8 Weeks = 2 Months! April 19th, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy Easter and belated Passover!  🐰🐣🐥💐

Today our little boy is 34 weeks, and 2 months out of mama.
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It was a BIG week for the Spaldens! Here we are on our last day in the U of Colorado NICU, in cardinal red and Stanford gear- ready for the big move!

Mr. Alden Charles Spahn must have known exactly what was up, because he was very wide eyed and alert that day.

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Mama explained the trip ahead, and while he was excited to go to California, he knew he would miss all the wonderful caregivers in Colorado who lovingly tended to him during his first weeks of life.
As we took a last lap around the NICU, Kirk started crying, and then I did too…  So many feelings, and memories..!
An awesome team arrived to transport the peanut into a massive capsule for his flight out west.
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He fit in snug as a bug…

It was tricky trying to maneuver the capsule into the small jet..

But our team figured it out!

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We enjoyed scenic views out the window..
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And then we Arrived…!But then….
☠️😱😳💀😵😰👺😥😨😥😩😩😩DISASTER.

In the spirit of trying to stay positive, I will spare you the dissertation I could write on the horrors of the Stanford NICU, and simply say… it was like going from rolling green pastures, to a loud, bright, chaotic, metal farm factory surrounded by sick babies with no privacy, space, or quiet to kangaroo our child.
When I told Kirk on the phone, he thought I was exaggerating.. then he walked in, froze, and declared: “We need to get th F- out of here”

Thus began a 24 hr panic/sob fest where were wracked our brains to get back to the free range fields of our Colorado NICU. We would pay out of pocket if we had too..

WHEN…

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baby boy did something marvelous!With the help of sea level air, A.C got off of his hi-flow tube onto Low flow, which qualified him for a level 2 NICU. The very next day we got a transfer to Sequoia hospital, a much more peaceful space that serves as a satellite nursery for Stanford 🙌💃🍾

While Sequoia is still not as great as the U of Colorado- it is a zillion times better than Stanford, and we are relieved and Grateful to be there.

Seeing the Dr. Seuss quote there made made us feel at home..

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But WOW, guys.. How LUCKY were we to end up in Colorado in the first place!?! I was appreciative then, but even more so now that I know what’s out there. We must have angels.  👼🙏🌟

In the meantime, Great aunties Betsie and Barbie have visited our boo

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And we’re back on the Kangaroo program….
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While you may think this is a Sears catalogue shoot for discount pashminas, it’s actually my besties visiting me in Woodside enjoying the fresh, brisk air.
Thank you Julie, Janelle and Kristien for making the flight up north!
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Charlie too loves his walks in Woodside..

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On Saturday we had a family reunion in Atherton..
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And then another one in Woodside for Easter..
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Overall, Alden is doing great. He’s had few episodes (de-sats and bradies) due to the new low-flow, changes and adjustments.. but he’s our little champ.
Thank you all for letting us share this journey with you so far.. !
Xoxo
The Spladens 👪
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Week 7- April 9th, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

Well the weather here has the ups and downs of a newborn baby in the NICU. One moment it’s this:
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And the next morning you wake up to this..
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But despite the lows (like that time Alden turned blue, rolled his eyes back in his head and they couldn’t get him to breathe because…turns out there was a kink in his Oxygen tube… 😱😳😰😫. Mama bear was none too pleased), he is blossoming into beautiful baby boy who’ now rocking Hi-Flo (Hi-✋🏼!)

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What a little peanut!
He now weighs 4lb, 3 ounces and you can see the growth in his new footprints on the right. 👣

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And look how peaceful he is under that blanket as he Kangaroos mommy… 😌
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So sweet…!

But..

If I’m being candid, he had a moment when they first took him off Cpap.

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(Am I the worst mom for that? Okay, now scroll back up again to see how cute he really is)

Btw, Alden‘s pod is between Kanikikalala and Sladanaruvalcaba’s.
No joke

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(And they put the Name Alert on Thomas…?)
In the meantime, Kirk and Charlie are beginning to look alike.
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And while Charlie enjoys hallway fetch, he really prefers to feel the wind in his hair.

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We’ve connected with amazing peeps in Denver. Thank you to Dartmouth buddy Billy Wynne and wife Christy for introducing us to the most delicious Japanese restaurant!

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And speaking of food, I’m developing something of a Gourmet Gummy Bear addiction. (Hey- they have 100% Vitamin C and are only $1.99 at Target!)

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And for the thrilling news?
We’re transferring to Stanford on Monday afternoon! 🛩 Mommy gets to fly on the Lear jet with the peanut and medical team (thank you insurance!), and Kirky and Charlie will fly seperately on Virgin America ✈️

I can’t believe it has now been 7 weeks. Those first weeks felt like 7 years, and now it all seems to have flown by! I prayed for this moment.. to see a cute chubby baby healthy enough for a transfer, and here we are.
His due date is still not for another month and a half, but it is a relief to see him developing so well. We are just in awe of him.

XOXO
The Spaldens~

Ps: the flowers survived the snow storm..

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Week 6 – April 2nd

Dear Friends and family,

Today our little boo is 6 weeks old! Well, he’s still not supposed to be born until May 24th, but he’s been out of the oven and baking in Aurora for 6 weeks..
Weighing in at almost 4lbs now, he could totally take on that VOGUE magazine..
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Look how sweet he is!
Friday he had his big eye exam and is exactly were he’s supposed to be for a 32 weeker. (Which I guess means going cross-eyed at moments is perfectly fine for now.. 🙄)
And you can see in better lighting how blonde he is! Brows, lashes and all..
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Kirk and I are getting into the swing of things in Colorado. We’ve found some amazing food joints. Who knew once you get out of the chain restaurant ruck there are incredible  farm to table places here?! A foodie’s paradise!
We’ve also been lucky enough to have some home cooked meals- Thanks Jeff Salzenstein and parents Jan and Miles for the incredible rack of lamb! (Sorry Vegan friends)
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(Ladies, Jeff is single… 😏)
Also, thanks to the Favre family (er, Beers) for the delicious gluten free Lasagna.
And nothing could beat the Umbrella show performance we had after dinner. #PartyTime
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Tommy Haas made a special Denver stop to see our A.C! (Happy birthday to Tommy tomorrow!!! 🎊🎈🎁🎉🎂)
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And Uncle Chris and Aunt Daphne flew out to visit as well 🙂
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They managed to escape with Kirk to a local Escape Room.. which of course was nothing like the one Chris designed at the Palace of Fine Arts in SF 😏(Palace-Games.com plug!)
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As for Charlie, he digs playing fetch down the endlessly long hallways of our hotel..
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He’s also gotten into March Madness 🏀
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It seems my pump schedule through the night is really taking a toll on the boys, though..

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Kirk and I are still Kangarooing the boo for hours everyday, and enjoying all the fun gifts y’all are sending- like this swanky Beverly Hills Hotel bear (thanks Steve and Katia!)
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I asked the NICU nurses if they can tell a difference between babies who get a lot of Kangaroo time and those who don’t. They said though Alden is alert and lively, he’s a lot calmer than the other babies there. The ‘roo time is certainly a part of it.. also they said it could be genetics or the fact I didn’t do drugs when I was pregnant ( low bar in the NICU).
Before we ‘roo the Boo, we go to Moo. 🐄🍦
Moo is our local ice-cream spot where we get our daily shake on (and I wonder why I’m the only person to keep putting weight on after the baby’s born.. I’m trying to up my milk production! 😝🍼)
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 You can just see the look of sheer joy and delight in Kirk’s eyes when we first discovered the joint.
On Monday we’re going to try again to get Alden off his Cpap (the mask) and back on Hi-Flow (the tube).
Depending on how this goes, it looks like we may get a transfer to Stanford Hospital as early as next Thursday!!
Kirk and I will be living in my childhood home in Woodside until A.C is out of the hospital and construction on our house in LA is completed this summer.
Pretty neat my son will be coming home to the same place I did when I returned from Stanford hosptial as a newborn.
(And like his grandma Connie Spahn was born near Denver..!)
Thank you all for your continued love and support.
Despite the challanges we face, you make us feel like the luckiest for having such incredible people in our lives. 😌
Xoxo
The Spaldens
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ps: Our address from mid April- to late June 🏡
Jenny & Kirk Spahn
440 Manzanita Way
Woodside, CA
94062

Nearly 5 Weeks- March 24th

Dear friends and family- it seems to be that time people are checking in again for another update… So here you go!

Spring is springing in Aurora!
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And so too is our little boo.
Here’s a pic of him off his Cpap scuba gear onto the High-Flo tube. This upgrade lasted a whole 12 hours before he had to go back onto Cpap thanks to constant “Bradies” (when your child turns blue from his heart completely stopping.. things you get used to in the NICU 🙄)

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But come on, how cute is he?.. Yes, he resembles the monkeys in Ubud, but we’re completely smitten. 🐒

We think Kirk set a record for the longest Kangaroo care in one setting.. almost 5 hours!..of not peeing…

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As for Charlie, our nightly face off for which one gets to cuddle daddy has been resolved but him discovering the humidifier.  Before, he would wake up at 4am dry hacking the thin air up here.. now he sleeps off to the side right under the mist, and I get my hubby back. ✌🏼

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He still hogs him during the day, though..

We’ve had friends and family visiting.. like Uncle Greggy!

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Greg had the best intentions of getting Alden this baby hat with his name on it.. but you can see, it could probably fit his whole body in it!.. oops. Someday!
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Grandma and Grandpa Spahn also made their way here on their 50th Wedding Anniversary trip!!! Cheers to them! 🥂👏🏼😍

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We also had great time catching up with these cool cats below (Mortimer Sackler, Matija Pecotic, Kathie A, Connie & Stephen S, Gordon Uehling, and it wouldn’t be a proper dinner without Charlie)

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(And if I look fat here, it’s because I totally am)

By the by, our child smells like baking vanilla creamy dreamyness.. Like creme brûlée, a butterscotch chip blondie, vanilla frosting or oddly, this non-minty smelling mint floss

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A.C Spahnny seems to double in size every time I see him. He now ways 3.2lbs! 🙌🏼
That said, he’s still smaller thank this Sneetch (granted, it is a sizable Sneetch)

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And this Velveteen Rabbit (Hi Timmy Evans!)

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And this blue bear from the Uehling family

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It was wonderful to have Gordon, Rehana, Zen, Zia, and Vickie all here to give Alden their love!! He especially appreciated the lullaby Zia wrote and sang for him 😌🎵

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And who doesn’t love Grandma/Kika’s TLC?!

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Here’s  Kirk on a much deserved Boy’s Night out with Bode Miller and Greg Hill

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And our wall is looking amazing.

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Thank you everyone so much for your care packages, photos, well wishes and most importantly prayers. 🙏🏼
While baby Spahnny is a NICU rockstar in our minds, the poor thing has gone through many needles, IVs, blood draws, antibiotics, Bradies, and hears the constant sounds of beeps and alarms going off, all in his lonely isolette. 😔

His most recent brain scans didn’t show any bleeding (yay), but there did appear to be some inflammation. This grey matter in the scans could be as innocent as a smudge from the computer pixilation, or other something else.. so yea, there’s that.
If you could continue to keep him in your thoughts, please send bright light to his head for a brilliant, sparkling brain free of inflammation!!!! (And his heart murmur, and his gut biome to be healthy from antibiotics, and his lungs to breath well! So yea, just pray for his health, please..!)

Love love love,
Kirk, Jenny, Charlie, and the child we keep accidentally calling Charlie, Alden..
😙

XOXOXO

Week 3-4, March 15

Dear friends and family,
It seems to be that time where y’all are itching for another update.. so here it goes!

The day after my last message little Boo needed a blood transfusion since he was left white and pale from all the blood samples they took from him. But after the infusion he looked pink and vibrant..  it was quite an improvement!

Here he is saying “Yay!” With open eyes!

Additionally, he’s filling out and now weighs a whole 2 lbs, 11 ounces 👊🏼
I mean, he still weighs less than a VOGUE magazine (literally- that thing weighs 4.5 lbs.. it could eat our child), but he’s gone up a diaper size, which is progress.

Here’s is a pic of his first diaper next to a regular New Born’s diaper.

Another pic for perspective.. check out Alden rocking my wedding ring on his wrist. Makes for a super fancy cuff.. 💍

Please note, the IV is off his arm- no more antibiotics! Seems he is clear of the Meningitis scare, his white blood cells look normal, and mama and papa are much relived! 🙏🏼

We’re still Kangarooing him like cray to help him grown with lots of love. 💗

Kirk and I log in about 9-10 hours at the hospital a day. While there is a Chinese water torture aspect to the whole NICU experience in Aurora, Colorado, I’m also shocked at how fast the days have turned.. I mean, look at all those Xs on the month of March already!

Despite the hours in the hospital filling up our days, Kirk still finds time for quality reading..

And since you’re dying to hear about Aurora, here are some pics from our window and our walk to the hospital to show you how happening this place is:

I mean, there isn’t even a Starbucks in sight!

But it’s okay, because we have each other, and now even Charlie’s here.

He’s not quite sure what we’re doing here, but he likes that the garbage in our hotel room is way easier to access than the one in our old kitchen. (Charlie…! 😒)

We’ve been lucky enough to have fun visitors! In addition to our moms, and Kirk’s friend Glenny… Taryn Southern and Blake Spahn were in town for 24 hours to take us out for real food!

And though Aurora may look bleak, there are moments when you catch a breathtaking sunset, look to the heavens and think- Life is Beautiful, and Everything is going to work out, exactly as it should! 😌

Finally, I leave with a message for the little man himself..

XOXOXO

2 week Update! March 7th

Dear friends and family, 
 
Thank you so much for the continued thoughts and support. 
Many people have checked  in for an update, and I think many others may be afraid to ask, so I thought I’d send another update..!
 
Firstly, everyone has told us that life in the NICU would be a rollercoast. 🎢
They weren’t kidding. 
One day we were elated because we found out that Alden‘s ultrasound on his brain showed no hemoraging or abnormalities. 
 
This was HUGE!! And super lucky for a 26 weeker! 
We celebrated with a Pizookie at BJs- the greatest thing to happen to Aurora, Colorado.
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Then the next day we found out that Alden was at risk for Meningitis… er, that would be a brain infection.
😰😳😥😱😓
I’m going to go ahead and say this was one of the worst days of our lives.. That says a lot given my 2013.
 But thankfully, it looks like our amazing doctors 👩were ahead of the game and caught it early. 🙏
 It seems we have dodged a major bullet!!!
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But now our little guy is on a 2 week (maybe 3?!) course of antibiotics. And his veins are too tiny to get the pick in, so they have to keep poking him for his IV….
  😔 poor little peanut.
He is such a fighter though! 💪
And we’re doing our best with Kangaroo Care and pump pump pumping around the clock for mama’s milk to make him healthy and strong! 🍼😴
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We’re proud to share that Alden has made the Kilo Club where he now weighs 2lbs 6 ounces. 🙌.
 Additionally, he has great lungs and is doing a fantastic job breathing on his Cpap.
He’s already dreaming about his time on the tennis court..
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He’s also become very wise… with his face all smooshied up from his breathing contraptions, Yoda he looks like, Jedi he will become.
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As for Kirk and me- our life is resembles Groundhog’s day. 🎡
We go back and forth from the hotel to the hospital, eat the same oatmeal for breaky and roasted chicken for dinner.
On occasion, we make the incredibly adventurous trip out to Target.
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Or Sears!
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Aurora’s best, y’all.
Despite the seemingly bleak circumstances of our Spring 2017, Kirk and I still crack each other up over the most banal moments.
For instance, we find the fact that we’re stuck in Aurora for three months ironically hilarious (who needs a Babymoon in Hawaii anyway!?)
Oh, and our wall is looking great!
If you haven’t sent us a pic of you with your words of encouragement for Alden, please do so! It really makes his day 😁
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A million thanks again to all our friends and family who have supported us through this trying time in our lives.
Even in the midst of the uncomfortable unknown with our precious little guy, we can’t help but feel so lucky and blessed to have your love and support.
We seriously have the greatest friends and family a person could ask for. 🙏
XOXOXOXO
Jenny and Kirk

The 3rd Update, February 23rd

Dear Friends and family,
THANK YOU so much for your well wishes, prayers, check in, and support during this completely bizarre curve ball we’re experiencing. You have no idea how touched and humbled we are. 🙏
I’ve learned the hard way that the most challenging experiences in life have yielded the most incredible outcomes, and I have no doubt that despite how dark times may have been (or could continue to be) there is a bright rainbow in sight.
Little Alden Charles Spahn (AC Spahnny!) is a fighter. This much we know.
We are in awe of how much he’s had to endure on his own. By the time he’s a newborn’s age, he will have already undergone so much self soothing and resilience-  true grit, Spalden Spirit indeed!
While yesterday was a rough one, today I’m thrilled to share I got to do Kangaroo Care for the first time in his 5 day old life! It was so amazing to hold his teeny little body against mine, and now that Kirk and I can actually Do something with our hearts and love, we know he will continue to Thrive! (..but one day at a time)
Many people have asked what you can do to help.
As we will be living here for the next three months, visiting Alden in his isolette, it would be Amazing if you could help us decorate the two wall corner of his station where I will basically calling my home way from home until the summer.
WALL OF LOVE/SUPPORT!
If you could send us a photo of yourself (and family) with a note that has your well wishes/prayer/motivational words/sense of humor, we’d love to wallpaper his corner with your positive thoughts of love and strength.
I want the doctors working on him to see how many people care, and are rooting for this little one’s survival.
Additionally, I want Alden to be surrounded by the vibration of all that love and support.
If you don’t have a hard photo on hand to send me, perhaps you can write your words of encouragement and take a selfie with it. Email me the selfie and I’ll have them uploaded to Shutterfly to print.
Below are some pics to share with yu.. the flag shot is what I snapped my first time outside after a week in the hospital. Who knew I’d have a Colorado baby?! I can’t help but note the heavens seems to be beaming down here.
The address for our little hotel room in the middle of now where (like, Aurora Colorado makes a parking lot look like a thriving metropolis) is:
ADDRESS:
Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver
Address: 13200 E 14th Pl, Aurora, CO 80011
Room #: 917

One final note:

Kirk has been the most amazing, supportive, loving husband a girl could DREAM of having. He is my best friend and soulmate and I’m so grateful to have him by my side in this journey. Also, he is a nervous nelly. I think he has a mini heart attack every time we visit Alden- so perhaps someone wants to send him a massage!? Ha- I need him living 103 more years with me 😜
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The First Update- Feb 21, 2017

Dear friends and family of the Spaldens,

After a harrowing 72 hours Jenny and Kirk welcomed a teeny little baby boy into the world at 10:35am Sunday. They are grateful for the extra days they had for medicine to kick in to help welcome him into the world, however, he had to come early due to risk of infection. 

While the parents haven’t slept in 3 days, Kirk and Jenny are doing well and are grateful for the incredible nurses, doctors, and care they’ve received at the University of Colorado. They know their little guy is in the best hands. 

Jenny will be discharged from the hospital either tomorrow or Wed. For now it looks like they will be staying at the Hyatt Regency across the street from the hospital and from there they will find a place to stay nearby the hospital for the next few months as baby Spahnny grows into the healthy little boy they know he is.  Jenny will give me their new address as soon as those logistics are confirmed.

They thank everyone for all the love and support you’ve sent their way. It has meant the world to them!!!
 
Much Love,
Julie

The News: Feb 17, 2017

Dear Book Clubbers, friends, and family of Kirk and Jenny,

Jenny asked that I please keep her loved ones posted on the events of the last 24 hours….

Yesterday I was with them in Aspen when she woke up early with some scary bleeding. She was rushed to the local hospital, which is where the doctors noticed her cervix was thinning and dialating too soon for her 26 week pregnancy.
This is Nothing Jenny did wrong or anything the doctors could have screened for. It’s a freak thing that happens to some women. If this had happened sooner (before 24 weeks), it could have been stitched up. However, that is not an option as things stand.
Thus, they had to emergency evacuate her out of Aspen (via helicopter) to The University of Colorado Hospital, which happens to have one of the top NICU in the country (fewf!!).
There was a very scary moment when they said baby would have to come NOW and about 15 people rushed into the room with chords, lights, shots, IVs, you name it. Thankfully, they found the cervix, which has bought her and the baby some time to bake. The near goal is 48 hours more (since yesterday) so the coritzone shot can kick in to help the baby’s lungs and brains should he come early.
Kirk’s goal is that he hangs tight until his 40th birthday on May 3rd 😉

Either way, it looks like the Spaldens will be camping out in Colorado until baby’s original due date, which is May 24th.

True to form, Jenny has been powering through like a champ with her usual can-do attitude, always looking on the bright side. She’s been through tough times before and appreciates all the love and support in her life.
Kirk has also been amazing, never leaving her side. I think it’s safe to say that yesterday was the scarriest and most harrowing day in his life. His devotion and love for Jenny is just awesome.
Jenny has a nice spacious room with a big window and bare walls. I know she would LOVE it if you colored a picture, wrote a note, sent them a prayer, or made something fun they could post on her walls for a collage of love and support for the baby and family. Later they can take it down and make a book of it.  🙂
Address:
University of Colorado Hospital
Room 413
phone: 720-848-4000
Thank you in advance for keeping this information amongst Jenny and Kirk’s loved ones. They appreciate you in their lives more than you know.
Sincerely,
Julie Warnock