By SHANNON MCLELLAN, ABC News
(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) — A baby who was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for over 10 months got to head home for the first time — thanks in large part to his nurse turned godmother.
Ricki Ann Gandy delivered her son, Oliver, when she was just 25 weeks pregnant at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He weighed 1 pound 8 ounces at birth and was 12 and a half inches long.
Oliver was brought directly to the NICU while Gandy recovered and she was unable to go and check on him. When Oliver’s father, Jeremy Sullivan, would go to visit he noticed a certain nurse was always by his son’s side. That nurse was Savannah Galloway.
Galloway has been a NICU nurse for five years. She told ABC News’ Good Morning America that she loves all of her NICU babies but for some reason she was drawn to Oliver in particular.
“There was just something about Oliver, I don’t know what it was exactly,” Galloway said. “His story is very unique.”
When she was able to get up and walk to the NICU, Gandy was finally able to meet the nurse who had been taking care of her son. She says the two bonded right away and as time went on their relationship only grew closer.
“Every night that she worked she would be in his room whether she was his nurse or not,” Gandy said. “We started calling her Oliver’s NICU mom.”
After five months at DCH Regional in Tuscaloosa, Oliver was transferred to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. Gandy said the transfer and leaving the staff that had cared for Oliver since birth was emotional but Galloway stayed in touch with them during the process.
“She gave me her number and told me if you ever need anything to let me know,” Gandy said.
Gandy and Galloway discovered they lived right down the street from each other and after Oliver was transferred, Galloway would often drive over to check in on Gandy and Sullivan. Gandy said she’d sometimes get a text to look outside and when she did, Galloway and her husband, Jake Galloway, would have dropped off things to help Oliver and their family. The Galloways would even go visit Oliver at his new hospital.
Gandy and Sullivan decided that they wanted Galloway and her husband to be Oliver’s godparents.
“They filled those shoes before we ever made it official,” Gandy said. “We said if we had to choose anyone to be his God parents we would definitely want it to be them. We have just fallen in love with their family.”
Galloway says being asked to be Oliver’s godmother after all the months taking care of him in the NICU was “extremely emotional.”
“Of course we said yes,” Galloway said. “It’s such an honor. That’s a big deal. They’re like family to us now.”
After 10 months in the NICU at three different hospitals, Gandy and Sullivan were finally able to bring Oliver home.
“As a mom it’s hard to watch your child go through that,” Gandy said. “If it weren’t for God this little boy wouldn’t be here.”
The Galloways are now able to visit their godson Oliver at home, which they do about every other day. Gandy said that Oliver laughed for the first time while his godparents were giving him a bath just the other evening.
“We’ll forever and always be a part of his life,” Galloway said. “We’re blessed that they shared their little miracle with us. Our lives have been changed for the better by that sweet baby and his parents.”
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