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St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City is helping parents of critically ill infants in their NICU make special Valentine’s Day memories, thanks to a special March of Dimes family support program and some grateful parents whose children were once patients.
Professional photographers whose own children were once treated in the NICU volunteered their services to snap sweet pictures of the babies there now, and staff and volunteers knit hats with hearts for each baby's photo shoot.
March of Dimes and Saint Luke's will make "baby footprint valentines" for the parents, and parents wrote love letters to their babies, March of Dimes said in a statement.
Babies being treated in a NICU can suffer from variety of medical issues, including being born too small or too soon, or with a severe medical issue requiring intensive care. Babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, even by just a few weeks, can face serious health issues are vulnerable to lifelong disabilities including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy, and intellectual delays. Roughly 380,000 babies are born premature each year in the United States, the March of Dimes said.
"Every day a child is in the NICU can be frightening and uncertain, but holidays are especially tough, as families miss the normal joys of celebrations at home," said Rebecca Keunen, March of Dimes NICU Family Support Coordinator.
Scroll through the slides to see St. Luke's NICU Valentine's Day sweethearts.