moments that makes life worth living. I will never forget it til the day I die. Even as I lay here now writing it I remember it so vividly. It is such a blessing to not have that fade. I pray every night that it never does.
Remington lived for the next 8 days. We had so many ups and downs in that short amount of time that it would be hard to put it in the kind of detail I have put the rest of this story in. One day we were told things were grim and the next they thought he would make it. We were told he could have some disability's from being so early, and that was ok so long as we could take our baby boy home with us. We would adapt to whatever he needed and love him no matter what. But we also made it clear to the doctors that if there came a point where he was in pain, that they thought that if he lived he would have a poor quality of life or if we were just making him suffer to please tell us because we would never be that selfish with his life. They gave us every reason to hope, and we did because most days he did so well and everyone thought he would make it. When I was finally discharged we went to see him multiple times a day. We would talk to him and tell him we loved him and to be strong and keep fighting, and he did for so long. He gave us so much more time than anyone originally thought his little body would allow. Thank you so much for that my brave little angel. Mommy and Daddy love you.

Finally in the early morning hours of June 25th, Remington Derik Curtis got his wings. I held him in my arms as he took his last breath. Thanking him over and over again for the beautiful gift he had given me, the sweet taste of motherhood. We were able to have all of our close family come into a private room in the NICU. For about five hours we all got to sit there and hold him and kiss him and talk about his perfect features. He was the most beautiful baby on this earth. Thats why God took him I guess. He was just too perfect to be here on earth. He was meant to be an angel. I am sad that I will never get to hold him in my arms and kiss him and smell him. Sometimes my arms just ache to have him in them. But then on really hard nights sometimes I feel like he is here. I smell him and have this warm peaceful feeling come over me. I think that is God's way of helping me keep my faith even after this horrible thing happened to me. He and Remi are helping me heal.

I will never come up with a good enough reason to be totally at peace with what happened to me and my baby. Our time was cut short and it isn't fair. But I will see him again one day. And the 8 days I had with him was such a gift. My son is the single most significant thing I have done this far in my life, he is the best thing that has ever been mine. Remington makes me a better person everyday even though he isn't here. He makes me want to be the best person I can be. I will never forget him, I will never stop loving him and I will never forget the joy he has brought to my life. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, I believe that everyday.
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Melissa said...

Wow. Thank you for telling your story so beautifully, Nicole. You and your husband are such strong, amazing parents. I am so sorry that you had to experience the loss of Remington.

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