Baby Logan was delivered prematurely at 25 weeks. He weighed one pound, 15 ounces at birth, and he’s been in the hospital ever since.
For the past six weeks, 11 Alive reports, Logan’s mother has been making two-hour trips to the hospital to visit the NICU (newborns) and now PICU (older than 30 days). At night, she rushes home to take care of her daughter, then rushes back to the hospital in the morning.
This week, she walked into the hospital and expected to find her baby in the incubator but instead found him in an older man’s arms. The mom told 11 Alive:
“When I saw [Logan] in grandpa’s arms, I, of course, started crying. [The baby] looked so comfy in his arms.”
The man smiled and introduced himself as David, a weekly volunteer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The Children’s Hospital posted on Facebook that David is known as the “ICU grandpa.”
He visits the baby ICU units on Tuesdays and Thursdays so the hospital’s youngest patients don’t feel alone. David told 11 Alive:
“It’s comforting for me to see them like this. My friends think it’s weird that I do this. They don’t get the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this.”
While David’s friends may not understand why he volunteers, nurses and parents understand exactly why hospital volunteers are important.
A nurse at the NICU, Blake Renner, told Dearly that David has been visiting the hospital for more than 12 years:
“As nurses we try to give our babies the most love and cuddles that we can, but sometimes we get busy throughout our shifts and can’t always give every baby the attention they need. That’s where our baby buddies come in.
It is so helpful to have someone there to soothe a crying patient when you have to tend to another! All of our buddies are specially trained and some are even trained to hold babies who are on ventilators that are very rarely held. It’s a big help to us nurses and also aids in the development of our babies!”
On the Children’s Hospital Facebook post, dozens of parents wrote that he had held their babies and that it was comforting to know someone was cradling their children when they couldn’t be around:
Not only are the families of the babies thankful to the hospital volunteers, but it’s obvious that Logan, and many other babies just like him, enjoy being held, too.
Watch the full report via 11 Alive below.
UPDATE [9/29/17, 4:25 p.m. EST]:
Dearly added a comment from nurse Blake Renner.