A Father's Thoughts
December 1, 2002
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It's amazing how quickly you can be faced with possibility of losing the two people you love most.  And in that moment, it is startling to discover the human capacity for love and compassion.  I never felt my love for my wife as strongly as I did on November 30th, when I was faced with the fact that she might die.  I never felt so attached to my unborn daughter as I did when I prayed that she would make it through this and go on to live a normal life.  I never felt so loved by others as I did that night.
December 3, 2002
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Music has taken on a new meaning for me.  By singing softly to Bailey I can calm and comfort her.  I can actually watch her pulse slow, blood pressure drop, and her oxygen saturation increase.  I rewrote the words to a song he first few days of her life and sing it to her whenever we get time alone.
It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart.
Though you can't say a word, you light up the dark.
Try though I may I can never explain,
What's being said though you can't speak my name.
The sight of your face lets me know that you need me.
There's a truth deep inside, saying you'll never leave me.
The touch of my hand says I'll catch you if ever you fall.
Sometimes it's best to say nothing at all.
All day long I hear people talking out loud.
Though you can't say a word, you drown out the crowd.
Old Mr. Webster could never define,
What's being said between your heart and mine.
The sight of your face lets me know that you need me.
There's a truth deep inside, saying you'll never leave me.
The touch of my hand says I'll catch you if ever you fall.
Sometimes it's best to say nothing at all.
The sight of your face lets me know that you need me.
There's a truth deep inside, saying you'll never leave me.
The touch of my hand says I'll catch you if ever you fall.
Sometimes it's best to say nothing...
Sometimes it's easiest to say nothing...
Sometimes it's best to say nothing at all.
December 10, 2002
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I wait and hope that things will eventually get back to normal.  However, I'm not even sure what normal is anymore.  I was expecting some changes in my life.  After all, my wife and I were expecting our first child.  However, this wasn't what we were expecting.  I'm not even sure if Bailey will have a normal healthy life.
December 15, 2002
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To keep from going crazy I have to try to maintain some level of normalcy in my life.  I force myself to do things for myself.  This helps me to not feel like the world is coming to an end.  However, it's hard not to feel guilty about doing anything but sitting at the hospital.
December 19, 2002
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I pray every day that she will have a normal life.  I will do everything I can to make sure she has a good life.
December 20, 2002
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Christmas is going to be hard.  It will be nice to have family here to visit and spend time with, but I wish Bailey could be with us.  Of course we will spend time at the hospital, but it would be nice if we could all be at home together.
December 22, 2002
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I used to think that finding the perfect job for me and my family was the most important thing on my plate right now.  It's funny how that doesn't seem to be as important any more.  Don't get me wrong.  I still want to find a good job, but now I want to find a job that will let us stay here so Bailey can get the therapy she needs.  Now I want to find a job that will let be home with my wife and daughter as much as possible.  The dream job can wait.  My daughter can't.
December 27, 2002
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While I was holding Bailey today, my wife leaned over and said, "I couldn't imagine not being here with the both of you."  I was a little confused by her statement so she clarified that she couldn't imagine what things would be like if she had died.  I got a lump in my throat.
I'm truly grateful for my wife.  I'm blessed to have her, and Bailey is blessed to have such a terrific mother.
January 1, 2003
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I now understand what people mean when they say they would do anything for their for their children.  In the moments that I thought my wife and baby were going to die, nothing else mattered.  All the money and possessions meant nothing.  I would have gladly given up everything to ensure that they would be OK.  I would still give up everything.  There isn't anything I wouldn't do to save the life of my wife and child.
January 6, 2003
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It is exciting to see Bailey achieve milestones like doubling her birth weight.  At the same time it is scary.  Next week the eye doctor will come and look at Bailey's eyes.  I can remember asking just a few days after Bailey was born when a doctor would come look at her eyes.  They told me it would be at least a month.  I remember feeling like a month would never pass, and here it has more than past.  I'm excited to reach this milestone but also very nervous.  What if she needs surgery, or glasses, or... what if she is blind?  The likelihood of all these things is high because she was so very tiny when she was born.
Fear of the unknown can quickly consume you if you are not careful.
January 7, 2003
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Although we, as a world society, have learned so much during our existence we still have so much to learn.  I am constantly amazed at how little we know.  While it is true that Bailey is being treated in the best way her care givers now how to treat her, much of what they do is guess work.  Yes, their guesses are well educated and come with a lot of experience, and there is no one else I would rather have caring for my daughter, but it does amaze me how little we know.
I have learned a lot form this experience.  It seems that the more I learn, the more I realize how little we truly know.
January 13, 2003
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I don't really worry about Bailey dying any more.  She has had many blessings and each one has said that she will live a long life.  These days I tend to worry more about what kind of life she will have.  Will she be blind?  Will she have heart or lung problems?  What about her kidney condition?  I want her to have a normal healthy life, just like any other child.
It might be selfish of me, but I also think about how any of these complications would affect my life and the life of my wife.  I pray that she will come out of this experience healthy and strong.
January 20, 2003
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It is hard to describe what I feel when Bailey looks right at me.  It makes everything worth it.  When she looks right at me I know that she knows that I am there.  When she hears my voice, and that of my wife, she looks for us.  She doesn't do this for anyone else.  She knows who I am.  She knows when I am there.  I can't begin to explain how that makes me feel.
January 28, 2003
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I have thought about this a lot and keep coming to the same conclusion.  It is hard to explain how I arrived at this conclusion, but I know it is the right one.  I am grateful for this experience.  It has created a new awareness in me of what is really important... my relationship with God and my family.  No matter what the out come, I know that I have been blessed for being a part of this experience.  I don't know if anyone else will understand what I'm trying to say unless they have been through a similar experience, but I feel it just the same.  I am thankful for this experience (and I pray it never happens again).
February 3, 2003
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It would be nice if there were some way to visit Bailey on a daily basis, but only get to see her progress on a weekly or bimonthly basis.  Unfortunately, I'm not ready to give up seeing my daughter at least twice a day and, as a result, I'm faced with seeing her daily progress.  Bailey's daily progress sends myself and her mother on an emotional rollercoaster.  One day she is great, the next she isn't.  This is emotionally draining.  However, over the long run, she always nets progress.  In other words, every two weeks, without fail, she is better off than she was two weeks earlier.  So I'll say it again, it would be nice to see her everyday, but only be faced with her progress every couple of weeks.
For those of you that can't relate, compare it to dieting.  When trying to lose weight it is important not to weigh yourself everyday.  If you do you can easily be discouraged because in the short run you might actually gain weight.  However, if you stick with the program, over the long run you will lose weight.
February 5, 2003
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Statistics are an interesting thing.  While it's true that they can explain the chances of something occurring, they offer no comfort in the information they provide.  For example, let's say there is a 60% chance that I will get a job at a certain company because they hire 60% of all applicants.  Yes, the 60% makes the situation look promising, but if I don't get the job, there is no comfort in the fact that they still hired 60% of the applicants.  The problem is that statistics explain things the aggregate and for me, it is all or nothing.
There is a better than 20% chance my daughter will go blind.  If she goes blind, there is no comfort in the fact that only 20% of children go blind after this surgery.  We are really worried.
February 16, 2003
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It's funny how your perspective changes when you become a parent.  Last night I was singing a song to Bailey.  Some of the lyrics are:
I am a child of God,
and he has sent me here.
Has given me an earthly home,
with parents kind and dear...
When I sang these words, I started to think of my loving parents and how grateful I am for them and the childhood they gave me.  Then it dawned on me that I am Bailey's parent, and that I need to be a parent "kind and dear."  I no longer felt grateful, I felt a huge sense of responsibility.  My life sure is changing.  I'm happy to say, it is changing for the better.
March 9, 2003
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Patience is an interesting thing.  I have been giving a lot of thought lately to what patience is, and what patience isn't.  Today I came to the following conclusion.
Having patience does not mean giving up.  For example, it is not the act of waiting for something to happen when you have stopped caring about the outcome.  It is not an act of patience to wait for an outcome that you have stopped caring about.  Patience is not the act of waiting.  Rather, patience is caring deeply about the outcome of a particular event, but realizing that it might not occur according to your timetable.  Patience is caring about the outcome, but understanding that all things occur according to the Lord's timetable.
I love my daughter.  I love my wife.  I know Bailey will come home, I just don't know when.
March 14, 2003
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One of the hardest things about Bailey's recent step backwards is that she doesn't smile very much anymore.  She isn't happy.  Lately she is either asleep or screaming.  The fact that she is not happy makes the situation all the more difficult to handle.  Before going back to the vent, Bailey would smile in her sleep all the time.  Those little smiles warmed our hearts and supported our hope.  The absence of those smiles has left an empty place in our hearts.  We look forward to their return.
April 2, 2003
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The past month has been hard for me but for reason that are very different than those of the first couple of months in the NICU.  Bailey's progress has slowed, or, at the very least, it is not as visible now as it was the first few months.  In the early months, Bailey made a lot progress every couple of weeks.  This was reassuring and provided me with a stream of feelings that everything was going to be OK.  Now that her progress has slowed I find myself frustrated when it appears like she is not progressing.
I guess it is a tradeoff.  In the early months I got to see my daughter make huge advances in her health, but I was worried about her survival.  Now, I no longer worry about her survival but her progress seems to be at a stand still.  If I had to choose between these two scenarios I would gladly choose the second.  I guess I should count my blessings and joy in the fact that Bailey is almost out of the woods.
May 31, 2003
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It's funny how new priorities can make you willingly and joyfully do things you would have hated doing before.  Waking up in the middle of the night to feed a baby when I have had very little sleep is one example.  Taking time away from hobbies to simply sit on the couch and talk baby talk to my daughter is another.  Last night, I was again surprised by my willingness to do something I would have reluctantly done in the past.  Bailey got four immunizations yesterday and was having trouble sleeping.  At 1:30 AM she woke up with a fever and I willingly drove to the drug store to buy some children's Tylenol.  Yes, I said willingly.  I was even happy to do it.  To tell you the truth.  I felt more like a father while standing in line at Rite Aid at 2:00 AM, dressed in my pajamas, wearing flip flops with a bottle of children's Tylenol in my hand than I every have before.  Funny how that works, isn't it?  It must be a dad thing.  I love being a dad!
July 13, 2003
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I had an interesting conversation with a coworker this past week.  He had recently traveled back East to be with his dying mother.  We were sharing our experiences of spending  time at a hospital when he said something interesting.  He said that his primary purpose in being there was to let his mom know that she is loved and that there are people there for her.  He said that she had lived a long life and that if she passed away it would be the end to a full life.  As we finished our conversation and I thought about what he said I was reminded that I too was at the hospital to let Bailey know that she was loved and that people were there for her.  However, this was the beginning of Bailey's life and I was also there to let my love be a road to recovery from her early entry into this world.
Although we each had spent time in the hospital with a loved one, he was there to say goodbye, and I was there to say hello.  It is amazing to think of how many of the important events in our lives transpire at a hospital.  I am so blessed that Bailey survived and is home with me and my wife know.
August 22, 2005
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It has been over two years since the last time I wrote here.  In that time I have made a few notes about a few events in Bailey's life that were thought provoking as a father.  The following events took place between June 20, 2004 and August 22, 2005.
Bailey has begun asking me to sing to her at night.  It is hard to explain what is like to hear the honest request from your own child to sing to them.  It warms my heart as I knew she wanted something from me to make her feel good.  I love it when she asks me to sing her to sleep.  It is the most pure and simple request I can imagine.
In the fall of 2004 Bailey saw a picture of herself at the hospital.  She was about 3 weeks old in the picture and still hooked up to all of her machines and monitors.  She is sleeping in the picture and has a more or less calm face.  Bailey picked up the picture in it's frame and said, "Baby sad."  These were an emotional two words to hear from my daughter.  I held her for the next several minutes and sang to her.
Sometime around February 2005 Bailey got her first splinter.  As I tried to help her get it out with a needle and tweezers I was reminded of all the times my dad had helped get a splinter out of my hand or foot.  I even rolled up a washcloth and gave it to Bailey to bite on if it hurt too much lust like my dad used to give me.  I really felt like a dad at that moment.
I was asked to give a toast at my brothers wedding July 18, 2004.  The toast centered around enjoying the journey of life as opposed to holding your joy aside as you work to achieve some level of success in life.  When Bailey was in the hospital there were times when her mother and I did not know if she was going to live.  As a result, we had to live to enjoy everyday and not live for the day that she would come home to us.  If we lived for the day that she came home to us there was a possibility that day may never have come.  In addition, we may have taken for granted or overlooked the special things that happened along the way.
I have thought a lot about what I said that night and continue to try and apply it to my life.
March 19, 2006
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Thursday night was emotional.  I want Bailey to have a normal life like all of her friends.  I want her to grow up happy and healthy.  I don't want Bailey to go back to the hospital.  Especially one further away from home than the last time.  However, I am really scared right now for her health.  Her breathing sounds really bad.
I want to protect her, but there is nothing I can do to help her.  All I can do is be there for her and be strong for her.  We will hold a special fast for her on April 9th.  She will receive many priesthood blessings between now and the surgery.  Those are the two things that I can do for her.  I love here so much and just want her to be happy.
June 9, 2006
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Stacey is staying the night with Bailey tonight.  Before I left I sang to Bailey for about 15 minutes.  In that time here pulse went from 127 bpm to 110 bpm.
As parents we like to believe that our children can feel our comforting love through simple acts such as singing to them.  This is physical proof.  Children are so amazing and deserve the best from their parents.  I will work harder to be a better dad.
September 8, 2006
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Many people have told me that Bailey is a miracle.  I have to say that I agree.  She has overcome so much in her life and she is only 3 and a half.  However, I have also come to understand that every birth is a miracle.  To think about how many successful births there are every year is amazing when you think of how many things could go wrong during a birth.  Life is an amazing thing.  It boggles my mind to think that someone can believe that life is nothing more than an evolution that happened as a product of the environment.  I can see God's influence in everything around... especially my children.  I am very grateful for this view of life.
Bailey is my special miracle but I hope that all parents know that they too have their own special miracles of their own.  My son Hayden was a rather uneventful birth (compared to Bailey) and he is every bit as much a miracle as Bailey.  Enjoy your children and marvel in there life and innocence.
July 10, 2007
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It is so nice to have my family back home.  I know it was only a short visit to the hospital (same day surgery)  but it was mentally exhausting.  When you have such a history about something, any slight change in that thing can feel like a repeat of the entire history.  I know it sounds stupid but that is how it felt.  It felt like the whole thing all over again.  Luckily these feelings were only momentary or I am not sure if I would have been able to handle this visit to the hospital.
My wife is amazing.  I am lucky to have her.  She is a very good mother who cares about her kids tremendously.  I hope that I can show my kids half the love she does.  If I do I will be farther ahead than most dads.
It was nice that the surgeries were performed together.  It lowered the risk to Bailey, made for one hospital visit instead of two and should help make the bills more palatable.
I love Bailey so much.  I was proud and honored the night before the surgery to give her a blessing with the help of my brother.  Bailey is old enough now to understand what a blessing is and I could tell it made here feel better.  She even sat still through the whole thing.  Hayden asked for a fathers blessing right after Bailey was done by hoping up in the chair and say, "Dad... me."  I was happy to give him one.
The gospel has really helped me through all of this and I am confident that it will help me through many more trials in the future.  Knowing that God has a plan for each of us is comforting.  I am thankful for all that my kids and wife have taught me about life.  Especially about what is important and what is not.  I am a better person for having known each of them and I pray that I will continue to be the benefactor of their love and support for many more years.  I also pray that they do and will continue to feel the same way about me.