NICU nurse spends fifth Christmas with former patient who is now her son

Nurse adopts NICU baby

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Alex Tatsis has been a NICU nurse for 32 years and has cared for thousands of babies during her career. In 2014, one baby changed her life forever.

She was working at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital when she was assigned to care for a 4-month-old baby boy who was born prematurely and had heart trouble.

“I lifted the blanket up and he turned his head and smiled and I said, ‘you’re going to make some lady really happy one day with that smile,’” Tatsis recalled. “And I guess, he got me.”

Just a few months earlier, Tatsis says she was content with her career, had no kids, and was preparing to travel with her friends.

“I was on a beach one day and was kind of at a crossroads and I asked God to help me out and give me some direction and he appeared in August of that year,” Tatsis said.

The baby boy’s name is Nathan. Tatsis says there were several times she thought he wasn’t going to make it, but he kept fighting. He was supposed to go into a state institution where he would be treated and eventually put up for adoption.

“But I just couldn’t let that happen, I just couldn’t,” Tatsis said.

Tatsis said she fostered him at first, but quickly realized the boy with a hole in his heart, had already stolen hers. She adopted him shortly after.

“I picked you up from the hospital, mom,” Nathan said.

“Yes, you picked me up. You sure did,” Tatsis said.

Nathan is now 5 years old. He will wear a pacemaker for the rest of his life, but he is a relatively healthy boy who is eager for Santa’s upcoming visit.

“What do you want for Christmas?” Tatsis asked.

“A dinosaur!” he happily replied.

Nathan will get his wish on Christmas morning - but his mom already got everything she wished for five years ago.

“I’m not really sure what happened. I think it was that prayer on the beach to lead me in the right direction - and the prayer got answered. I didn’t think it was going to be a baby boy, but here he is,” Tatsis said.

Tatsis says she is not the only nurse who cared for a patient and eventually adopted the child. She says at least two other nurses on her floor have also adopted patients.

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