AURORA, Colo. — NICU nurses at the University of Colorado Hospital reunited Saturday with the babies and families they helped.
"We're here to celebrate families coming back and bringing their babies back to see us after they've been out of the hospital for their NICU stays," NICU nurse Valerie Dye said.
Seeing each family and how far they've come is special, but one family walked out of the hospital a month ago.
"Lincoln was born at 27 weeks," mom Amy Jo Martin said. "I was on a layover at DIA, and he was a surprise."
Martin was on her way to visit a friend in Palm Springs and thought she was having false labor pains.
"Technically I must've been in labor on the plane because once I landed, it was about two hours before he was born. It was quick," Martin said.
Lincoln was barely over two pounds when he was born in April, which meant a long time spent away from their home in South Dakota.
"My layover lasted for almost three months," Martin said. "We had the best team ever. They're all family now."
Dye was one of his NICU nurses, and she sees the stress that being in the NICU brings families.
"Not everyone has a happy ending," Dye said.
But also the bonds that are created.
"They become part of your family," Dye said. "It's important to see how far they've come."
"He doesn't have nurses he has aunties," Martin added.
Saturday was Lincoln and Amy Jo's first time back at UCHealth since leaving.
"Of course we wanted to leave, but we didn't want to leave," Martin said.
If he went full term, Lincoln would be about three weeks old, but he's doing great, which is why they're happy to be back here seeing everyone and vice versa.