Special thanks to The Oakland Manor for hosting all the new Fort Campbell moms!
The Oakland Manor
9210 Newstead Rd
"My mother called him 'little prince,'" Celine said. "Actually, we have an extravagant life, but we're trying to live as normal as possible." But Celine says she isn't the only one who dotes on René-Charles! "First of all, my mother's supposed to help me. She raised 14 children. She's supposed to constantly ask me, 'When he is going to stop using a bottle? When are you going to send him to school?' She's doing the opposite. She says, 'He's a baby. When you cut the bottle, your baby's gone.'"
After closely monitoring the pregnancy for several weeks, doctors told Eric and Tammy that their baby was in grave danger, and that, though the pregnancy would not be able to go to term, if she were born now her chance of survival was zero percent. The only other option was to try to get Tammy to 27 weeks of pregnancy and then deliver the baby. But even this only offered a less than five percent chance of survival.
Knowing these risks, Tammy and Eric decided to wait as long as possible to allow the baby time to develop. "I prepared myself to give birth to a dead baby," Tammy says. "She was either going to die inside of me and I would still have to give birth, or I was going to be rushed for an emergency delivery."
After making it to 27 weeks, the doctors finally performed a C-section. "She was this little 9-inch thing," Tammy says. "And the first thing I said is, 'Is she alive? Is she breathing?' And the doctor reassured me she was." However, Zoe weighed just 10.8 ounces—smaller than a Barbie doll!—and is the third-smallest baby to survive in the United States and the ninth-smallest baby to survive in the world. Now, nine months later, Zoe weighs eight and a half pounds and is doing great.
Despite this, Eric and Sarah were convinced that he could beat the disease, but were worried the powerful chemotherapy would ruin their dreams of having children. Eric refused to start his treatment until he was able to freeze his sperm. "We did it," Sarah says, "with the entire intention that he was going to beat this and our love was going to save him and that we would have a family together." But after an agonizing four months in and out of the hospital, Eric finally lost his battle.
After his death, Sarah was determined to carry out their dream of having children. "Eric and I discussed this before he died," she says, "and he had actually left me, in his will, the sperm that was frozen, to make sure I wouldn't have any complications moving forward with this dream." When Sarah found a willing doctor, she became the first woman in Colorado history to receive in vitro fertilization with her dead husband's frozen sperm. After the first attempt at in vitro, Sarah got the miraculous news that she was pregnant with twins, Braden Harper and Shae Curran. "I said, 'We did it, baby. We beat cancer.' It took so much of our future. But it wasn't able to take everything."n 2 to 4 pounds.
"We want to. Believe it or not, we needed help to have this one. We tried for six years before. I'm not going to tell the whole story again," says Celine. "But we have a little embryo in New York which was produced at the same time as René-Charles. To be honest with you, there's no way for me as a mom, knowing that this embryo is part of René and me and is waiting for us in this iceberg...I need to bring this baby to the sun. ... I have to give it a try. I have to go there after Vegas. I have to take a long break. I have to go back. Put this baby in my belly and give this baby a chance."
Oprah: How do you get the babies to pose in the flowers?
Anne: Photographing flowers has always been one of my real loves, apart from the babies. So we photograph the flowers first and then we decide where we're going to put the babies and then cut the soft foam shapes and lay the babies in them. It's a little bit more complicated than that and in the computer we put them both together. ... When [the babies are] asleep, they're very supple. They like to be folded. It's like being back in the womb...you see it.
Celine: I'm telling you, doing this was like taking those babies so close to my skin, my neck, I could breathe them. Oh...I wanted to take all of them home!