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This Dad and His Son Both Had the Same Nurse at the NICU

A found photograph connected the dots.

Renata Freydin/Facebook

Nurses are some of the most exceptional people in the world and impact the lives of so many people. One nurse, in particular, had a considerable hand in the lives of one New Jersey Family. A dad realized the nurse his son had while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was the exact same nurse who took care of him when he was a newborn and in the NICU. How is that for wild?

David Caldwell’s son, Zayne Alexander Caldwell, was born 10 weeks early and was admitted into the NICU at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Caldwell and his fiancé, Renata Freydin, were looking through a book of photos from when Caldwell was a baby because he wanted to compare photos of himself and his son, Zayne. A typical dad moment except in his case, the new parents noticed something else—the two had the exact same nurse.

When Caldwell was born, he, too was in the NICU care after being born prematurely. In one of the photos, he was being held by his mom’s favorite nurse, Lissa McGowan, on the day that he was being discharged from the NICU.

And it didn’t take long for Freydin to recognize that nurse – she was the same one who was caring for her son, Zayne, since he was born.”We brought the [photo] in, and two of the other nurses confirmed that it was [McGowan],” Caldwell told Good Morning America. “And my fiancé lost it and was like, ‘I told you it was her.'”

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The new parents took the photos into the hospital on Valentine’s Day, when they knew Nurse McGowan would be working. They were excited to share the photo of her with a newborn Caldwell—she was just as surprised.

“I have never had this happen before,” McGowan said. “It’s kind of unusual having your preemie come back after 34 years … but to have a dad come in and be the dad of a preemie is a whole other story.” McGowan had started her nursing career in 1981 at Saint Peter’s University Hospital and then 34 years later was part of the team that admitted Zayne to the NICU after his birth on January 30th.

“At any given day, there are 20 nurses working in the unit,” McGowan said. “Just to be in the area that he was admitted to and being on that side of the room, everything kind of lined up to put us together.”

So as many of you may know, our son was born 10 weeks early at St. Peters hospital and has been in the NICU ever since…

Posted by Renata Freydin on Saturday, February 15, 2020

Thankfully, Zayne is doing well under the care of the nurses at Saint Peter’s, and his dad says, “He’s a fighter.”