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Baby girl who weighed little more than pound at birth remains in Longview hospital

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Aug. 18, 2013 at 5:20 a.m.

Many mothers describe their newborn babies as "tiny," but the word truly fits Bailey Danielle Wallace, who weighed 1 pound, 3 ounces when she was born Aug. 1.

Bailey, the daughter of Kaitlin and Chris Wallace of Hughes Springs, has been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Good Shepherd Medical Center since her birth.

Kaitlin Wallace was 23 weeks into her pregnancy when she began premature labor. Bailey is one of the smallest babies ever born at the hospital, officials said.

By comparison, the Salgado quadruplets, born at Good Shepherd Medical Center in 2012, all weighed at least 2 pounds, 9 ounces, at birth. In contrast, the largest baby born at Good Shepherd Medical Center weighed 16 pounds, 1 ounce.

"Everything happened so fast," Kaitlin Wallace said. "I'd only found out that my baby was a girl the week before she was born. We didn't have anything ready for a baby yet."

Hospital officials said Bailey will be able to go home once she reaches about 5 pounds, if she remains healthy. That would likely put her leaving the hospital around the end of November, or about the time when she was due to be born.

Kaitlin Wallace visits her daughter several times a day, staying for an hour or more at a time. Chris Wallace mostly visits in the evenings, when he's off work.

"We've just begun being able to touch her and change her diaper," she said. "It's a little scary, because she's so small, but I want to do things like that for my baby; it helps us feel more like we're really parents."

So far, brain scans indicate that Bailey is developing normally, she said.

"I'm hearing a lot of stories from other people who had premature babies who are now fine, healthy children," Wallace said. "Those stories are helping me to hang on and believe that things will be OK."

Wallace is asking the community to pray that Bailey continues to grow and develop normally. She and her sister, Britney Lloyd, showed up at the hospital Wednesday wearing shirts that said "Prayers for Bailey."

"I love her so much, and the nurses and doctors here have been outstanding," Wallace said. "This isn't the way we thought parenthood would start off for us, but we're going to get through it and bring her home."

Between visits to the hospital, Wallace and her husband are also starting to get a room in their home ready for Bailey, she said.

"I'm only 19, so I've got a lot to learn, but this has been kind of a crash-course in parenting," Wallace said.

Bailey's grandparents - Cindy and Ronald Sloan and Danny and Susan Wallace - have been a source of tremendous support in helping her young parents deal with the stress of having a premature baby, she said.

Nurse Stephanie Capt, the clinical director of NICU and pediatrics, said while there are always challenges and complications with a premature birth, Bailey is doing well.

"We've had a lot of small babies here, and so our staff is very experienced with dealing with these patients and their parents," Capt said.

Each infant is an individual who reacts differently to the stress of being born earlier than expected, Capt said, describing Bailey as a fighter.

"She holding her own," Capt said. "The babies call the shots, and we just support them in any way we can as they grow and develop."

The hospital handles about 2,700 births every year, and about 400 babies annually spend at least one night after birth in the NICU, she said.



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