Adorable Photos of Preemies “Graduating” From The NICU
After several weeks of fighting for life, these babies are finally being able to leave the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the CaroMont Medical Center in Gastonia, North Carolina. In response to this, a group of NICU nurses decides to throw them an adorable “graduation” party!
It was Melissa Jordan, a neonatal nurse, who first had the idea to celebrate the babies leaving the hospital in this way. She was inspired to start the program 6 months ago, when she wanted to do something special for a baby who had been with her in the NICU for 62 days — “We had a baby born at 29 weeks gestation so he was in the NICU for over two months, and when he was finally ready to discharge, the family came and brought this onesie that said ‘NICU grad’,” Jordan said. After seeing the onesie, Jordan said she wanted to make the day even more special — so she went home and made a personalized graduation cap out of construction paper.
“The day he got discharged, we gathered staff and we went in singing and dancing and gave him his cap — and his parents just smiled ear to ear — that’s when we knew it was something we wanted to keep doing for other families,” Jordan said.
So when the newborns are discharged, Jordan, and her colleagues honor the babies with a graduation cap and a special photo shoot. The graduation caps which are made out of foam sheets, come in a variety of colors, each with the message, “X days behind me, a whole lifetime in front of me,” with the number of days they spent in the ICU. Bella Baby Photography takes the graduation photos for happy parents free of charge. Since the program began, 14 babies have graduated from the NICU — including three sets of twins!