Tiny NICU babies at Valley hospital get visit from Santa

MESA, Ariz. (FOX 10) - It's the busiest time of the year for old St. Nick, but he's never too busy to make his annual visit to the NICU at Banner Desert Medical Center.

"It's just Santa magic, I mean Santa can do what Santa needs to do, plus I've got quite the posse too," he said.

The posse, however, is not made up of elves, but rather NICU nurses who say this is something the unit looks forward to every year.

"It's really hard to be in the NICU over the holidays, so we like to make it as homey and festive as possible considering the circumstances," Jackie Rowe said.

The neonatal intensive care unit is a sensitive area of the hospital. Considering all the tiny, precious patients, Jackie says many times it's life-saving work.

"Make sure the babies are growing, gaining weight," she said. "Kind of be their family as they can get through the process of the NICU, so they can eventually go home and be together."

But that doesn't mean just because the babies can't leave the unit that they should miss out on their first meeting with Santa.

"For the families, it's a special time when they get to see these pictures, later on in the future when they get to see these pictures, especially when they get to share them with their baby -- that's a special thing for me and for them," Santa said.

Santa adds that even though he loves every boy and girl he gets to visit, these tiny humans hold a special place in his jolly heart.

"That warm, fuzzy for me is just amazing," he said. "What I get from the families and their faces is jsut priceless."