NICU anniversary makes for special Father's Day - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

NICU anniversary makes for special Father's Day

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -- On this Father's Day, Saint Joseph's Children's Hospital in Marshfield celebrated the 45th anniversary of their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

For the fathers and more than 300 families who were there, it was a reminder of just how precious a child's life can be.

Every Father's Day is a miracle for Christopher Howard. His son, Isaac, spent five days in the NICU and his daughter, Alaina, was there two months.

"It was very exciting to see them come home, for sure," he said. "They're both healthy now which we're very grateful for and you just move on and enjoy every day."

"Some of our babies stay with us for months so we actually think of all these people as our family," said Linda Gregor, a nurse in the NICU.

Some parents say being back with the hospital staff was a vivid reminder of what they've been through.

"They basically saved your daughter's life or got her going because it's touch and go," said Herb Seeger of Wausau. "A lot of kids don't make it up there."

Fathers at the picnic remembered dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of having a child in the ICU.

"You have a lot in common with other parents and you can talk to them and just kind of get an idea of what they went through," Seeger said.

"Just seeing their faces kept us going," said Howard.

Whether their children are well into the teenage years or they're still toddlers, this will be a Father's Day they say they won't soon forget.

"There is no better way to spend Father's Day than this," said Seeger.

Saint Joseph's nurses say while mothers are still recovering, they see many fathers share loving moments with their children in the NICU.

They say celebrating this anniversary on Father's Day is a way to make sure the dads don't get overlooked for that special time.

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