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NICU Babies Get Their First Visit From Santa at St. David’s

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Recently, a group of premature babies at the St. David’s Women’s Center in Austin got their very first pictures with Santa Claus after he stopped by their neonatal intensive care unit. Santa (an employee dressed in the jolly man’s red suit) visited the unit on Tuesday, December 19, to bring holiday cheer to the babies and their families. Close to 50 babies were dressed in tiny, red and white Christmas outfits for their pictures.

“A lot of these babies have long hospital stays and since they have to be here in the hospital we don’t want them to miss out on that experience,” the hospital’s director of neonatal services, Amy Irons, told People magazine. The center employee, who dressed as Santa, spent all of 2017 growing his own thick, white beard for this occasion and made his NICU rounds giving all the newborns stockings and little elf hats. And, he even posed with a group of 9-day-old triplet girls. “We placed them all in one little crib so they could all nuzzle with each other and then Santa stood behind them for the photo,” Irons explained. “Mom just was so teary as she walked up and saw her three little premature triplets all together with Santa behind them. It was all precious. The nurse that had those triplets, she made bows out of their elf hats.”

The hospital staff anticipates this annual tradition, according to Irons, adding, “In the NICIU we take care of the entire family, not just the baby. And so really these families become our families. Lots of times, these babies are here for months and months and months … They are like family to us so it’s as touching to the nurses as it is to the families.”