Kristen Phillips gives daughter Bailey a kiss as husband Garret and elder daughter Leah look on Thursday afternoon. Baby Bailey is home at last after 111 days in hospital.
(COLIN CORNEAU /BRANDON SUN)
Bailey Phillips, who has undergone more than 40 blood transfusions, is at home after spending 111 days in a Winnipeg hospital. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
After 111 days in hospital, three-month-old Bailey Phillips is finally home for the first time.
Hours after Kristen Phillips gave birth in August, Bailey was airlifted to Winnipeg, diagnosed with a congenital cytomegalovirus. Ever since, the baby’s life has depended on blood transfusions every three days.
Bailey and her mother have been living in a hospital since August.
While staff at Winnipeg’s Health Science Centre were trying to line up everything to make Bailey an outpatient, Phillips was still prepared to spend Christmas Day beside Bailey in an isolated hospital room.
But at around 6 p.m. on Wednesday night, Phillips was on the road back to her home in Roseland with her baby for the first time.
"Tonight will be perfect, all four of us under one roof," she said.
"Honestly, I didn’t even believe them when they told us that were actually getting to go home, it just overwhelmed me."
Baby Bailey gets to sleep in her own crib in her own nursery for the first time.
She’ll still need transfusions twice a week, but they will be done at the Brandon Regional Health Centre. The donated platelets she needs to survive will be couriered from Winnipeg.
The virus, along with the antiviral medication Bailey has to take for at least the next three months, has wreaked havoc on her bone marrow. Phillips and doctors hoped the baby’s bone marrow would have started to recover by now but Bailey has shown no signs of recovery.
Every second week, Bailey will have to go into Winnipeg to see the team of specialists.
But that doesn’t put a damper on Phillips.
"I’m just so overwhelmed and happy right now," she said. "I can’t even express what it feels like to be home."
For the last three months, Phillips has been by her daughter’s side in Winnipeg as Bailey has been through scans, tests and more than 40 blood transfusions while her husband Garrett and 18-month-old daughter Leah have been at home.
In an interview with the Sun last week when no end was in sight to Bailey’s stay in Winnipeg, Phillips said missing the day-to-day life of the last several months with her older daughter has been the hardest part.
"(Leah) is just so excited that Bailey’s home and that I’m home, she won’t even have her nap," Phillips said.
Phillips has been working with Canadian Blood Services for this year’s Holiday Magic campaign launched last week to help boost blood donations, which tend to slow down during this time of year while CBS contends with busy holiday schedules.
CBS has a goal to collect 75,000 blood donations nationally, including more
than 5,700 in Manitoba, during the campaign.
Phillips — a decorated curler, agronomy specialist for the Canola Council of Canada and a main organizer for Ag Days — believes CBS is going to blow the goal out of the water.
"There’s been so many mobile clinics set up, there’s been life buses set up, there’s donations right until February scheduled with family and friends and different companies," she said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 13, 2013