10/21/2014

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Family with premature baby in financial trouble

Family with premature baby in financial trouble

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- A family is facing significant financial challenges while their newborn baby fights for his life. 

When the Stewart family welcomed their newborn son, they thought their time with him would be extremely short.

Baby Valdar was born extremely premature at just 24 weeks. He was barely considered viable.

While he is tiny, Valdar's fighting spirit is strong. Now one month old, he is still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Evergreen Medical Center in Kirkland.

Valdar has grown from his birth weight of 1 lb., 9 oz., but his hand is no bigger than a quarter. His nose is smaller than his mom Katherine's fingernail.

"Even though you're surprised and you're looking at the smallest thing you've ever seen in a baby, it just was incredible," Katherine described.

Tiny Valdar's lungs aren't ready to breath, so he's on a ventilator, and that's not his only challenge.

"None of their parts are really ready for primetime," said Dr. Barry Lawson, director of the Evergreen NICU.  "Not their kidneys, not their brains, not their stomachs, not their skin. It really is a project in dealing with each and every one of their organs in its own light."

Because Valdar's condition keeps changing, mom Katherine is at the hospital indefinitely.

The baby's father Alan - a steel worker - is home with the couple's other children.

"I'm a worker," he said. "Truly, my fun time during the day is work. I'm not saying I like to be away from my family but that's what I like to do."

As his family fights to get by, Valdar quietly fights to live.

Katherine recently held Valdar skin to skin in what's called kangaroo care.

"It was probably the best hour and 15 minutes, ever," she said.

The Stewarts were already having financial trouble before Alan had to leave his job. They were recently evicted and desperately need a new place to live.

The family is looking for someone who will work with them despite their credit issues.

If you would like to make a donation to the Stewarts visit the KOMO News Problem Solvers page. 

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