A NICU nurse cared for a father and son 33 years apart — and the side-by-side photos are adorable

Close up of father holding hand of baby son (file photo).

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Close up of father holding hand of baby son (file photo).
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JGI/Tom Grill

What are the odds? A nurse in New Jersey has been caring for a premature baby whose father was one of her patients 33 years ago.

Lissa McGowan, a nurse at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has been watching over Zayne Caldwell in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) since January when he was born 10 weeks early.

After Zayne’s birth, the boy’s parents, Renata Freydin and David Caldwell, were looking through their own baby photos when they saw a familiar face – an old photo of Dave Caldwell showed McGowan smiling with him as a baby at Saint Peter’s, where he too was born prematurely.

“I swore she was the nurse that had been taking care of our baby boy for the past three days! David didn’t believe me,” Freydin said of finding the photo. “We brought the picture to the hospital where three other nurses confirmed it was her! Yesterday (Valentine’s Day) she was back at work and taking care of our little nugget again so we had to recreate the picture!”

Side by side photos show McGowan smiling with Caldwell and Zayne in her arms, 33 years apart.

Caldwell told MyCentralJersey.com that McGowan gave his mother emotional support after he was born prematurely.

“My mom prayed and prayed over me and nurse Lissa was there with her, reassuring her that everything was going to be okay and talked to my mom,” Caldwell said. “My mom would say, ‘that woman was so sweet and so nice. She was there and helped me out so much.'”

McGowan called the crossing of paths a “very nice surprise.”

“It really could have been any nurse taking care of his baby and I could have never any contact with him. A lot of people are saying it’s a way of his mom saying everything is going to be okay,” she told MyCentralJersey.com.

Freydin said in her Facebook post that Zayne was “doing amazing.”

She told The Washington Post that he was born at 3 pounds and 9 ounces on January 30. Now he weighs close to 5 pounds and is “getting bigger day by day.”

She and Caldwell hope they can take Zayne home by March.