A NICU nurse makes over 50 Halloween costumes by hand annually in order that her tiny sufferers and their households can take pleasure in a way of normalcy throughout an in any other case tough time.
Lilly Fox, a NICU nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Ladies and Newborns, picks a theme for the costumes after which will get to work establishing them by hand forward of Halloween.
When the theme was animals in 2022, Fox made 54 totally different costumes.
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This Halloween 2023 will see the NICU crammed with an array of tiny “meals” choices — together with a field of popcorn, a strawberry and a burrito.
Fox hopes to make extra costumes than final yr.
“We’re calling it ‘no methods, all treats,’” she advised Fox Information Digital.
NICU Nurse Lilly Fox holds a strawberry costume. On Halloween, she and different nurses will distribute the handmade costumes to her sufferers. (NewYork-Presbyterian)
“There may be nothing cuter than a child in a dressing up — particularly a child dressed up as a chunk of meals,” Fox advised Fox Information Digital.
On Halloween, Fox and the opposite NICU nurses will cross out child costumes to each household that desires one.
“Now we have a cart we arrange and we go round to the households,” she stated. “We present them the totally different outfits and ask, ‘What would you prefer to be?'”
“Being within the NICU may be actually isolating for fogeys,” Fox stated. “They do not get to have among the anticipated first child experiences that they’d have in the event that they weren’t within the NICU.” (NewYork-Presbyterian)
When she crafts the costumes, Fox retains in thoughts the totally different wants of her sufferers. A few of her sufferers can not put on onesies, for instance, so their costumes will merely lie on high of them. A lot of the infants are in a position to put on hats or headpieces, she stated.
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The Halloween costumes are “a very smart way for households to get to expertise the vacation and get to behave like every other household with a new child child, even when they should be within the hospital,” stated Fox.
“We simply attempt to create some normalcy for them whereas they’re right here,” she added.
NICU Nurse Lilly Fox poses with one in all her costumes, an ice cream cone. This yr’s costumes for the NICU infants are all food-themed. (NewYork-Presbyterian)
There may be additionally an emotional profit for the mother and father of her sufferers, the nurse advised Fox Information Digital.
“Being within the NICU may be actually isolating for fogeys,” she stated. “They do not get to have among the anticipated first child experiences that they’d have in the event that they weren’t within the NICU.”
“That is our purpose — to create as a lot happiness as we are able to for simply in the future within the NICU.”
With the costumes, Fox stated she “actually likes that we’re in a position to give that chance to folks. We will put apart all of the tubes and the wires and type of look previous that and simply admire all of the cuteness of the infants and say, ‘It is Halloween.'”
“It’ll positively put a smile on their face, even when it is only for a couple of minutes,” she stated. “That is our purpose — to create as a lot happiness as we are able to for simply in the future within the NICU.”
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Mother Jennifer Tsitsopoulos is aware of this sense all too nicely.
Final yr, her daughter Artemis spent about 4½ months within the NICU after she was born at simply 26 weeks gestation.
“We spent 136 lengthy days, and longer nights, within the NICU,” Tsitsopoulos advised Fox Information Digital in an e mail. “The primary few weeks have been the toughest — nobody is ever ready to go away their new child child behind.”
Little Artemis Tsitsopoulos was dressed as a monkey for her first Halloween. Her costume was made by hand by her NICU nurse, Lilly Fox. (NewYork-Presbyterian)
About two months into Artemis’ keep, Tsitsopoulos met Fox.
“I had been listening to rumors a few nurse who was going above and past to handcraft dozens of Halloween costumes for the infants of the NICU,” she stated.
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With a baby as untimely as Artemis, it “means you miss out on the standard milestones of being pregnant, like having a child bathe or holding your little one post-birth,” Tsitsopoulos advised Fox Information Digital.
“Nurse Lilly [gave] us a second of normalcy by permitting us to have fun our first Halloween collectively, identical to any household would,” she stated.
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“We are going to all the time be grateful to her for giving us an opportunity to create some really particular recollections and neglect about all of the tubes, alarms and incubators surrounding us,” the mother additionally wrote.
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