Nathan Thomas Massey has left the NICU at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple and is now home with his parents.

His parents and grandparents are elated after close to a month of awaiting his arrival and then another series of long days and nights as Amanda, his mom and dad, Jonathan, monitored each and every ebb and flow of his growth.

The grandparents on both sides, which would be myself and Dianne and Amanda’s parents, Vickie and Kenny Carpenter, provided as much support as possible.

Being the parents of a child born earlier than they should is extremely stressful. In our case, it was all made easier by praying friends and relatives plus simple and thoughtful acts of kindness such as providing meals for our kids.

Nathan’s birthday was supposed to have been Nov. 8. He made his entrance into the world Sept. 27. This happy and healthy baby received his certificate of graduation from the NICU and peacefully made the trip home Oct. 20.

I’ve got to hand it to the nurses, doctors and staff at the NICU at Scott & White. Wonderful isn’t the word I’m looking for. Let’s try “magnificent,” “brilliant” and “delightful.”

At least four to five doctors and numerous nurses nurtured Nathan during his stay. When he was at his most critical stage, two nurses were at his side 24 hours a day. They took the time to share with us how he was doing, what was being done and what was planned to meet their standards for his welfare.

Those of you who are familiar with premature children know that development of the lungs is one of the more difficult challenges faced by caregivers.

Nathan was no different in that respect and reached a point where the doctors and the unit director were so concerned that at 10:30 p.m. one day they met at the unit to consult about the plans that would move our grandson to the next step in his recovery.

They decided upon an aggressive approach that would bring together every form of therapy available to stabilize his breathing. The results were astonishing and the number of good days continued to climb.

The birth of Nathan has changed me as a person. Never have I come to love a kid so quickly except for my own two.

I’ve become more thankful, I pray a lot more and I love these new parents in a new way. It’s not backed by statistics, but I have this feeling that Jonathan and Amanda are going to be outstanding parents.

There might be some DNA on both sides that will help but I’ve just got this hunch.

What I’ve learned from this is how blessed I am. It was eye opening to enter the unit and see so many babies and their parents fighting the odds of maintaining life every hour. Not all of them made it and because of that, I am sad but especially thankful.

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