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Santa Visits Families At The NICU

December 24, 2013, 6:11 PM by Brittany Larson

Santa Visits Families At The NICU
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Santa and one of his helpers paid a visit to the families in the NICU at Avera McKennan Hospital to lift up their spirits.

Each family had the opportunity to take a picture with Santa. It was a way to bring a bit of holiday cheer to them at the hospital.

"Makes it a little more special that we're from Webster. We have twins at home and so it makes it a little bit hard to be away from them, so it kind of helps the holiday a little bit," parent Mara Wagner said.

Wagner never thought she could get pregnant again. Now, a little over six years later, the Wagner's are welcoming their second set of twins to their family. These twin boys were born just a few days ago. They have a twin brother and sister at home who are both anxious to meet them.

"They're kind of waiting to see their little brothers and waiting to hold them," Wagner said.

And it's the waiting time that can be difficult for some of those families, especially when many want to be home over the holidays.

Health experts say it depends on the age of the baby to determine the amount of time spent in the NICU. The more premature they are, the longer they stay.

"It can range from a couple of days and some babies are here for three-and-a-half months to four months if they're really young. So, it really varies widely from patient to patient," Neonatologist at Avera McKennan Hospital Katherine Wang said. 

Along with a picture from Santa, each family received a bag of goodies.

"I think being in the NICU already is just a very stressful place to be and you never want your baby there for too long and especially around the holidays, it just kind of hits home a little bit harder. So I think this is a way for us to try and make sure they don't get to miss out on all the festivities that everyone else gets to have," Wang said.

"They're healthy and they're going to make it. It's a little sad because of course there not at home and they won't get to be at home for Christmas, but they're in a good place," Wagner said.

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