LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - The Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center of Longview held it’s 15th annual NICU reunion today.
For some children and their families, it’s an event they’ve been attending for years.
“A lot of times the support network we can find with other parents and these doctors that are so personable; we’re able to still continue that relationship over a decade later," said Jodi Childress, a NICU graduate mom. "It’s changed our lives and made me a mom and I’m proud to be a mom of a 12-year old NICU graduate.”
Since the reunion is now in its 15th year, it’s not just babies and toddlers returning.
“Now we’re beginning to have teenager graduates from the NICU," said Dr. Christopher Ihionkhan, the medical director of the NICU. "So, it’s also exciting to see how well they’re doing.”
For others, today’s reunion was their first but they said they hope to come back.
“I want this to be a part of his life and I want him to know there were great people that took care of him," said Satoria Webb, the mother of a 10-month-old NICU graduate.
The nurses and doctors in attendance said the day is just as important for them.
“For some of those moms and babies they had a very lengthy stay in the NICU and you bond with those families,” said Metosha Brantley, the administrative director of women’s and children’s services. “To get to see them again is like a family reunion in many ways.”
And they said it never gets old.
“Some of these babies had less than a ten percent chance, twenty percent chance of surviving," said Dr. Ihionkhan "Just to see them thriving, running around, calling your name — and to see the smile on their parents’ faces — makes all the long hours and hard work we do in the NICU even more worthwhile.”