Bringing a new baby into the world is supposed to be a moment no one ever will forget. When one mom experienced complications during childbirth, she forgot her baby (and husband) as soon as she gave birth to the newest little member.
Camre Curto has no memory of bringing her first baby into the world.
It was like the eraser just came out
Camre’s memory completely was erased because she suffered brain damage during childbirth.
“She didn’t know who she was, didn’t know who I was, didn’t know she even just gave birth to Gavin,” Camre husband, told Inside Edition.
Camre’s brain damage stripped her of her long-term memory, short-term memory, and ability to create new memories.
“This is a really, really rare case,” her occupational therapist, Jessica Smith, told Inside Edition. “Every case is unique, right? But in the context of really having a baby and then this is what happens, Camre is the only case I’ve had in 10 years.”
Camre and Steve’s story
Camre’s problems started in 2012, when she was seven months pregnant. She and Steve were engaged and looking forward to their new baby and their upcoming wedding.
“She developed some nausea and stuff, and one day her throat was swelling,” Steve recalled. “Her mom took her down to the hospital real quick and she ended up having a grand mal seizure.”
It turned out that Camre had undiagnosed preeclampsia that progressed into the rare eclampsia, when the high blood pressure causes seizures. After an emergency C-section to save baby Gavin, Camre was put into a medically induced coma.
When she came to, it turned out the swelling and seizures had caused severe brain damage. She had no memories.
“You have all these different parts of your brain and when there’s injury, we don’t know specifically what is exactly injured,” Smith said. “In Camry’s case, both sides of her brain are affected and both places where memories are stored, created, all of that is affected.”
The first few months were the hardest
“The woman you love, you just had a child with, doesn’t know who you are. So that’s obviously devastating, heartbreaking and you’re just trying to kind of figure it all out,”
Steve recalled, “I became mom and dad. I did all the skin-to-skin contact. The NICU nurses really helped me out — showed me how to burp [Gavin], feed him, bathe him. They really gave me this tutorial of how to be a dad really quick.”
Since Steve had to focus on Gavin, Camre moved back in with her parents. She didn’t remember her husband and mom had to sleep in her bed, because she had no recollection of having been pregnant or giving birth, she would wake up and rip out her stitches from her C-section.
“Her mom was amazing at reorienting her. So, she would have this book and she’d say, ’Camre, you just had a son, and his name is Gavin, and that’s why you have that mark in your stomach.’ But, it was like minute to minute,” said Smith.
Camre’s slow recovery
She began to learn her husband’s and son’s names– and reclaim her life.
“She’d say, ‘OK, I know his name. What’s his name again? Just give me the first letter,’” Steve recalled. “And I’m like, ‘It’s G.’ And she would think about it and she would say, ‘Is it Gavin?’ It’s like these baby steps over the seven year progress.”
She eventually moved back in with her husband and her son but her battle with her memory continues to this day. She is also dealing with epilepsy and seizures and fighting her way back toward self-confidence.
“Her biggest fear is, ‘What do I say if people start asking me specific questions?’” Smith said. “Camre is a very intelligent lady. She’s hilarious, she uses humor to get through every day, so really, we’re working on building her confidence to do more of these mother-son things and family outings.”
Steve’s story for Camre
Curto wrote a book, But I Know I Love You, that he self-published and released on their fourth wedding anniversary last month in order to help his wife recover and regain her memories in any way she can.
The book’s title comes from the moment when Camre was reconnecting with Steve and said to him:
I don’t who you are but I know I love you.
“Everything in the book is a memory of what we’ve gone through and what I’ve missed,” Camre Curto told Good Morning America. “Every time I see Gave 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.”
Sometimes, life’s most meaningful moments can be uprooted by tragedy. Staying strong as you battle through and taking the opportunity to turn a terrible situation into something beautiful is the best way to get back to where you were — or finding a new, stronger place to be.
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.Camre Curto
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