NICU babies, families celebrate ‘graduation’ from intensive care unit

  • Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
6:39 a.m. Thursday, June 15, 2017 Austin360 Home

They have beaten the odds and now have their whole lives ahead of them.

Babies who lived their first days and months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at CaroMont Regional Medical Center now have a graduation of sorts.

The NICU staff have been marking the babies’ releases with a “graduation” ceremony and photo shoot complete with graduation caps, BuzzFeed reported.

The ceremony was the brainchild of Melissa Jordan, a neonatal nurse at CaroMont, who wanted to mark the day of release for a baby who had been in her care for 62 days. She got the idea from a onesie that the baby’s parents brought for their child’s big day. The outfit said NICU grad. Jordan then went home and made her first graduation cap out of construction paper. The staff sent the baby home with a sendoff of singing and dancing before giving him his mortarboard. Jordan wanted to do that for all families whose children had been in her care, BuzzFeed reported.

That was 6 months ago. 

Each cap now is made from foam sheets inscribed with the number of days a baby has been in intensive care and “a whole lifetime in front of me.”

Nurses contacted Bella Baby Photography, who takes photos of all babies before they leave the hospital, to photograph the graduations. Bella Baby agreed and decided to give the photos to the new families for free.

So far, 14 babies have had their graduation ceremony, including three sets of twins, BuzzFeed reported.

View full experience