Inspiring Stories

A Very NICU Christmas With a Visit From Santa

Little Nora Peitz was dressed to impress when she met Santa for the very first time.

“I was hoping that the newborn size in this outfit wouldn’t be too big on her,” said Victoria Peitz, Nora’s mother, “but it’s actually a little snug!”

At 6 pounds, 10 ounces, Nora isn’t so little anymore. She’s a far cry from the one pound she weighed when she was born September 16 at just 25 weeks.

Many long silent nights

Nora’s special Christmas outfit was meant for this moment – the moment she would meet Santa. Seeing her baby girl in that outfit was something Victoria had looked forward to for a very long time – an exciting part of one emotional journey inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Methodist Women's Hospital.

“The nurses have really helped us get through the process,” Victoria said as she tried to hold back tears until she simply couldn’t any longer. “The whole not being able to take her home at night and having to leave her here – it makes it easier knowing she’s in good hands.”

It won’t be long before Nora goes home, but who’s counting?

“It’ll be 100 days on Christmas. That’s how long we’ve been here.”


- Victoria Peitz, Nora's mother

An angel keeping watch

Nora continues to reach milestones and is doing remarkably well considering her early start. She’s got a team of professionals rallying behind her and a little encouragement from above.

“She’s got her twin brother cheering her on from heaven,” Victoria revealed. “He’s watching over her. I know that’s what’s getting her through.”

Maverick is his name. And if what Mom said is true, then Maverick saw Santa for the first time too, that day.

“It’s such a privilege that these families let me in,” Santa said. “That they allow me to see their delicate little ones. I pray for every single one of them. I really do.”

The magic of Christmas, The Meaning of Care

Victoria and her husband, Adam, consider themselves privileged, too.

“This means the world,” Victoria said, “because if we were at home with her, we would have gone to see Santa as a family. So for her to be able to still have this experience – an experience that maybe a full-term baby would get – is really special.”

“It’s great that the NICU does this,” Adam said. “Seeing Santa is something we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.”

In the spirit of Christmas, the entire NICU team believes every baby – no matter their size, age or location – ought to witness the magic of Santa’s bright red suit and white-as-snow beard. And that’s why he’ll continue to visit families like Nora’s for many more Christmases to come.

To see more photos from the 2018 Santa NICU visit and holiday party, click here!

About the Author

Jessica Gill, a Content Strategist for Methodist Health System, is a former television news anchor and journalist. She has a passion for story-telling and illustrating Methodist’s Meaning of Care.

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