Concern and confusion
Alayna Selk spent the first 128 days of her life in a hospital. Born more than three months premature, she weighed just 1 pound, 11 ounces at birth.
The Selks live in a small, tight–knit community in rural Wisconsin. When news about Alayna’s birth spread, they were flooded with phone calls.
“At the beginning, people were hearing stories that she wasn’t going to make it,” recalls Alayna’s mom, Katie. “That created more stress for us. We spent a lot of time just getting everything straight.”
Far from home
Shortly after Alayna was born, she was transported to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, more than two hours from home. That’s when a cousin set up the CaringBridge site for Alayna.
“We don’t have family in Milwaukee, and you can’t use your cell phone in the hospital,” Katie says. “It was really nice to be able to keep everyone updated, and to have all the information coming straight from us.”
Alayna was transferred several times those first few months. “We usually found out she was being transferred the day it was happening,” Katie explains. “With CaringBridge, we could let everyone know at once. It let us stay focused on Alayna.”
A precious gift
Alayna recently celebrated her first birthday. She weighs more than 16 pounds now, and she’s catching up fast. To mark the occasion, Katie printed off all the journal entries and guest book messages from the website.
“She’ll be able to look at it when she’s older and know everything that happened,” Katie says. “For her to see all the love that was pouring in—that will be an amazing thing.”