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NICU - Helping the smallest in a big way | News

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NICU - Helping the smallest in a big way

ATLANTA -- In the NICU at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, life is moving forward, even though the tiniest residents in this unit aren't going home yet.

"These babies are here for many many months," says nurse Lori Schuyler Hickey.

"Unfortunately part of being in this unit are that there are a lot of unfortunate things that happen that are necessary."

Schuyler-Hickey takes care of 6-month-old Kaden. He's been here since the day he was born, battling serious heart and liver issues.

His mom and dad visit him every day because eventually they had to return to their jobs. Mom Miya is a teacher.

"I'm here every single day even after work," she said.

Which means there's still a lot she misses. Every baby in this unit has a book, a narrative of life as a new person trying to graduate to the outside world.

"Sometimes we write letters from the baby to Mom and Dad. 'Dear Mommy and Daddy, today you came to visit me. It was really wonderful, I had the best time.'"

There are photos and locks of hair and sweet missives, the writing down of inconsequential moments -- all the pieces, that together, make up a life. no matter where it's being lived.

Mom Miya says, "​Many times I write letters to God, expressing my thanks for where we come from. The challenge for me is to stay strong for her so she can be strong for Kaden."

When we met Kaden and his parents he was getting better, growing stronger. While we were putting the story together we checked to see if he had gone home yet and that's when we learned complications had developed. Kaden died.

This book no longer marked the beginning of his journey -- it held the entirety of Kaden's life.

The pages of a book holds dreams and love letters to a sweet baby boy. It's a tribute to a life unfulfilled, but a love everlasting. ​