Exactly 7 months after Easton was born, my cousin Curtis, who visited me in the hospital for Easton, died tragically. He was an amazing husband, father, and marine, and he will always be missed by many.
Exactly 9 months after Easton was born, on November 16, 2013, I found out I was pregnant again. If I was scared the first time, this time I was beyond terrified. So much so that I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant until March (and since we lived in a different state from our family, it was easy to keep it a secret). We found out we were having another boy, and we knew we had to name him after his older brother and cousin. Weston Curtis was born on May 1, 2014, three months early! He stayed in the NICU for 75 days, and what a long 75 days that was.
Weston was born at Fort Bragg’s hospital and was airlifted to UNC’s NICU. Before he was transported I got to see him, and I asked if I could touch him. As I touched my finger to his leg, I remember noticing that his leg was not much wider than my fingernail… He was the tiniest baby I had ever seen (2 1/2 pounds). I stayed at Fort Bragg until I was released from the hospital the next day. I drove two hours one way to UNC to be with Weston. I couldn’t stay at the Ronald McDonald house across the street for various reasons, so I just drove 2 hours each way every day. It was exhausting driving 4 hours a day, getting to hold Weston for only an hour a day since he still needed to be kept in his incubator, and pumping milk every 2 hours day and night. I am so blessed that my mom stayed with me for 3 weeks, feeding me, driving me to the NICU, and packing my husband lunches and dinners. She was wonderful, and I hated it when she had to leave! But I managed, and after a month of being at UNC, Weston was able to transfer back to Fort Bragg.
Once Weston was back on post, I was able to see him 24/7. I literally moved in and stayed on the pediatrics floor in a spare room. I sat by Weston’s crib all day every day, and my husband would come visit during his lunch break and after work. By the time he was 8 weeks old (still 5 weeks before his due date) he was breastfeeding at every feed and no longer needed a nasogastric tube! Since I lived on the floor above him at the hospital, the nurses were able to call me all through the night to come breastfeed. It was really amazing and a rare experience for NICU babies and mothers.
Weston’s overall health was really good:
Week 1- He was taken off phototherapy within his first week.
Week 2- He passed his brain ultrasound and got his pic line removed.
Week 4- He passed his eye exam and no longer needed to be in a humidified incubator.
Week 5- He was taken off of bubble CPAP.
Week 6- He learned how to breastfeed, he was taken off of caffeine, he moved to an open crib, and he was transferred from UNC’s NICU to Ft. Bragg’s NICU which meant he was much closer to me.
Week 8- He started breastfeeding at every feed.
Week 9- He was finally taken off of his nasal cannula.
Week 10- He passed his hearing screen and car seat challenge so he was able to come home! 🙂
While we were getting close to his due date and hopeful going-home date, Weston kept de-satting (meaning he wouldn’t take a breath and his lips would turn blue). It was very scary and nerve-wrecking! I wanted him to come home, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if he de-satted in the middle of the night and no monitors or nurses were there to alert me? Because of his de-satting, the neonatologist wanted him to go 5 days straight without desatting. Therefore, we had about 4 different days marked as his going home day, but they kept getting pushed back. Weston is so blessed to have been born so early and be so healthy today. He meets with a dietitian, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and preemie specialist pediatrician up until 18 months old, and all of them are beyond pleased and surprised by his health and growth.
Weston is my rainbow baby; my miracle baby; my preemie; my little Joey. He is such a blessing and has truly brought joy back into my life!
Born: May 1, 2014 – 2 pounds 8 ounces
Home: July 15, 2014 – 6 pounds 6 ounces