On June 11th, I was in a small daycare on the Outer Banks and got a message from my mom “Abi is having an emergency c-section. Don’t know anything else.” I responded with “our abi? As in my sister?” I called and got no response. I dropped my little friend back with his teacher and ran to my car, calling my coworker, calling my husband and canceling the rest of my clients. I flew down the beach and headed to Edenton. I finally reached my mom and she was in a calm hysterical state that was terrifying. She knew nothing except that something had gone wrong and Abi was in surgery. I remember her saying something along the lines of, “I saw him. He was blue. He was blue. But I watched him turn pink. He’s so tiny. I don’t know.” I rushed to get there and walked into the most precious sight. Our family surrounded the windows and watched the nurses work on the tiniest little human I’d ever seen in person. Our amazing pediatrician was checking him out, nurses were diligently monitoring and doing his foot prints. They gave us thumbs up and loved him so gently. The pediatric nurse practitioner came and talked to us, her words giving so much comfort. Folks were crying and rubbing each other’s arms and backs in comfort. People nervously chattered and some stared in silence. It’s almost funny how people react when they’re witnessing a miracle taking place.
The day before, Abi had an appointment to see her doctor but she wanted to get her hair done. So the week before that day, she called Angie and asked if she could fit her in. Angie couldn’t fit her in that Monday but she was able to fit her in the next day. Abi called the doctor’s office and she asked them to reschedule so she could do both appointments in one day. The following week, she dropped Cora off with the babysitter and came in for an early doctor’s appointment to be followed by a 10:30 hair appointment. The night before, she’d shaved her legs and was excited to get her hair freshened up. She walked in the office perfectly fine, feeling great as she described it. She went in for the routine check in, this is where they do measurements looking for his growth and heart rate. Dr. Privette had a little bit of a tough time finding the heartbeat. She searched and searched. She told my sister that he seemed to be running around on her and she couldn’t quite catch him long enough. She wanted to ultrasound just to be sure.
A few minutes, Dr. Privette calmly told my sister to go get into her personal vehicle. They didn’t have time to call an ambulance; the baby needed to be born immediately. Abi said “I just stood there dazed thinking ‘what car is yours? What car do I get in?’ as Doctor P started making phone calls and running down the hall yelling to staff that I had an emergency and she was taking me to the hospital” and there Abi was not sure what car to get into. They got there in record time and a labor and delivery nurse was downstairs waiting. She was walking with Abi in the wheelchair to take her upstairs and asked Abi what was going on. Abi, confused, said that she didn’t know, she just knew that Dr. Privette said his heart was in the 20s and she needed a C-section. When the nurse heard those words, she started running down the hall to the operating room. Abi found out in the next few minutes that her placenta was separating from her womb. This meant that her son, Craftin, was losing his access to oxygen and life giving nutrients. They knocked her out and delivered him via C-section. They rushed him out to get him assistance and that is when my mom watched through the window as he went from blue to pink as he took some precious breaths on his own.
Placenta abruptions happen in less than 200,000 pregnancies a year and Abi’s amazingly gifted doctor caught it while it was happening. That’s right, she saw the placenta in the act of separating on the monitor in that little ultrasound room. When she did the ultrasound in the office, she realized what was occurring in Abi’s womb and by the time she got Craftin Curtis out 12 minutes later there was a blood clot that had formed-completely cutting off his oxygen supply. From office to his birth was 12 minutes and it took 20 seconds for him to be delivered once the anesthesiologist put Abi under. What an amazing, well trained team we have in Edenton.
If Abi had gone in when her appointment was originally scheduled the previous week or if she had of picked any other day or even earlier or later in the day there would have been very little they could’ve done to save him. The nurse later told Abi that if it had been ANY other time, Abi would’ve lost him and would’ve been in danger herself. But God. He knew. He knew what Craftin was going to need and exactly when he would need it.
My sister’s husband, Cody, arrived after making amazing time from his out of town job site and we all had tears as he saw and touched his precious miracle boy for the first time. The shock, trepidation and joy was unmistakable in those hours. The medical team said that he seemed to be more developed and larger than most babies born at 30 weeks but knew Craftin needed more specialized care and he was airlifted to the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at the Vidant Medical center in Greenville. I kept thinking “he shouldn’t be there all alone.” My dad agreed so, together, we went ahead of the helicopter and got there a few minutes before it arrived. My sister gave special permission for me to go back so he wouldn’t be alone and I had sweet minutes before Cody got there to love on him up close and keep him company.
The nurses offered to let me touch him and I had a few moments of doubt. I was afraid to touch him and somehow injure him, afraid Abi would be upset that I touched him before so many others who should’ve been first (she hadn’t even touched him yet!), afraid for his life. That fear is what pushed me to accept the offer because in a moment of clarity I knew I had to speak life over him. With tears in my eyes, I put my hands in the clear plastic box and touched every square inch of him that I could and I started to pray over his body. I prayed God would heal and grow his parts that didn’t have time to finish developing, strengthen his lungs, protect his sensitive eyes, enfuse him with strength, restore and multiply healthy cells. I prayed that God would give this sweet nephew of mine life. I remember feeling this heavy weight around us that felt so very good. I felt like we were protected, God had seen us and was right there with us, holding us tight. I relinquished my hold so the nurses could work on him. Cody came in a few minutes later and my sister made her way to Greenville the next day, defying the odds and pushing herself to be with her boy who was born at 30 weeks 6 days, 3 pounds 12 ounces and was a living breathing miracle.
Their journey was hard. The next 39 days were unimaginable for many but they made it. The Ronald McDonald House of Eastern NC supported and housed them, family visited, people loved and gave to them, fundraisers were done in their honor. Trips were made, hours and days spent loving on and loving with the family. Everyone talked about our miracle boy.
Yesterday, our miracle turned ONE! The year has flown but those first few months seemed to crawl as we waited for him and his momma to come home. We are so thankful for the Vidant Chowan Hospital Labor and Delivery staff, Dr. Privette, Dr. Ginski, and Ms. Mia who saved the day and took such perfect care of our boy and his mama. The texts checking in and expert care were so appreciated and once again proved how blessed we are to live near such a wonderful hospital. Thank you to the flight transport team, NICU and Special care unit in Greenville for the support, expert care, patience and love that was given to our boy in his stay there. We don’t have the words to express our gratitude for both hospitals and the incredible staff members that saved our boy. Most importantly, we give all the honor, glory and praise to our Father God for His mercies are new every morning and He is still working miracles on our behalf. His hand of protection is gentle and strong and His timeline is perfection.
Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5 (NIV)