Reconnecting Families and Making New Memories with Kids Who Were Once NICU Patients

Instead of reliving hard memories, the staff is making new ones by inviting the families of past little patients to celebrate their NICU gradations

FARGO, N.D. — It’s a day no parent will ever forget; the day their child was brought into the world.

But for some parents, that day was filled with unknowns as their babies were taken into the NICU.

Some families are now looking back on those experiences with their healthy, smiling children.

For many parents who experienced having a child in the NICU, visiting the hospital can bring back tough memories.

But Essentia Health is changing that.

“Being able to have them come back, realize that hey it’s not so scary you’re little miracle did awesome and just seeing the growth in them is very exciting,” said Jamie Astrup, the Essentia Health NICU Manager.

Staff are playing with toddlers they watched grow into kids outside of the NICU.

“Games and snacks and treats and it’s fun just keeping the kids interact, it’s all about the children,” Jamie said.

Many families say the Essentia nurses and staff go above and beyond…

“She was getting ready to be delivered, he was in route with two kids and the Essentia NICU nurses and NICU team said that they we’re going to be my husband at that time, during the scariest time in my life,” said Emily Teberg, the mother of a past NICU patient.

“I’m worrying a lot as I am but to know that she is in excellent hands, both of them are in excellent hands, it warms my heart on that end of it,” said Brian Teberg, the father of a past NICU patient.

Instead of reliving hard memories, the staff is making new ones by inviting the families of past little patients to celebrate their NICU gradations.

“Just to hear the stories of all the normal things they are doing, all the trouble they are getting in,” Jamie said.

This carnival themed afternoon is nothing uncharacteristic for Essentia.

“They celebrate every little inch stone that they accomplish and they make us know that they are there for us 110%,” Emily said.

That’s something they have been doing every step of the way.

“If we weren’t there to see whatever event take place they’re taking pictures they’re making signs things along that line are just amazing on our end,” Brian said.

Emily and Brian are just one of the families who know the NICU all too well.

In 2017, they had their second go around with the NICU.

“Our first go around was in 2016 we had another little daughter that was born prematurely and she earned her angel wings on valentine’s day of 2016,” Emily said.

For them, the NICU support means more than most can imagine.

“Those nurses to this day, they are a part of my family,” Emily said.

Turning hard times into good moments and making friends for a lifetime, is what today’s reunion was all about.

This is an annual event and the hospital would like to host it the Sunday before Mother’s Day here on out.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News