NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – It’s been a difficult few weeks for two New Jersey parents after their baby was born more than two months premature, but the family is in familiar hands.
When Renata Freydin gave birth to baby Zayne 10 weeks early, she and her fiancee, David Caldwell, didn’t know what to expect.
“I like to tell parents that, you know, I’m sorry that you have to be here because it’s very unsettling and very nerve-wracking, but I’m very happy that we’re here for you,” NICU nurse Lissa McGowan told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
McGowan has been working in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick for 38 years.
She’s been helping Zayne grow to a healthy weight in the NICU since his birth three weeks ago.
“Me and [Freydin] kept going back and forth, oh he looks like me, no he looks like me, so I was just like, I’m gonna go get my baby book and settle this,” Caldwell said.
So Caldwell found a picture of himself as a newborn in the arms of the nurse who cared for him when he was born premature at the same hospital 33 years ago.
“Instantly, within, like, right away, I saw the eyes, like, the face. I was like, this is absolutely her,” Freydin said.
Her hair was a bit darker back then, but McGowan’s eyes haven’t aged.
“It just was fate. It just came full circle,” McGowan said.
The parents can’t know for sure how long their baby will have to stay in the hospital. They visit him every day, but even still, those hours apart can be heartbreaking.
“It’s the hardest thing I ever had to do was leave here without him,” Freydin said.
Knowing their newborn is with McGowan gives them solace.
“[Caldwell’s] mom passed away in high school and she was the one that told him about Lissa, saying how she was such an amazing nurse, this is the one that took care of you when we were in the hospital, so we keep thinking that it’s kind of her saying we have this angel for you,” Freydin said.
Three decades later, the family is still safe in the same hands.