One father's love for his family - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

One father's love for his family


Many of you may have spent Father's Day at the pool, the golf course or behind the barbecue grill.  But for one eastern Iowa dad to be with his family, it meant driving nearly two hours to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.  But after all they've been through, the family is glad for any time they spend together.

Sarah and Jeremy Guenther of Dubuque welcomed baby girl Penelope into the world back in February.  And a hospital room has been little Penny's home ever since.  She was born three and a half months early, after mom Sarah discovered she had extremely high blood pressure.

"When I woke up with swollen hands and face, I knew that I was done and that they were going to put me in the hospital and probably have the baby early," said Sarah Guenther.

Sarah was right.  But the condition was concerning enough that Dubuque doctors rushed Guenther to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.  Doctors there were safely able to deliver Penelope.  But she weighed just 1 lb., 5 oz.

"It just made for a very surreal, complicated few days," Guenther said.

Since then, Penelope's been receiving many treatments to get bigger and stronger.  She now weighs more than 8 pounds.  And overall, her outlook is good.

"We now that she will outgrow this.  Hopefully within about 12 months of going home, she'll be off the oxygen.  And by the time she's in kindergarten or first grade, she'll be running around and looking like any other baby," said Dr. Jonathon Klein, University of Iowa Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Director.

During the past four months, mom Sarah has made a full recovery.  But she's had to do it away from husband Jeremy.  He's been in Dubuque working and taking care of the couple's two-year-old daughter Lucy.

"It's been a test.  And we've been through some other things in our past that have certainly tested us, and we know we can rely on each other," said Jeremy Guenther.

Sarah couldn't be more thankful for her husband's tireless dedication to their family and hopes he knows that, especially on Father's Day.

"The longer I'm in the NICU, the luckier I feel.  I see all sorts of family situations, and just to have a husband who's so supportive and doing everything for me behind the scenes to allow me to stay here and to not have to worry about what's going on at home, it's a big stress off my shoulders," said Sarah Guenther.

So now, the Guenthers are just anxiously awaiting the time they'll get to all be together again at home.

Doctors are hopeful that baby Penelope will get to go home in a few weeks.  But once she leaves the hospital, she'll still need oxygen and a feeding tube for at least a few more months.

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