Poudre Valley Hospital hosts reunion for premature babies

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- If you're looking for something to put a smile on your face -- here it is: A celebration that's hard to top.

Poudre Valley Hospital on Saturday welcomed back dozens of children who began their lives as premature or critically ill infants in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Their parents say the kids are living proof  miracles do occur.

Talk to any parent and they'll tell you kids are a lot of work. But they'll also tell you they're the greatest gift -- or gifts -- you'll ever receive.

And some times they even arrive on Christmas morning.

"Our girls were both born on Christmas morning, very early and very unexpected," said Dayna Prash, whose twins were born several weeks early.

Today, dozens of these precious gifts and their parents celebrated with some of the doctors and nurses that helped keep them alive. All the kids were "preemies" at Poudre Valley Hospital.

"They both spent two months in the NICU," Prash said of her twins. "[One of the twins] had some severe complications and we were really touch and go for a while, but they both pulled through and they're good now. Our house is just chaos."

And throughout this hospital courtyard, similar success stories of kids now thriving after a rocky start to life.

"He's super healthy. Completely caught up," said parent Shari Kaczanowski. "He's a big personality in a small body. That's what his teachers say."

Today's reunion is also a chance to say thanks to those guardian angels, nurses like Katie May.

"I love my job. I have the best job ever," May said.  "I can't tell you how many christenings I've gone to, how many birthday parties I've gone to, how many baby showers. We stay friends with a lot of our families."

It's a bond that will last a lifetime. Little miracles now flourishing; now, that's something to smile about.

This was the eighth annual Preemie Reunion at the hospital. More than 3,000 babies have gone through the hospital's high level intensive care unit in just the past nine years.