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Charlotte C The Curley Family

The friendships that we have made with some of the staff will last forever. If it was not for them and their love of what they do, our Charlotte would not be the happy, healthy, smart, beautiful 3 year old she is today.

Charlotte Curley was born on July 24, 2015, after her mom, Jennifer Curley, went into premature labor following what had been an uneventful pregnancy. When she arrived at Monmouth Medical Center the day prior, doctors told her she would not be leaving the hospital until her baby was born, and that they were going to do everything possible to keep her labor from progressing.

That night, Monmouth Medical Center neonatologist, Dr. Diane Attardi, came to her room to talk to her and her husband about what would happen when their baby was born and what to expect in the NICU.

“I was monitored throughout the night and it seemed like the medications were working and my labor was not progressing anymore, but in the morning, things progressed quickly and at 9:49 a.m. our daughter was born,” Jennifer said. “Charlotte Anne Curley arrived just 25 weeks and two days into my pregnancy, weighing only 1 pound 10 ounces and 12 3/4 inches long. But she came out crying, and her Apgar scores (a method to quickly summarize the health of newborns against infant mortality) were 9 and 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, which we were told was amazing.”

Jennifer was able to hold her newborn daughter on her chest for a moment before she was tended to by the NICU team. “At 17 minutes old she stopped breathing and compressions were done for three minutes,” she said. “I was taken down to the NICU a little later in the day and I can still remember seeing my tiny baby for the first time – she was so fragile and so small.”

Charlotte spent one day on the ventilator and then was switched to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure for treatment of apnea), which she remained on until she was slowly weaned off on September 16. While in the NICU, she had three blood transfusions, spent some time under the bilirubin light and underwent multiple diagnostic procedures and eye checks. She was diagnosed with a heart murmur, which resolved itself, and endured a lot of apnea episodes, which she outgrew. A few additional cardiac issues also resolved themselves, and while she remains under the care of a cardiologist for a diagnosis of pulmonary valve stenosis, the condition is not currently affecting her.

After 74 days, Charlotte was discharged on October 6 at age 35 weeks and 6 days, exactly one month prior to Jennifer’s original due date and weighing 4 pounds, 13 ounces. “Although it was a scary time for us, and some days it felt like it would never get better and never end, we feel blessed that during our time in the NICU, we were in such a caring, loving environment,” Jennifer says.

“The care our daughter received was top notch and I could not have imagined being anyplace else. The doctors were amazing – they explained everything, every step of the way, so we could understand the care being given, and they encouraged us to be involved.”

“The nurses were wonderful, and let us be as hands on as we could,” adds Jennifer, who notes that her family relocated last summer to Virginia Beach, but still travels to New Jersey each September for the Big Steps Walk.

“The friendships that we have made with some of the staff will last forever. If it was not for them and their love of what they do, our Charlotte would not be the happy, healthy, smart, beautiful 3 year old she is today.”