REGINA – Hundreds attended the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion on Sunday, bringing together Regina General Hospital staff and families who needed help the most.
“Coming back, sometimes it feels like closure,” said Lisa Marie Kitch. “There are these mini miracles that are all around you that we celebrate.”
The event, which featured face painting and ambulance tours, was held at the the Travelodge Hotel & Conference Centre Sunday afternoon.
Nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff had an opportunity to meet babies they helped save.
Lisa’s daughter, Emerson, spent 103 days in the NICU when she was born at 26 weeks and four days into the pregnancy due to placental abruption.
Emerson, requiring a ventilator and feeding tube at the time, weighed less than three pounds when she was three weeks old.
“She was always a fighter,” said Nicole Robertson South, who nursed Emerson when she was ill.
“We worry about the babies after we’ve gone home and on our days off, and when we come back a couple of days later,” she said.
And that worry, that passion, is a connecting force.
“You’re just in there day to day, and it’s not until after you leave that you realize, ‘Oh my gosh, these people are like family,’” said Lisa, of the hospital staff.
The reunion has been around in some fashion for over 30 years. The last one was held 7 years ago.
“It’s amazing. I will never be able to thank them enough because I know, without them, I wouldn’t have him right now,” Krista McDonald with her 18-month-old son on her lap.
Tom Sorensen, Manager of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, has worked as a nurse for nearly a decade. He called the reunion an “amazing” experience.
“All day long I keep having people coming up to me saying, ‘Can we take your picture? You held our baby and I remember you holding him in one hand.’ It’s just really nice to see how big they are,” he said.