GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – A Greensboro family has celebrated a milestone this Christmas.
One-year-old Karter Stultz, considered a miracle baby, spent his first Christmas at home. He was born prematurely last December and spent several months in the hospital.
Now a year later he’s celebrated the holiday in the comfort of home surrounded by loved ones.
It’s what his parents, Harold and Brandi Stultz, have looked forward to all year. “He was just that critical,” said Brandi Stultz. “I never thought we’d leave the hospital with him.”
Through the challenges, the Stultz are grateful to have Karter in their lives. “It’s just a blessing to be home,” she said. “We spent a lot of holidays in the hospital.”
However, this Christmas the toddler has discovered the excitement of unwrapping presents, checking out Christmas lights and exploring what’s under the tree.
The Stultz struggled to have children. Brandi had a miscarriage in 2018 and used in vitro fertilization to have Karter in late 2020.
“We rode the pregnancy out during the pandemic and then I ended up with preeclampsia,” Stultz said.
The complications landed her at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem last December.
“It was just a whirlwind from there,” she said. “I got admitted on the [December] 2nd and he was born on the [December] 4th and then it was just the whole time like struggling with him because he wasn’t doing good.”
She gave birth at 24 weeks pregnant. Karter weighed 1 pound, 6.9 ounces. His tiny wrists were smaller than the size of Harold’s wedding band.
“They told us he was a strange case just because they already told us they didn’t know if they had equipment to fit him to begin with,” Stultz said.
Instead of sleeping in a crib, the little fighter spent months in the Brenner Children’s Hospital NICU. He was inside an incubator and hooked up to breathing machines. Harold and Brandi didn’t get to hold their baby boy until the New Year.
“He was just so critical that it was a roller coaster with him,” she said. “One day he’d be good, the next day he’d be bad, one day he’d be good, the next day he’d be bad.”
The roller coaster lasted four months. Then, over time Karter grew bigger and stronger. In March he was strong enough to go home.
“We prayed over him every day,” Stultz said. “There were so many churches, so many family members, friends, there were a lot of prayers over him.”
She told FOX8 it was God’s love and prayers from the community that made this Christmas with Karter possible.
“The faith was there every day no matter how bad he was doing,” she said. “We knew deep down this was another obstacle we had to overcome.”
Karter has grown into his age and only has regular checkups.
“There was so much uplifting,” said Harold Stultz. “It helped give us the comfort knowing that we’re not fighting it alone, that he has other people that are here backing him up too.”