Valley children reunited with NICU doctors and nurses who helped themdfwnewsa | October 21, 2023 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News
EDINBURG — Nancy Colbath, a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at DHR Health, smiled softly as she looked out at the crowd of families dressed in Halloween costumes.
Children walked around the grounds of DHR Health with bundles of cotton candy in their hands while others jumped on the roller coasters.
The scene was heartwarming at DHR Health Women’s Hospital’s annual NICU reunion, the first in four years, where families and children got the opportunity to meet the healthcare workers who helped them through critical times.
For Colbath, a NICU nurse for over 30 years, the event proved to be an emotional but rewarding moment as she saw the fruits of her labor.
The 57-year-old nurse felt a sense of fulfillment as she recalled the many times she helped nurture a baby through its journey in the NICU.
“You become part of the parent’s journey and it’s hard not to get attached to the baby, and it’s hard not to get just attached to the parents as a whole. But to see them again in this type of event is amazing,” Colbath said with watery eyes and a tender smile. “It’s amazing to see these little babies that were once 400 grams, less than a pound, come back thriving, looking great and to know I was part of that journey makes me very proud.”
As she continued to walk around the event parents would approach her and thank her for the role she played in their children’s health.
“We’re there to comfort them, not just the physical part but we’re also there for the parents,” Colbath said, adding that compassion and empathy are essential qualities in NICU nurses.
Xochitl Gonzalez, 28, attended the event with her husband and two sons, one of which was a NICU patient in 2018.
Gonzalez recalled her son, Emmanuel, being born at just 23 weeks of pregnancy causing him to remain in the hospital for 145 days. Although he was born in November he wasn’t released until mid-April.
“It’s as scary as it can get but the staff was always so supportive and they were always there whenever we had any questions,” Gonzalez said.
She remembered staff including Dr. Dynio Honrubia and a nurse whose name she could only recall as Selena who made her time in the NICU bearable during what can be an unbearably worrisome situation.
“She was always the most extremely sweet person ever,” Gonzalez said, adding that Selena would often keep her updated on her son’s health. “She was always there when I would cry and she was always making me feel better.”
Gonzalez, who attended the event dressed as Princess Peach, was excited to see the staff that helped nurture her son to health.
“It brings back some memories but it just makes me so proud and happy that he’s here with us,” Gonzalez said.
Emmanuel, now 4 years old, was dressed as Luigi while his younger brother Ezra was dressed as Mario.
Sara Treviño, 40, attended the event with her 4-year-old son Alejandro who had spent time in the NICU after being born at just 36 weeks of pregnancy.
Although her son only spent a week in the unit, she recalled being overwhelmed with worry.
“Him being early first of all was very nerve-wracking, as a first-time mom I didn’t know what to expect and on top of that, him being premature. So it was very scary,” Treviño said, adding that the NICU staff helped ease that fear.
Treviño also recalled the comforting nature of the charge nurse who would often call her room to update her on her son’s condition.
“She reassured me a lot,” Treviño said with a sigh of relief.
Even now, the hospital and staff still tends to the children’s well-being, she noted, by holding an event to reunite them with the medical workers and give them something to celebrate.
“I appreciate the hospital doing this for the children, just getting them out here and celebrating their growth and their ability to overcome the NICU,” Treviño said.
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