Modern medicine has come a long way.
Thankfully babies who are born prematurely have a lot better odds of survival than they did twenty years ago.
To celebrate their survival, the adorable babies at the CaroMont Regional Medical Center in North Carolina take part in very special ceremonies.
Once the newborns are fit and healthy to go home to their mommy and daddy the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), give the tots 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.”
Caring nurse Melissa was inspired to do the creative gesture after spending time with a vulnerable baby who was born at just 29 weeks.
“The day he got discharged, we gathered staff and we went in singing and dancing.”
“We 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,” Melissa 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,” Melissa added.
Every baby gets a cap with the message, “X days behind me, a whole lifetime in front of me,” with the number of days they spent in intensive care.
There have been fourteen premature babies so far that have gone on to become graduates so – including three sets of twins.
“When I started the program, I called Bella Baby Photography — they take pictures of all our babies going home — and asked if they could come photograph the NICU grads, and the photographer actually offered to give these pictures to the parents free of charge,” Melissa said.