Hundreds of neonatal ICU patients reunite with doctors, nurses

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Every day is special inside Seton Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but Saturday marked an extra special day for staff and former patients.

It was the day all of the miracle babies who are now children came back with their parents to reunite with doctors, nurses and other staff members who made it all possible.

Several hundred patients and their families were present for the reunion, which was filled with games, arts, crafts, clowns and ice cream. For many, though, that wasn’t the best part.

“Every year there are older children, grownups, that come back and tell us how they’re doing, and what wonderful things they’ve been able to do in their lives,” Catherine Carby, Neonatal ICU Clinical Manager said. “So, that just confirms the need for NICUs and what we do every day.”

A special bond exists between a baby who survived a neonatal crisis, the child’s parents, and the medical staff who took care of them. Most of them look forward to the event every year, like Nurse Sharon Jones, who remembers her first primary care case 37 years ago.

“I cried when she went home,” Jones said. “I still cry when they go home. It’s such a fulfillment to be able to take care of them and get them to the point where their parents can take them home and love on them as much as we do here.”

Emyris Lane, a mother from Waco who just gave birth to triplets, drove to Austin to have her babies. They were born after 29 weeks. Three weeks later, her son Malachi was 2 lbs. 11 oz.

“Everyone was outstanding,” Lane said. “It’s a little inconvenient being from Waco having to do this, but when it comes to your kids it doesn’t matter. We wanted the best care available.”

Next year, Lane says she and the kids want to join the party.

“Definitely we’ll be back for sure next year, and I definitely see some last relationships developing.”

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