Children in the NICU at Austin and Pittsburgh hospitals received Christmas cheer when the famous couple from North Pole came to visit.
For most people, Christmas is the best time of the year. The festive season is when you often go the extra mile to let your family and friends know how much you love them. It is also the time when you look forward to receiving gifts, hugs, and wishes from loved ones. But, not everyone is so lucky. Some are alone after a break-up or losing someone tragically. Some might be spending sleepless nights or caring for an ailing family member in the hospital. But everyone deserves to have some Christmas cheer, and many hospitals across the country are doing their bit to make spread some joy.
And what better way to bring in the festivity for parents and babies in hospitals that are unable to go home for Christmas than to begin with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)? The newborns at UPMC Magee-Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh and St. David’s Medical Center in Austin were visited by Santa Claus and Mrs Claus a few days before Christmas.
At the Pittsburgh hospital, the newborns were dressed in bright, festive clothing. With their red caps and holiday onesies, they looked adorable, when Mr and Mrs Claus came to visit them and take pictures with them, according to GoodMorningAmerica (GMA). "It’s something we are going to be able to cherish for a long time," Tony Grese, father of newborn Jack, told GMA. Grese and his wife Haley got an unexpected holiday gift when their baby arrived earlier than expected.
While in Austin, Mr and Mrs Claus met 35 families at the hospital during one of the most stressful times in their life, reported KVUE. The couple from the North Pole brought in much cheer and merriment to the families caring for their loved ones in clinics. After all, who can really say resist Santa's jolly chuckle and happy spirit?
"You really don't expect your baby to be in the NICU," said Mrs Claus aka Patty Genday, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at UPMC Women's-Magee hospital. "[Having the parents meet Mr and Mrs Claus] allows our parents to realize next year they will be able to have their baby home when Santa Claus comes," she said. "But right now, they can still enjoy this holiday with Santa and Mrs Claus."
One of the mom's at the Austin hospital, Kate Ward, who had a son delivered five weeks early with respiratory distress, is one of the families Santa met. "This just kind of added a little cheer—unexpected cheer,” Kate told KVUE. “We now have a memory that we'll be able to have forever, even though this sometimes seems really kind of difficult."
"It adds that special touch here that makes us feel a little bit more like we're at home,” Kate said. “It feels special."
During a time so tough, when someone makes an effort to cheer people up, it's bound to feel good. Even if it's for a few minutes, little joys like Santa's visit can help the parents focus on the good things in life, even as they continue to care for their little ones.
"Often the NICU journey is difficult," Rhonda Reed, the director of the NICU at St. David’s, told KVUE. "They're having to leave their baby in a hospital, particularly over the holidays. We want to provide an opportunity where we can celebrate together and have a little time with Santa and Mrs Claus," she added.
The Pittsburgh hospital did a lot more to spread joy this Christmas when they dressed babies in little Yoda costumes. One of the nurses crocheted adorable Santa Claus hats with Baby Yoda ears, according to CNN. "We celebrate babies being born every day at UPMC Magee-Women's Hospital," the spokeswoman of the hospital Amy Charley said in a statement, "but to watch new parents see their little newborns dressed up during the holidays is simply priceless."