The Legend

The Legend

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Personal Story

It was a big day at Bob Walk the Plank headquarters as my daughter took her first steps.  It happened while I was at work but thankfully my wife was right there to see the action and called me right away. This is always a big deal to parents, but let me give you the back story to why it was extra special for us

About 21-22 weeks into the pregnancy my wife's doctor noticed the baby was growing a little slower than normal.  We were referred to the high risk area of the hospital in which they ordered my wife to go on bed rest.  A few weeks pass and the doctors still weren't seeing the needed progression and checked my wife into the hospital so she could have 24/7 observation.

Obviously we were pretty nervous, but my wife was feeling fine and we figured they would just monitor her for the weekend and send her back home on bed rest.  The very same day my wife falls extremely ill.  A slew of tests were run and they see that her enzyme levels are bottoming out to where it was a life threatening situation for her.  The only cure was to get the baby out.  We were just at the 25 week mark of the pregnancy.

They deliver the baby and get my wife into recovery.  I was only given a brief glimpse of my daughter and she was immediately rushed away.  It turns out my wife was suffering from something called HELP Syndrome and pre-eclampsia in which the only cure is delivery of the baby.  It is very rare.  She began balancing back pretty quickly in recovery.

The doctor comes in and gives me an update and tells me that our daughter was born at only 14.5 ounces.  He was super professional, but told us that survival was unlikely and that the first 24 hours would be critical.

Needless to say we were devastated.  We were first time parents and to get news that your baby has very little chance of survival leaves you numb.  You have a million questions.  No sleep that night.

After making it through the first night my wife and I finally got our first look at our daughter. I knew she was small but the first sight was overwhelming.


That is my hand.  Yeah....she was really small.

A few days later my wife was able to check out of the hospital.  This began a stretch of four months in the hospital for my daughter.

We had many ups and downs while we were in the hospital.  Our daughter was incubated for over 70 days, had heart surgery and fought infection just to name few of the obstacles.  We were constantly nervous and were scared every time we would see the hospital calling.  

Thankfully she fought through all of her obstacles. We brought her home early November 2013. She would stay on oxygen all the way through early spring so her little lungs wouldn't have to work overtime. 

The doctors are constantly telling us how she is a miracle.  Odds were against survival to begin with and then we were constantly told that we should expect some type of severe impairment.  Knock on wood, but other than being very small nothing has shown up yet.  We have already shared her story at a regional NICU conference, and my mother law is representing us to give the story at the national conference in Chicago in a couple of weeks.  Doctors are very curious to why her case turned out so well.

To wrap things up I often say that I started the blog with the idea of sharing my collection and creating trade partners which is true.  What gave me the time was watching my daughter at all hours of the night to make sure her oxygen stayed attached while she slept.  I needed something to keep me occupied so I wouldn't fall asleep when it was my turn to keep an eye on her.  In a roundabout way it was my daughter who helped create Bob Walk the Plank.

It's nice to hear stories with happy endings!


Here is Luisa in a picture taken on Monday.  She has come a long way.

Thanks for reading!

47 comments:

  1. Cool story! She does sound like a little miracle. You didn't go with the low-hanging fruit title of "Baby walks the plank," I see.

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  2. One word for your story Matt.

    Fantastic!!!

    Thank you for sharing and showing off a picture of your daughter!

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    1. Thanks Robert. It has been a long ride, but she ceases to amaze.

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    1. Thanks Wes. I think some of those early packages you sent me weighed more than her!

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  4. That post was beautiful Matt. I'm so glad to know that your family has come a long way. Hope it continues to get brighter for you and your family man :).

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    1. Thanks! It was a scary time, but it seems like a 100 years ago. If you would meet her you would never know she spent a good chunk of her life in the hospital.

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  5. I used to work with a kid who was born real small like your daughter. He was a strong, and very smart kid. He's doing real good for himself, that's why I no longer work with him.

    Just fighting through what she already has shows she's got that same toughness..Hope she keeps that toughness, and has many more moments like taking her first steps today.

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    1. We really enjoyed hearing stories of other preemie kids being successful. When things were going rough we really leaned heavily on any positives.

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  6. Dig that smiling face! That is one adorable little girl.

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    1. She definitely lights up a room. Always smiling.

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  7. Great news. Glad it's going well. A kid in NICU is the scariest feeling I ever had and it wasn't near as serious as that.

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    1. You feel helpless all the time. The best thing to do is educate yourself and ask lots of questions. Our NICU encouraged parents to join in the doctors rounds so you can be as updated as possible.

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  8. Wonderful and upbeat story....thanks so much for sharing it.

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    1. I enjoy telling the story. Thanks for the kind words.

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  9. thanks for sharing that great story ! Life isn't just about cards, of course, but trading also brings people together. We don't know each other very well (yet !), but that story moved me nonetheless.

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    1. Thanks Kevin. I just like how in a roundabout way she helped create Bob Walk the Plank.

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  10. I'm a little late to the commenting party, but man, what a great story to start off the morning! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on some huge first steps!

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    1. Thanks Tom. It has been fun for us to watch her achieve so much already.

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  11. I'm even later than Tom, but that's an excellent story and a great rebound by your daughter. Congratulations on her development. She'll always be your special little princess.

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    1. Thanks Tony. I always joke with my wife that once she is old enough to comprehend her story she could use it to get whatever she wants.

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  12. Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I've had a rough week at work, but this post was a great way to kick off my Thursday. Congratulations to your daughter's first steps!

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    1. She always cheers me up if I have a rough day.

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  13. What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing! Looks like you've got an amazing little girl there!

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  14. That's such a great story! I'm glad she is doing well, and congratulations on the first steps.

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    1. Thanks William! She is tiny, but overall doing great!

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  15. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Luisa since she came home from the hospital as I am a fairly regular visitor at Matt's house. She is truely an AMAZING kid! And luckily for her, she looks like her mother!

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    1. I'm glad she looks like her Mom too. Pale and lanky is not the greatest combination.

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  16. Wow, amazing story. Really happy that everything has taken such a positive turn for you guys!

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    1. Thanks! It has been a roller coaster ride, but she is progressing nicely.

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  17. Nothing wrong with pale and lanky (I fit the mold!) but great story, many more happy things to come!

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    1. Pale lanky people unite! Thanks Brad. I'm glad her story is getting such a nice response. I was getting ready to talk about a new card I got and the post turned into this.

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  18. Great story! Had me tearing up a little, reading it here at work on my lunch break. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. I'm an advocate of living in the "now". Children do this so naturally. No doubt that Luisa brings this precious awareness to you and your wife everyday. A moving and miraculous story! Thanks so much for sharing Luisa with us!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Julie. She is our miracle!

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  20. Matt. Absolutely amazing. Great story. What a beautiful little girl. Makes the first steps even more precious ..

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    1. Thanks Mark! We like to share the story as much as possible. When Luisa was sick we loved hearing stories like this because it gave us something to hold our hat on.

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  21. Wow, what a story. Truly amazing progress and so glad you shared. She sounds like a great little girl and you must be a very proud dad.

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    1. Thanks! We are extremely grateful and proud.

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  22. Great story.
    We get all caught up on cards and such and we have to realize their is more.
    Thank you for sharing the store.
    She is adorable.

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  23. Better late to the party than never, I always say!
    Hopefully not too late for a corny but heartfelt:
    "One small step for Luisa, One giant leap for your family."

    Thanks for telling us your story, Matt. My youngest son also spent time in the NICU - for different reasons (he was born a blue baby. no oxygen). I know a little bit how you felt.
    I'm so glad she's progressing and you have the joy of those first steps. Now if you'll excuse me, Im gonna run over and give my son a great big hug!

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    1. Thanks for the nice words! Being in the NICU is such a helpless feeling. Thanks for sharing your story too!

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  24. This is a really great story. I've got two daughters of my own, so I know the worries and joys of being a parent. I'm glad that, against all odds, your daughter fought through the obstacles in front of her and that you can take joy in her first steps(and all of the firsts to come). Thanks for sharing.

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