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NICU staff and families reunite at St. Mark's

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - It can be a nightmare for expecting parents-- a baby born early forced to rely on machines for life.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - It can be a nightmare for expecting parents-- a baby born early forced to rely on machines for life.

This weekend Utah parents and their little ones who made it out of the NICU got a chance thank to the doctors at nurses who made it possible.

On Saturday, mom and dads, kids some still young others grown, were some of the 15 years worth of babies who spent their first months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Mark's Hospital.

“It's a miraculous thing when you have a baby that small to be able to pull through,” said Erica Steffens, a mom whose daughter was born weighing just more than a pound.

Now their parents are showing off their healthy kids to the doctors and nurses who saved their lives.

“It's a bit overwhelming,” said Dr. Tim LaPine, St. Mark’s Hospital NICU. “We see the babies when they are sick and critically ill and the parents are very anxious and worried and now they come back and everybody is doing well.”

One mom of premature twins tells ABC 4 Utah she comes to the annual reunion each year. Her NICU doctor still gives her advice on caring for her now three year-old son who developed cerebral palsy.

“He would sit down and tell me what cerebral palsy was and what I could and couldn't expect from him,” said Conni Cluff, mom. “It was just great to know that I had the doctors here that even though my kids weren't in their care they were able to help me understand what's going on with them.”

Since the NICU opened in 1998, St. Mark's Hospital has cared for more than seven-thousand babies born prematurely or with medical challenges.

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