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Health Watch: Special care received at Sacred Heart's NICU unit

Forty five years ago Sacred Heart hospital opened it's Neaonatal Intensive Care or NICU unit.

They provide advanced care for critically ill or premature infants.

The success stories are too numerous to mention, but they are frequently celebrated in special gatherings, by parents grateful for the care their children received.

A group of children playing, their parents socializing nearby. For these mom's it didn't start out that way. A difficult pregnancy and an early delivery is what most experienced.

Here they join together to celebrate a milestone. Two years removed from some difficult days, that Jenny Holland remembers well. "They were very real. They told me everything that could go wrong. That death was an option."

Twenty-four days is the average stay in the NICU. For Holland, her child's stay was eased by the compassion shown and the care they received. Then there was the comradery of the other moms living the same struggle.

"I couldn't have made it without them. They were so amazing, they prayed for me, they worked with me, they helped me, they cried with me. I couldn't have done it without all these girls."

Mercedes Joseph couldn't miss this reunion. She shared the tears and uncertainty with many of the other moms here. The common bond is what each was able to overcome. And the indelible mark that it has left on their lives.

"After the fact we vowed to keep in touch. We made a Facebook group. And to this day we still have a Facebook group, it's two years active."

Just this past February the children's hospital at Sacred Heart unveiled a one million dollar expansion, that brings the NICU unit to 67 beds. A shining achievement to help in the darkest hours of these young lives.

But on this afternoon, it's a day of fellowship and smiles, something all of them have earned.