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Family grateful for Seattle NICU nurses at Swedish First Hill

The Hammer family said they didn't realize how special nurses were until they needed one when their daughter was in the NICU.

SEATTLE — Peyton Hammer is a happy little girl who is about to celebrate her second birthday. You would never know by looking at her how far she's come since the day she was born.

Peyton was born at 26 weeks after her mom, Amanda Hammer, developed severe onset preeclampsia.

"When Peyton was born, she was 700 grams, which they don't even measure them in pounds when they're that small,” said Amanda Hammer. “So, that's about one and a half pounds.”

Peyton spent 88 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Swedish First Hill in Seattle, a scary and uncertain time for Amanda Hammer and her husband, Simon.

"Every day, it was just kind of a sit and wait, let's see how the brain scan goes," recalled Amanda Hammer. "Is there bleeding in her brain? How will her lungs develop?"

The couple credits the NICU nurses for helping them through that challenging time. The nurses weren't just caring for these tiny, fragile babies, they were also taking care of them, too.

RELATED: National Nurses Week 2021 spotlights strength in pandemic year

"The nurses did an incredible job of getting us involved in her care right away and making us feel like we were a part of her care," recalled Amanda Hammer. "Even if it was just changing her diaper or taking her temperature."

That's what NICU nurse Ena Yoon loves the most about her job at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue. She loves developing a relationship with parents and watching them grow from feeling nervous and scared to calm and confident when their baby is finally discharged to go home.

"You're walking with them, and you're helping them get to know their babies and get comfortable taking care of their babies," said Yoon. "And eventually, they get to go home. And it's like, wow, they've come such a long way, and it's so rewarding to see that."

Amanda and Simon Hammer said they did not realize how special nurses are until they needed one. During National Nurses Week, a time when nurses are recognized for their work, the family shared this message to the nurses who cared for Peyton:

"I'm so grateful for everything you did to take care of my family. Peyton is healthy and happy and developing an incredible way, and I really attribute that to the incredible work that you did. Knowing when to intervene, knowing when not to intervene, making us feel like we were a part of her care," said Hammer.