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Linden couple’s newborn baptized in Geisinger NICU

After 37 weeks of pregnancy, Amanda Greenawalt and David Sauter, of Linden, welcomed their beautiful baby boy, Greyson, into this world.

Greyson survived with zero amniotic fluid surrounding him in-utero, causing issues with his kidneys and ultimately leading to a diagnosis of bilateral multicystic dysplastic kidneys, resulting in a lengthy Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stay.

Twenty-four days in the NICU would be scary for any family with a newborn, but this particular stay also happened during a pandemic.

Despite the goings-on of the outside world, staff and other officials at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital worked to provide comfort and faith for Greyson and his parents.

Partnering with NICU Chaplain Rev. Kay Korpics, hospital officials were able to perform a baptism of a lifetime for baby Greyson.

Though there are visitor restrictions in place, the staff worked together and got the family’s pastor, Tim Hogan, of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, to pray over Greyson via Zoom on April 29.

“My family is spiritual and religious,” Greenawalt said. “I just felt that it was needed. I felt very special and honored to have him (Hogan) be a part of it. It was more than I expected and then some…It was emotional for me. At that point, the outlook on Greyson was still unknown. I believe it (the baptism) helped him through that stay in the NICU.”

“It was just an indescribable blessing to do that,” Korpics said.

Korpics, alongside other NICU staff and nurses, decorated the area with battery-powered lights and movable decorations to make the event more meaningful.

Korpics also used a seashell for the water in the ceremony as Hogan prayed over Greyson.

“It truly was a team effort,” she said. “We did everything we could to make it a special time.”

Members of the care team also recorded and took photos for the family.

Though Greyson was able to go home mid-May, there will be a long road ahead of treatment for him. With his family’s support and faith, he will be able to get through it, said Greenawalt.

One of Greyson’s kidneys is only grown halfway while the other is completely non-functional and will likely need a transplant as well as dialysis, she said.

“We have a long road to go,” Greenawalt said. “Our prayers are not over but with a strong faith behind us, we are making it through.”

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