NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A flower pot, a mermaid, a puppy dog. This is Halloween in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Family Support Therapist Michelle Gray said that it’s all about giving families a sense of normalcy.
Parents are not always prepared for their babies to be here. Holidays happen, and even thought heir baby is here, we try to create a little bit of a sense of normalcy at a time when it’s not normal.”
The costumes are handmade by grandmother and retired nurse Kim Kohrs. She says she was inspired after her dear friend gave birth to tiny twins.
“Unfortunately, John only lived ten days. Will is now a happy, healthy, almost 3-year-old. When something like this happens, you want to help, but there’s nothing you can really do, so I started making lots of little baby hats.”
Kohrs donates her hats to Yale; but this year she “upped her game”.
In January, she started making 100 costumes. There’s astronauts, scuba divers, football and baseball players, princesses, and lots more. There are many choices for the 60 babies in the NICU.
“It’s like paper dolls. They just lay on top of the bay, so we don’t get in trouble with tubes or wires,” Kohrs said.
Nurses are snapping pictures and giving them to moms and dads as keepsakes.
“When you walk through these doors for families, even for staff, you never know what the day is going to bring,” said Gray. “It’s often described as a roller coaster ride.”
Sometimes the costumes are silly, sometimes they’re poignant. A one pound baby, strong and steadfast, fittingly becomes Supergirl.
The effort is all about helping families celebrate every day, and every moment.
Not a surprise, Halloween is Kohrs’ favorite holiday. She is already planning next year’s creations. She wants to get her hands on some patches, so she can make costumes in honor of the Yale security guards and firemen.