Serendipitous moment as nurse cares for father and son born 33 years apart

Meryl Kornfield

THE WASHINGTON POST – The first few days of a premature baby’s life can be especially stressful for a new mom. But Renata Freydin is resting easier knowing one nurse at a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is there to watch over her new son, Zayne Caldwell, who was born 10 weeks early in January.

That’s because the nurse, Lissa McGowan, has a connection to the family. She was there at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 33 years ago when Zayne’s father and Freydin’s fiance, David Caldwell, was born – early just like his son, the Courier News first reported.

“The past two weeks have been filled with worries and uncertainty but we can breathe easy knowing my lil nugget’s nurse is the same one that helped the man I love when he was in the same situation,” Freydin posted on Facebook.

Freydin isn’t the first mother to be comforted by McGowan’s presence in the NICU. Three decades ago, Caldwell’s late mother, Ida Bell, who called McGowan “nurse Lissa,” became so attached to her son’s caretaker that she included a picture of the smiling nurse and bundled baby in a photo album, Freydin told The Washington Post. Three decades later, the parents spotted the snapshot.

Caldwell pulled his old photo album out of storage after his son was born to see whether they looked similar. But it was Freydin who spotted the other likeness, the nurse.

“I saw a picture of her and instantly knew it was her, but he didn’t believe me,” she said.

Three decades apart, Lissa McGowan, poses with then-infant David Caldwell and his new son, Zayne. PHOTO: RENATA FREYDIN