In the Spring of this year, just a month before Dustin was set to leave on deployment, they were surprised to find out that they were expecting another child. Although overwhelmed, Heather was relieved to know that Dustin was set to return home just a few weeks before her due date. The timing seemed perfect!!
On Thursday August 29th, Heather went to the hospital in fear that she may be showing signs of premature labor, while being examined, her water broke. She was immediately admitted and was given antiobiotics, steroids (to help the baby's underdeveloped lungs) and magnesium (to help prevent brain bleeds in the baby). The Doctors gave her a grim prognosis and told her that their hope was to keep her pregnant as long as possible, which meant keeping her on strict bed rest in the hospital until the baby was born.
That Sunday, Heather spent the early hours of the morning skyping with her still deployed husband, and so far, there were no signs of contractions or labor. Just 30 minutes after hanging up with him, she suddenly felt a contraction. She quickly told the nurse, who in disbelief, began to gather everything to put her on the monitors. Heather's contractions went from none to constant in just a matter of minutes. She explained to the nurse that it was time to call the Doctor because she was feeling pressure. The Doctor reluctantly decided to check to see if she was dilated, moments later.. her exact words were, "OH MY GOD, DON'T PUSH!!!! THE HEAD IS RIGHT THERE!!!!!"
Everyone started yelling and screaming, pulling Iv's off of their stands and throwing them on the bed with Heather. They were yelling and literally running down the hall pushing the bed to get into the elevator and down to the Labor and Delivery floor. The Doctor and Nurse kept begging her not to push. They arrived to the Delivery room the same time as the extensive NICU team, and the Doctor barely had time to put her gloves on.
Her first contraction had started at 7:17am...at 7:33am their third daughter was born.
Scarlet was born 3 1/2 months early on September 1, 2013 when Heather was only 24 weeks pregnant. She weighed just 1 pound 4 ounces and measured 12 1/2 inches long.
The first few weeks were the scariest. She was on the highest level of ventilator and she was on 100% oxygen. If something happened and she required more.. there wouldn't be anything they could do. She was on a long list of medications that everyone hoped would start to work.
On September 17th the NICU social worker and Scarlet's Doctor sat down with Heather and told her that Dustin needed to come home from deployment because they weren't sure if she was going to make it, and he needed to be able to meet his daughter. With the help of the American Red Cross, Dustin flew home and arrived on September 19th. Immediately after picking him up from the airport, Heather took him to the hospital to meet Scarlet. Within just a few moments of them being there, she opened her eyes for the first time. Although they couldn't hold her, just being there with her made it feel like everything was going to be okay.
A few weeks later, Heather's mom was taken to the Emergency room by ambulance. She was admitted to the ICU for a COPD exacerbation (low oxygen and high Co2 along with other symptoms). The Doctors weren't sure if she was going to make it. Luckily, She was admitted to the hospital right next door to Scarlet and Heather was able to divide her time between them. Her mom spent 10 days in ICU, then was home for 48 hours and had to be re admitted and spent another 5 days in. She is back home now, and seems to be doing better for now.
In just a few days, Scarlet will be 2 months old. Although she will likely be in the NICU well past her December 17th due date, she is starting to show progress. She is now off of the ventilator and on a Cpap mask which is able to still deliver oxygen with pressure. They just took her Iv's out, and Heather and Dustin will now be able to hold her and give her skin to skin contact. Scarlet is now up to 2.9 pounds and getting cuter everyday. They have no idea what the future will hold, they just know the "percentages" and "maybes" of what to expect as they go through this journey with Scarlet.
Up until the day Heather went into the hospital, she worked as a Nanny. Although they were still financially struggling with their growing family, her income was helping ends meet. Heather is no longer able to work, and the next year (at least) will bring on more than they can even imagine. Dustin's mom was able to just recently start working, but even with that help, they are so far behind and are struggling more and more each day.
There are foreseeable and unforeseeable costs in regards to Scarlet's recovery as well as their household in general. Scarlet will require countless appointments with specialists and therapists and these will all be crucial in Scarlet's progress. They don't expect to need help indefinitely, they are desperately trying to figure out a long term plan. Everyone's financial situation is different, and they so greatly appreciate the outpouring of love and support from their family and friends. If you can make any donation, it would be appreciated more than you could every imagine. Regardless, the family appreciates you taking the time to read their story and hope and pray for strength and Scarlet's progress.
They look forward to the day they can pay it forward.
DonationsSee top donations
- Diletta Dang
- Diletta Dang
- Ninab Maradkel
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more