Week One
Sunday, December 1, 2002
(Click here to go to Father's thoughts)
Weight:     1 lbs. 5 oz. (600 grams)
Ab. Girth: 16.5 cm
Head:        22 cm
Although we didn't sleep much during the night with all the nurses coming and going from Stacey's room, it was still nice that the day didn't really get going until about 10:30 am.  When I got up I went to check on Bailey.  She was doing well so I went back to visit with my wife.  Stacey was more awake now and it was the first chance we had to talk about anything.  I could tell she was uncomfortable so I kept the conversation light.  She mostly wanted to know how her daughter was doing.  The Magnesium they were giving her for her condition was making her very warm and she continually complained about how hot the room was.
At 12:00 I picked up the phone and began calling a few people to make sure that everyone would be at the hospital by 4:30 pm to help with Bailey's blessing.  Stacey talked to few people on the phone as well.  We talked to Stacey's brother and gave him a list of things that we needed from home so that he could bring them with him when he came to visit later that day.  For the next four and half hours I bounced between Stacey's room on the fourth floor and Bailey's bed on the fifth floor.  I took some people into see Bailey and some people visited with Stacey.  At about 4:15 everyone had arrived and we were all in Stacey's room.  It was very somber and quite in the room.  Every was just standing there quietly looking at Stacey.  I couldn't help but think that if Stacey was awake she would have pulled the covers up over her head.
I was amazed at how pale Stacey was and I continually asked the nurses if this was normal.  They reassured me that everything was fine, but I still felt uneasy about her coloring.  The nurses had been coming and going all afternoon trying to draw blood samples from Stacey without any success.  As a result, Stacey's arms each had over 15 sticks in them.  She looked like a connect-the-dots puzzle.
At a little after 4:30 we headed up stairs to the NICU to give Bailey a blessing.  There were several people that participated.  Eric (brother-in-law), Ken (Eric's dad) and Brian (Eric's brother) Messmer, Jonas Staker (brother-in-law), Robert Lindbloom (brother-in-law), Mark Strong (uncle) and myself all participated.  It was touching and comforting.  I began crying as soon as I began the blessing, but was comforted when the blessing stated that Bailey would live a long life.
I stayed with Bailey a little while longer in the NICU and then walked back to Stacey's room with some of my family.  My Uncle Mark told me that he had spoken to my father and asked if there was anything he could do.  My dad told him that if he were there he would have asked me if I wanted a blessing.  So my Uncle Mark asked me in my dads absence and I said yes.  He said he would be happy to give me a blessing as soon as we got back to Stacey's room.  I accepted.
As we approached Stacey's room I could tell something wasn't right.  Sydney (Stacey's sister) approached me and told me not to be alarmed but that Stacey had internal bleeding, and, as a result of her low blood level, the dosage of magnesium that she was receiving was too high.  Stacey was both bleeding to death and suffering from magnesium poisoning.  At this point I was very overwhelmed.  I walked into the room and into the chaos.  One nurse told me that Stacey's magnesium level was so high that she should have stopped breathing.  The same nurse also told me that Stacey's hematocrit was 18.  This is an indicator of how much blood is in a persons body.  A normal person might be between 40 and 55.  Stacey's was less than half the normal level.
My Uncle Mark told me that he would be happy to come back later that night to give me a blessing.  I asked Eric to come back with him and then asked for a few minutes alone with my wife.
When the room was quite, I held Stacey's hand and kissed it softly.  She moved her head my direction but kept her eyes closed.  With tears streaming down my face I begged her not to leave me alone to raise our daughter.  I loved her so much and I wanted our daughter to know her mother.  I told her that Bailey was beautiful and that she wanted her mom to get better so that they could get to know each other.
At this point the door opened again and a nurse came in.  They had me sign a bunch of paper work so that they could give Stacey blood.  I asked if I could donate my blood, but the nurse said there was no time for that.  While beginning Stacey's first infusion they informed me that Stacey would be moved to the ICU where she could be more closely monitored.
The evening never slowed down.  My head felt like a top that was never going to stop spinning.  At about 8:00 pm Uncle Mark and Eric (and their wives) came back to the hospital.  I sat in a chair in Stacey's hospital room received a very comforting blessing.  We visited for a few more minutes and then two nurses from the ICU arrived to take Stacey to the second floor ICU.
Stacey's brother and his wife stayed on the fourth floor with all of Stacey's personal items that they had delivered earlier that day.  I went with the nurses and Stacey.  Our first stop was to get Stacey a CAT Scan.  They knew Stacey was bleeding internally, but they didn't know from where she was bleeding.  I cringed as they moved her from bed to machine and back.  Stacey was in a lot of pain and I knew that it hurt her to be moved.  The CAT Scan didn't take long and we were off to her new ICU room.  When we arrived I was disappointed to see that there was no fold out bed to sleep on and no shower (I hadn't found any time to shower yet).  I didn't say anything, and figured I would sleep in one of the rocking chairs in the NICU (although I really wanted to sleep near my wife). 
The doctor came in right away and gave Stacey a central line in her neck.  This is a catheter that runs down her jugular to just above her heart.  As soon as it was in, Stacey was given another bag of blood.  She would be given a total of three bags before the night was over.  At about 10:00 things began to slow down.  Stacey's brother and his wife brought down Stacey's personal items and then left.
I went upstairs to visit Bailey and returned a little later.  Stacey's urinary catheter was causing her some discomfort so I stayed with her to help in anyway I could.  Stacey finally fell asleep at about 1:00 am.  At this point I went upstairs to be with Bailey.  After visiting with Bailey I sat down in one of the rocking chairs at 3:00 am and tried to go to sleep.  At 4:00 am one of the nurses must have felt bad for me and showed me to an empty sleeping room.  On my way into the sleeping room I noticed a basket full of crackers.  I grabbed two hands full and went into the room.  I stuffed myself on crackers (I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten), took the battery out of the clock that made a audible tick-tock sound, and crashed on the bed.  I hadn't slept since Friday morning, and I was exhausted.
During all of this excitement, Bailey was started on Dopamine for her low blood pressure.  The Echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) showed a normal and well functioning heart.  The Echoencepalography (head ultrasound) showed no cranial bleeds.  Cranial bleeds are very common in preemies, especially in the first 72 hours.  I had been informed of all of this throughout the day and did my best to keep Stacey informed as well.  I took this picture right before I sat down in the rocking chair to try and sleep.  It is one of my favorites.  The lights form the photo-therapy she was receiving made her look as if she were glowing.
Monday, December 2, 2002
Weight:     1 lbs. 2.5 oz. (525 grams)
Ab. Girth: 17 cm
I woke up at about 9:00 am.  I felt guilty for sleeping so late and immediately went to visit Bailey.  The nurse then gave me some disheartening news.  She told me that Bailey had been given another Echocardiogram at 8:30 am and that it showed that Bailey had a PDA.  In every persons heart there is a little valve that is supposed to close at birth.  This valve is open before we are born so that the oxygenated blood from the mother can pass directly into the heart of the baby without passing through the lungs.  When we are born, we have to oxygenate our own blood so it becomes necessary for the blood to pass through the lungs.  A PDA is the term used to describe the condition that occurs when this valve doesn't close.
There are two things that can be done to treat the PDA.  First, Bailey will be given Indomethicin.  This can be given up to three times.  If Bailey responds well the PDA will simply go away.  If this doesn't work, Bailey will have to be taken an hour North to Primary Children's Hospital for surgery.  My heart sank.  I didn't want her to go anywhere.
At 10:00 am I went back down to the ICU.  Stacey had not yet stopped bleeding and the nurse said that the doctor was considering surgery.  Stacey was bleeding from the incision on her uterus.  The doctor didn't want to have to do the surgery, but would if Stacey's body didn't heal itself.  I told Stacey the news about Bailey.  We were both overwhelmed with the thought of two surgeries.  I couldn't help but at times to feel like they were both going to die and I would be left all alone.
Stacey's sister Sydney arrived to do Stacey's makeup and hair (I don't understand girls).  Stacey's medications made her blowup like a balloon.  As you can see in this picture she was really puffy.
Stacey was given some platelets to help her stop bleeding and then the nurse helped me to push her up to the NICU to see Bailey.  It was touching to see Stacey and Bailey interact for the first time.  Stacey even cried a little.
By the time night rolled around again, the nurse had found me a recliner to sleep in.  It wasn't the most comfortable place to sleep but at least I got to sleep next to my wife.
Tuesday, December 3, 2002
(Click here to go to Father's thoughts)
Weight:     1 lbs. 6 oz. (620 grams)
Bailey had another Echocardiogram at 7:45 am that showed she had not yet responded to her medication.  The PDA was still there.
Today was Stacey's first time pumping (her breasts for milk).  I was visiting Bailey at the time, but Stacey said it went as well as could be expected for someone in her condition.
Stacey was given two more bags of blood today and more platelets.
I visited Bailey several times today, but Stacey was too tired.  She really wanted to visit her daughter, but she simple didn't have the strength.
I finally found a place to shower and took a very long shower.  I also left the hospital for the first time since we arrived on Saturday.  Stacey's boss called and told me I should get away for a little while.  He offered to take me to dinner and I accepted.  I had never been so hungry for real food in my entire life.  I was looking forward to a real meal, but I didn't want to leave Stacey.  Stacey's brother stayed with her while I was gone.  Stacey's mom and sister from Oregon arrived from Oregon a little after dinner time.
I spent the evening with Stacey who was growing increasingly agitated.  She really wanted to get some sleep but was finding it impossible to do so because of all the things connected to her.  She simply could not get comfortable.  At about 10:00 pm the nurse brought in a drug called Adavant.  He explained that this drug would do one of two things.  Either it would help her sleep, or it would make her confused and agitated.  By 11:00 pm Stacey had received several doses of Adavant that totaled to the maximum possible dosage she could receive.  She was still unable to sleep.  At a little after 11:00 Stacey tried to sit up, unplug everything, and get out of bed.  I held her down and frantically looked for the button to page the nurse.  Stacey shared a few choice words with me and then fell asleep.  I waited 15 minutes and she was still asleep.  At this point I needed a break and went for a walk.
When I got back, Stacey's nurse was sitting outside of Stacey's room watching her through an observation window.  I looked inside, noticing that Stacey was in the recliner next to the bed and asked what had happened.  The nurse explained that he ran into the room when Stacey's monitors showed she had flat lined.  She was sitting at the edge of her bed trying to stand up and she had unplugged all of her monitors.  He said that the only way she would settle down was if he let her sit in the recliner so he did.  He was now watching her to make sure she stayed in the chair.  Noticing I had no place to sleep, I went upstairs to visit Bailey.
When I returned at about 2:00 am Stacey was back in her bed.  I asked the nurse what had happened and he shared a rather interesting story.  Unfortunately, this story is classified as one of Stacey's most embarrassing moments and therefore I cannot share it.  If you want to know what happened you will have to ask her.  However, I did notice that Stacey was now sleeping soundly so I went back up stairs to say good night to Bailey and sleep in the sleeping room.
Wednesday, December 4, 2002
Weight:     1 lbs. 4.5 oz. (572 grams)
Bailey was given another Echocardiogram at 9:20 am that showed no PDA.  This was the first good news we had had in several days.  As soon as I heard I ran down to tell Stacey.  Of course, there was always a chance that the PDA would return, but this was still very good news.  Bailey was also given another Echoencepalography that again showed no cranial bleeding.
Stacey went for a field trip today to the cafeteria.  She had finally stopped bleeding and we wanted to celebrate the good news of the day.  She later told me she can't remember the trip to the cafeteria where she ate with everyone visiting, or much of the trip to visit Bailey after lunch, but that's OK.  She problem didn't remember much because her new best friend was her PCA (patient controlled anesthesia).  This is a device that lets her give herself her own painkillers.  She loved it.
I left the hospital for two hours today to make sure my Master's Thesis was progressing through the hands of my graduate committee towards my oral defense.
Thursday, December 5, 2002
Weight:     1 lbs. 7 oz. (649 grams)
Feedings: .9 cc of Breast Milk
Bailey was given another Echocardiogram this morning that still showed no PDA.  They also began giving Bailey her first feedings.  She continues to get her IV feedings, but the sooner she can tolerate breast milk, the sooner they will be able to wean her from the IV feedings over to the milk.
Stacey's urinary catheter was removed first thing this morning.
Stacey got out of the ICU today and moved back to the fourth floor at about 2:00 pm.  Before she left the ICU the central line in her neck was taken out.  Stacey's nurse had a student nurse help remove the line.  She tugged a little hard on the line before it was ready to come out (it was still stitched to Stacey's neck) and I could tell the student nurse was embarrassed.  She flushed red.  Once she finally pulled the line out she was standing next to Stacey holding gauze on her neck.  All of a sudden it got quiet in the room and we all looked at the student nurse.  She was white as a sheet.  The nurse asked her if she needed to sit down and she said yes.  She turned, took one step for the door and collapsed.  Our nurse helped her out of the room and went to find her teacher.  Meanwhile I go to hold the gauze to Stacey's neck only to be yelled at to put gloves on.  I grabbed the only two gloves I could see and put them on.  Unfortunately one glove was large and the other was a small.  I must wear a medium because one glove was so small I couldn't even open my hand and the other was so big it was a struggle to keep it on my hand.  The nurse returned a short time later and helped finish the job.
Stacey visited Bailey on her way back to the fourth floor.
Stacey wore clothes (scrubs) for the first time today since arriving at the hospital.  I left again for about 2 hours to attend to my thesis, while family stayed with Stacey.
Friday, December 6, 2002
Weight:     1 lbs. 8.5 oz. (689 grams)
Feedings:  1 cc of Breast Milk
Ab. Girth: 17.5 cm
BM Morn: 2 Meconium
BM Eve:   2 Meconium
Bailey pooped for the first time today.  Her feedings were also slightly increased.  These are small steps, but at least they are heading in the right direction.
Stacey's blood pressure was high enough today that it was making her nauseous.  The nurse came in and gave her a shot to help with the nausea that Stacey said hurt like crazy.  Stacey was also able to take her first shower in six days.  She said it felt great.
I left for a few hours to again check on my thesis and to turn in my time card.
Many people sent flowers and other items to show their support.  While not all of these things are included in this picture I wanted to take a picture of them so that we could always remember them.
Sarah (Stacey's sister from Oregon) brought some games to the hospital and we played them after dinner.  In fact, we played the longest game of speed scrabble in the history of the world.  Stacey was too tired to play so Sarah left and we went to bed.  Actually, Stacey and I talked for about an hour and then went to bed.  I was very happy that my wife was still alive and with me.
Saturday, December 7, 2002
Weight:     1 lbs. 7.5 oz. (663 grams)
Feedings:  Stopped
Head:       22 cm
Bailey's feedings were stopped today.  She simple wasn't digesting the milk she was being given.  The nurse said they would try again when the doctor felt Bailey was ready.  We spent a lot of time with Bailey today.  She is looking so cute and is doing quite well.
I went out and got Stacey a pizza for dinner.  Although her blood pressure was still high, she had a healthy appetite and the hospital food wasn't doing it for her.  I picked the pizza up after leaving the hospital for a few hours.  I had to go to the mall to do some Christmas shopping.