Woman Lost Memory During Childbirth So Husband Wrote Book About Their Love Story
Steve and Camre Curto have been together for 10 years. However, after losing her memory during childbirth, Camre can’t remember any of it.
Looking for a way to help his wife remember their many years together, Steve, 38, from Michigan, US, wrote a book.
Self-published and released on their forth wedding anniversary, But I Know I Love You chronicles the couple’s love story from the beginning.
While Camre, 31, is enjoying reading it ‘very much,’ she can’t remember anything her husband documented in the book.
Talking to Good Morning America, Camre said:
Everything in the book is a memory of what we’ve gone through and what I’ve missed. I enjoy [reading] it very much, but right now with everything it’s kind of mixed feelings.
Sometimes it’s hard for me because it shows me everything that we have been through and that I don’t have inside of me.
Camre’s pregnancy showed no signs for alarm until the third trimester, when she was bothered with constant vomiting, according to Steve.
Just 33 weeks into her pregnancy Camre’s throat began to swell up, causing difficulty breathing – when Steve rushed her to the hospital, Camre went into a grand mal seizure.
Doctors managed to perform an emergency C-section, delivering little Gavin at just over four pounds, according to Steve.
However, as well as the seizure, Camre suffered a cataclysmic stroke which affected both sides of her brain. Both her long and short-term memory was wiped out as a result, according to Camre’s occupational therapist Jessica Smith.
Smith, a therapist at Galaxy Brain and Therapy Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, told ABC News:
She couldn’t recall memories prior to her brain injury and she can’t remember short-term memories now. What happened to her is extremely rare.
Following the birth, Camre spent 30 days at the hospital, while Gavin was in the NICA for 36 days after being born prematurely.
Doctors later deducted that Camre had undiagnosed preeclampsia which, according to the National Institutes of Health, is a pregnancy-related high blood pressure condition that reduces blood flow to the foetus.
The 31-year-old went into eclampsia – when pregnant women suffering from preeclampsia develop seizures. Consequently, Camre was intubated and put in a medically-induced coma. At first, Steve said they didn’t now the full extent of the memory loss.
When they brought her out of the coma, and she started to wake up, something wasn’t right. She had no idea who she was or that she had just given birth. She didn’t know who I was or who her parents were.
I basically lived at the hospital. They want the child to bond with the mom after birth but Camre wasn’t able to bet there, so I did skin-to-skin with him and did all the feedings.
After leaving the hospital with Gavin, Steve said Camre was like a newborn child too. While she was fine physically, she didn’t remember the simple things – for example, getting dressed every day and brushing her teeth.
During the first months of her recovery, Camre lived with her parents while Gavin stayed with Steve at home. However, one night while sitting on the couch together, Steve recalled one conversation that re-framed his focus.
We were sitting on the couch and she told me, I don’t who you are but I know I love you. That has always stuck with me. That has been the driving force behind everything.
When I met Camre, she made me want to be a better person and that’s what I loved about her. Then this happened and I just wasn’t going to give up hope that we could regain what we had. This girl, she has no idea who I am but she loves me and we’re going to make this work.
Now, Camre remembers both Steve and Gavin. Through jotting things down constantly, role-playing conversations over and over and sharing a calendar on her phone with her husband, Camre is making great steps.
There have been some bumps; about two years after the birth, Camre realised she lost her memory, which was naturally very painful. ‘Memories are everything to us and most people take them for granted, I know I did. That’s one reason I’m sharing the story,’ Steve said.
Camre has also been suffering from epilepsy and frequent seizures, having to take multiple medications. Right now though, beyond the health complications, Smith explains it’s all about trying to get her confidence back.
When you first meet her and you’re talking with her, she’s really funny and good at playing it off and you don’t know initially that she’s had this significant diagnosis. One of the things that she always tells me that it’s extremely difficult to not remember your son’s first steps or the first time he said ‘Momma,’ because that’s really what moms talk about sometimes.
Despite the unimaginable circumstances, Camre has hope. She’s even found a favourite song, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright by Kenny Chesney, which she listens to regularly during the day to help her get through a ‘very difficult time.’
With my husband and son with me, that is what is getting me through all this. Every time I see Gavin and Steve, there’s a huge smile on my face and inside me. The love of family is what means the most and what is getting me through every day.
No matter how hard things are or have been and can be, you just have to give yourself hope and keep going, taking each day at a time. I just tell myself everything is going to be okay and I move toward that.
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