LDS Hospital

(801) 408-1100Map8th Avenue & C StreetSalt Lake City, UT 84143
  • Letters from Dads

    Sam's Story

    As a soon to be first time dad, I was looking forward to my birthday, April 13, because that was the due date for our baby, which we had recently learned would be a boy. I was excited for the 'dad jobs' of painting the baby's room and putting together the crib.

    Suddenly in the middle of the night of January 16th, I found myself in the hospital, and told my wife was going in for an emergency c-section to deliver a baby at 26 weeks, in a hospital not equipped to care for such a premature baby.

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    Fortunately, my wife's condition stabilized and she was able to be transported to LDS hospital.

    She remained on bed rest there for another ten days, until our baby was found to be in distress. My wife went in for an emergency c-section, and immediately after our baby was born, he was handed through the window to the NICU at LDS hospital.

    A nurse later told us, he weighed in at one pound, twelve ounces. It was a birthday present which arrived 12 weeks too soon and made for some worry filled and tense next few weeks.

    My initial concern was for my wife, whose condition was serious and it took some time until I was ready to go in and see our baby. Jefferson was very, very small and had many medical devices connected to him. It was an overwhelming feeling. I felt the burden of taking care of our new little family, trying to be at work and at the hospital, worrying about insurance and medical costs and dealing with concerned family members and friends, who wanted constant updates on our baby's condition.

    While everyone was concerned about baby and mom, no one really asked how I was doing. I found early on, it was up to me, to try to get the rest I needed, to take time to eat and to go for a short walk each night, to help me survive the next two and a half months in the hospital.

    My advice for dads who find themselves unexpectedly with a baby in the hospital is this: Take care of yourself, as no one is likely to do it for you. Get to know other parents in the hospital, so you can find some support with others who are facing the same emotions that you are. And don't be afraid to ask the staff or someone else you trust to talk and listen to you.

    In our case, the outcome could not have been better. Jefferson is now five years old, is starting kindergarten and can read anything you put in front of him. I will never forget the wonderful medical care the doctors and nurses gave to him, to help him and us through a stressful time.

    After you go home, your time in the hospital will become a distant memory. But while you are here, the pressures are real and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the support programs that are available, to help you get through the challenging days ahead.

    Sam Penrod
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