Good Shepherd Hosts Preemie Reunion - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/17/06-Longview

Good Shepherd Hosts Preemie Reunion

For more than two years, they've been ready to help parents with premature or sick babies. Tuesday afternoon, Good Shepherd Medical Center's "Neonatal Intensive Care Unit" put on a reunion for dozens of East Texas families.

They may not look it now, but these babies have been through a lot.  That's because they were all born prematurely, some a couple of days, others by months. "At first it is kind of scary because you think you like might accidentally hurt them or you're doing something wrong, says Angelique Gonzalez. 

Brycelon Junior was born two months too early, now he's a healthy 3-month old baby. "He's doing real great, they took real good care of him while he was there, he's just getting bigger," says Angelique.

Thanks in big part to the "Neonatal Intensive Care Unit" or "NICU." And that's why nearly 200 people came to Tuesday's reunion. "I think it's wonderful. We haven't seen some of the nurses and babies in with Braxton for nine months so it's good to see them, it's fun," says Misty Baker.

"One of the babies I was just looking at and holding, she weighed a pound and 15 ounces at birth and now she's just this big child and she's talking to me and it's just awesome," says NICU Nurse Manager Stephanie Capt.

The NICU has been around for more than two years now. Before it existed, parents had to go to Shreveport or Dallas for care. "It's very important for these babies to have a lot of contact with their families and by having the NICU program here they are able to do that," says Christi Hawkins, Director of Women and Children Services.

And now they're able to get together with other families who went through the same experience. "It really lets the kids know that there are other survivors out there like they were that made it through all the trouble and all the hard times they had coming into the world," says father Brycelon Jackson, Senior.

Hard times that seem long gone for these happy faces.

Nurses in the unit tell us they are planning to expand their NICU program because they have so many families needing local, neonatal care for their preemies.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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