Baby Breck battles back, makes strides
Breck Remus isn’t a year old yet, but she has proven to be quite the fighter.
Breck, daughter of Ashley (Schultz) and Justin Remus, has spent much of her life in a hospital and has quite a bit of therapy in her future.
A benefit is planned for Breck from 4-7 p.m. June 15 at the Truman Community Building. It will consist of a chicken and biscuit dinner, a wine wall and a silent auction. A donation account is also set up at Profinium.
At Ashley’s 20-week ultrasound, doctors discovered that Breck was undersized. The family lives in New Ulm, but from May through August 2018, all of Breck’s doctor appointments took place in Minneapolis.
“They did not really give her a chance to live past 28 weeks because they thought my placenta was damaged so there was reduced blood flow through the umbilical cord, which was causing her to be small,” Ashley said.
During checkups, the ultrasounds showed that Breck’s lungs were good and her heartbeat was strong, but she was still small.
“It was stressful for us as a family because we took it day by day and never knew if her blood flow was going to be cut off,” Ashley said.
However, Breck hung on and Ashley made it to 37 weeks. Breck was born via C-section on Aug. 25, 2018, weighing just 3 pounds, 4 ounces at the Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. She was quickly transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Minnesota Children’s Hospital.
Ashley said physicians performed genetic testing on Breck after she was born and everything was fine, but Breck had trouble gaining weight so she was put on a special formula.
Breck spent almost two months in special care because of her small size, but in October she was allowed to go home for the first time.
“We were home until February when Breck had to be hospitalized again due to a lung infection,” Ashley said. “We were there for about a month. We also then found out Breck has Russell-Silver syndrome, which is a rare syndrome. It doesn’t affect her cognitively but it’s a growth-restriction syndrome.”
Breck then went home for a while but the family returned to the hospital March 24. There they would stay for more than two months until returning home May 29.
“It was very scary up there. She coded on us twice. Her lungs were severely damaged at that point and she needed to be on an oscillating ventilator,” said Ashley, explaining that the medical device is rarely used anymore.
“She was given a 10 percent chance of living due to the condition of her lungs and how small she was,” Ashley said.
Breck was in respiratory distress because her lungs were much smaller than a typical baby her age. Doctors sedated and intubated her and, for essentially two months, she was at rest in the hospital.
“My husband was up there with her pretty much the whole time, otherwise we had family up there to advocate for her,” Ashley said.
She said the family is thankful that Justin’s employer, AGCO Corporation, has been great about giving him time with the family and allowing him to work remotely.
Ashley is an occupational therapist and currently the director of rehab at Aegis Therapies.
“I have some medical background so I was always pushing to trial this and trial that. We had really open-minded doctors who gave Breck a chance,” Ashley said.
Because she was intubated for so long, Breck has a little less strength, but Ashley said her daughter has made leaps and bounds.
“She’s hitting all her milestones; she’s just doing it on her own time. She’s two months behind but she’s still moving forward. We’re really thankful that there’s no cognitive deficits at this point,” she said.
Breck is home, on a flow of oxygen. She weighs almost 12 pounds now and is working on feeding. She also began undergoing some therapy to help catch her up.
“She’ll be a small girl. She won’t be 6 feet tall. But she’s healthy and she just needs to grow. Cognitively she’s on track, she’ll just be small,” Ashley said.
Breck has a 4-year-old brother, Gavin.
“He loves her to pieces,” Ashley said.
“We’ve never really been able to be a family. When she got home in May, that was the first time we were able to go on a family walk. It was our first time as a family doing something as simple as that. It was super exciting for all of us,” Ashley said.
Ashley’s parents, Doug and Deb Schultz of Truman, and Justin’s parents, Wendy and Dave Remus of Sleepy Eye, are close and have been able to help the family out over the last year.
“I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have close family,” Ashley admitted.
The family has a primary care doctor in New Ulm, with a team of doctors at the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.
“She’s obviously a miracle. I don’t know how she did it or who was watching over us at that time. We thought we lost her twice but she came back and she’s going on with her life and making great strides,” Ashley said.