Former UK football quarterback and family recalls challenge of s - WDRB 41 Louisville News

COPY-Former UK football quarterback and family recalls challenge of son's premature birth

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) –- From the tiniest of personalities to the biggest of smiles you would never know the struggle many children go through when they first enter this world.

“Andre is our tiny miracle,” Erica Woodson told WDRB News as she held her son.

Former UK football quarterback Andre Woodson and his wife Erica share a common bond with the other families at Slugger Field on Saturday afternoon -- their children were born premature.

“He was really little. I was extremely scared,” said Erica Woodson.

Little Andre has come a long way. He once weighed less than three pounds and is now a healthy two-year-old with a lot of personality.

“He's very active so we're obviously very pleased about that, but he never stops. He’s always going,” said Andre Woodson. “But every day it's obviously a blessing the fact that he's here with us.”

Little Andre and other children are now jumping in bouncy houses, coloring with crayons and getting their faces painted. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse, Mary Jean Precious says words can't describe the joy it brings her to see them healthy.

“They're just so resilient,” said Precious. “Every day we get to work with miracles.”

The reunion with NICU staff members allowed families to show their gratitude.

“Luckily we had the NICU unit there and they were able to support us and give us a little bit of positive feedback and ensure us everything was going to be fine and ultimately as you can see right here he's doing really well,” said Andre Woodson.

Nurses say it’s amazing how love can turn a baby's health around.

“We put that baby on mom or dad's bare chest and that really helps the baby's calm, helps them regulate their temperature, helps them regulate their heart rate and breathing,” said Precious.

Every day year more than 700 premature or critically sick babies are treated at Norton Women’s and Kosair Children’s Hospital. Some only stay for days, while others can stay for months. It's a 45 day stay at the hospital that changed Erica Wood on’s life.

“Our nurses were just wonderful and I was thinking that maybe I could do the same and give back in the same way and so that's what I do every day,” said Erica Woodson.

Now a NICU nurse herself, she knows what the families are going through.

“It's easier to break the shell and say I understand and we're going to get through this,” said Erica Woodson.

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