At CaroMont Regional Medical Center in North Carolina, some very special mini-ceremonies are taking place – honoring and celebrating the lives of premature babies. Once the newborns are about to leave the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), they get a personalized graduation cap and a portrait.
“It’s just for babies born at 34 weeks of gestation or earlier… when they leave it’s a huge accomplishment not only for the baby but parents as well,” Melissa Jordan, a nurse at CaroMont Regional Medical Center told Buzzfeed. “The program was started as a way to celebrate this milestone in the babies’ lives.”
Jordan was inspired to do this after spending time with a vulnerable baby who was born just at 29 weeks. “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.
“Leaving the NICU can be joyful but also scary and nerve-wracking, so this was our way of bringing a little normalcy to taking the baby home,” Jordan said.