Mom of preemie born at 25 weeks shares emotional journey of despair and hope

In 2016 I was dating a boy in the Navy. Things were sweet and in 2017 I ended up getting pregnant. I was 20 years old, in love with this boy, and was intent with the idea that we were most definitely going to get married. The idea that I was pregnant was unbelievable considering I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) endometriosis as well as some other problems with my reproductive system.

They told me I had about a 10% chance of ever getting pregnant. But I did get pregnant. About 2 months into my pregnancy, in the middle of my boyfriend being stationed in Virginia, he proposed to me. Of course, I said yes! Things were sweet. I moved to Virginia from Connecticut (I do not recommend driving 10 hours pregnant alone. It’s a nightmare).

We got an apartment and were beginning to prepare for the big day months away. Till I realized I was in my own little bubble. Between problems from his ex-girlfriend, his inability to be faithful to me, and the mere stress of everything going on, he kneed me in the stomach when I was 3 months pregnant.

Courtesy of Sam Curtis

I left, sobbing, to my brothers house that was down the road, and when I woke up in the morning, I was bleeding. I rushed myself to the hospital where it took them hours of stimulation and nudging to find my baby’s heartbeat.

I drove 10 hours back to Connecticut where I stayed with my parents for the duration of the pregnancy, practically on bed rest due to constant spotting and bleeding. I would talk to my baby every night and promise him that everything would be okay, partially just to let him know I had his back and partially to convince myself.

Courtesy of Sam Curtis

My baby boy was due April 14th, 2018. But, on January 1st, he decided it was his time. I woke up having what I thought were Braxton hicks contractions at roughly 7 am. I was only 25 weeks. There’s no way I was having him this early.

I called my doctor, followed his orders in hopes they would stop. But they didn’t. I rushed over to L&M hospital, where they told me I was 4cm dilated, but they didn’t have the equipment to help keep a 25 week old baby alive. So an ambulance was called and I was rushed an hour away to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.

I had my son, Malachi Elliot Curtis, at 2:36pm. He was 2lb 4oz and came out screaming, squirming and fighting in ways the doctors and nurses were shocked. His lungs were no where near developed. He had issues with his bilirubin levels. A grade 3 brain hemorrhage.

Courtesy of Sam Curtis

Overall, I was terrified at what was to come. The staff were extraordinary, and over the next 4 months of trials and tribulations, they became closer to me than majority of my own family. I was by his side every day, every chance I could.

I got a full-time job close to the hospital so that way I could have an income coming in for his necessities that I never had the chance to get. He was born with big problems, but compared to his overall stay, they were minor.

He received a PIC line (basically an IV that stayed inserted in his leg that led up close to his heart) due to how many places they had to put needles. He ended up getting a horrible infection in his led that eventually made it’s way up to his heart and throughout his entire body.

Courtesy of Sam Curtis

He flat-lined constantly. Breathing tubes were taken out and put back in due his inability to breathe from the swelling in his throat. It was a scary, traumatizing time.

But when I say my little King Malachi fought? HE FOUGHT HARD. By March the infection cleared, his lungs were stronger, his brain hemorrhage had magically disappeared and things were looking brighter. We were on our way to get released. He got surgery to have a hernia repair in his groin, I helped him learn how to bottle feed, he got an A+ on his car seat test, first try.

And by April, we were officially given the okay to go home. He was discharged weighing a whopping 8-lb! I was ecstatic.

Courtesy of Sam Curtis

The point of my story is:

1- Even when you’re going through the most traumatizing, horrendous, heartbreaking time of your life; remember and continue to hope and pray for the best. Things will turn around.

2 – I never really had the full opportunity to thank all of the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital staff for keeping my Bubs alive. And I really need to get it out there to my new hospital family that I love them. Malachi is now 25lb, will be turning 2 years old in January.

He’s running around and acting like he never went through what he went through. We’ve had some minor setbacks, but we handle it together like champs. We have each other’s back in ways I never even thought were possible, and thanks to my hospital family, I have a chance to continue to grow with him and watch him become something great.

This story was submitted to Positive Outlooks and written by Samantha Curtis.