-- These tiny “gifts” were the best presents their parents could possibly receive this holiday season.
“Being a NICU parent is really tough,” Kaitlyn told ABC News. “We didn’t quite understand how tough it would be until we got here. It’s a little isolating and it’s sad. And you’re concerned about the health of your baby … But we know this is the absolute best place for them, and they’re being so well cared for.”
She said it was especially meaningful that the professional photographers and the Santa at the event had all had newborns in the hospital's intensive care unit. "They're all part of this extended family here," she said.
“The holidays can be an especially emotional time for families in the NICU,” Michelle Manuel, the hospital’s director of media relations, wrote to ABC News. “Babies here are usually born premature or sick and they may spend weeks or months growing healthy enough to go home. So providing these special families with an opportunity to celebrate the holidays in a memorable way allows them a sense of normalcy, and an opportunity to celebrate their babies’ first milestones -- even in the hospital -- which is what every family wants to do!”
The hospital celebrated Hanukkah and Kwanzaa too, giving families who observe either of those holidays appropriately-themed presents.
Each care package was lovingly made by the hospital’s nurses and staff, along with the March of Dimes in Kansas City, who also had volunteers photographing the celebration.