Lovelace nurses reunite with premature babies

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Saturday, there was a reunion that shows the power of friendship nearly a decade in the making.

Nurses from the Lovelace Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to check in on the babies they nursed back to health years ago. This is the first reunion since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Portia Lubcheco is a happy and healthy 9-year-old, but that wasn’t always the case. She was born seven weeks early what they call a “micro-preemie.” There were days her parents weren’t sure she would make it.

“The doctors and nurses here literally saved her life,” said Tara Lubchenco. 

Of all the staff at the Lovelace NICU, the Lubchenco family formed a special bond with one nurse in particular.

“There was one time Bev literally carried her for 24 hours straight. She was on a 24-hour shift, and we came in, and other nurses said she had not let go of her,” said Lubchenco.

In fact, this isn’t even the first time nurse Beverly and Portia were on KOB 4 together. We first met the pair back in 2012. 

“We go through it with them, it’s a wonderful experience to see them now and sometimes years later.”

Lovelace used to hold NICU reunions every year, but they had to take a pause during COVID-19. This year, hospital officials decided it was about time to bring these old friends back together.

“It’s just an exciting event to celebrate both the nursing staff and the little babies that are coming back. They are not little babies anymore, they are big,” said Denice Campbell, nursing director of the Women’s and Children’s services.