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Baby goes home after special care nursery stay

Laura and Nick O’Connor of Faribault welcomed their second child sooner than expected. Daughter Ella was born April 20 at The Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis after just 34 weeks.

The situation was similar to the one the O’Connors experienced when son William was born prematurely 18 months earlier.

“The first one was filled with a lot of uncertainty,” Laura said. “It was scary.”

Both children stayed at the special care nursery for the first weeks of their lives. Laura said she and husband Nick felt more comfortable the second time around since they knew what to expect. Ella’s stay has been a nice one, the couple said.

On Wednesday, four days before Mother’s Day, Ella, who weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces at birth, went home for the first time to meet her big brother. During Ella’s stay, William and his parents were able to watch her on the nursery’s NICVIEW camera remotely from their home. Laura said William, who was the first baby to use the NICVIEW at the nursery when he was born, waved to his little sister.

“I see how my son has grown out of his preemie stage; he has hit all of his milestones,” Laura said Wednesday before leaving the SCN. “I have a group of people here who have been here for us. A lot of those people have a special place in my heart.”

Mother’s Day has been a difficult time for the O’Connors, full of mixed emotions. On Mother’s Day in 2012, Laura suffered a miscarriage. The pain of the loss remains. Each year the O’Connors light a candle in remembrance of their child. Laura said she wanted to share her story because so many other families have felt the same pain.

When William was an infant, Laura’s favorite thing to do was give him nose snuggles. She has enjoyed being able to do the same with Ella.

“It’s definitely a thing I had to give up when William got a little older and wouldn’t hold still,” said Laura, who is happy to have another cooperative baby. “They smell so darn good!”