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Preemies and families reunite with hospitals neonatal staff
Michael and Vanessa Christy play Saturday with their son, Colton, during the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit reunion. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times
Life is a precious gift, and the families of babies born prematurely know particularly well that it should not be taken for granted.The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Northeast Georgia Medical Center brought together babies, families, and hospital staff Saturday to celebrate the progress and accomplishments of their preemie patients at a reunion party.Baby patients who were born 32 weeks or earlier and had been in the NICU for two or more weeks were invited to come with their families for food, clowns, games, photo booths and face-painting, as well as catching up with others who could relate to their journey.Nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners and other volunteers involved with the NICU greeted families with hugs and smiles throughout the day. Physicians who worked with the babies also took time out of their rotation schedule to visit with former patients.Cindy Sullivan, a NICU nurse at Northeast Georgia Medical Center for the past 11 years, said she saw plenty of familiar faces.“There’s been lots of babies I remember taking care of. Even years later, we’ll remember each other from their time with us,” she said.Perhaps their most rewarding part of the day was being able to see preemie patients that had once been so small grow into the children they are today.“It really does our hearts good to see the little babies that were born so tiny so much bigger and grown-up now, running around,” Sullivan said.