KEARNEY, Neb. — The weekend before Halloween, families in neonatal intensive care units across Nebraska are experiencing a program that offers comfort to parents who experienced premature birth or infant loss during this Halloween season.
One mother said with her little one in the NICU, she feels a sense of hope while putting an adorable costume on her daughter.
At 8 months pregnant, Carley Riley gave birth to her daughter Gloria, who weighed 4 pounds.
“She had some respiratory issues when she was born. She flew to Children’s Hospital two days after she was born because of her respiratory issues,” Riley said.
After two days in Omaha, the family returned to Kearney only to find out they would face more challenges.
“The day that we got back from Children’s my husband, unfortunately, had not been feeling good the whole time we were at Children’s and when he came back to Kearney he went to the doctor and then was admitted to the hospital with a ruptured appendix,” Riley said.
On the weekend before Halloween, an unexpected delivery arrived for families in the NICU.
The nonprofit Connected Forever handed out 200 Halloween costumes at 12 NICUs across the state.
“Just for that little bit of normalcy for Halloween. So we have had fun. Parents have picked out a costume and we’ve had fun putting them on the babies and they get to take pictures and just a little keepsake for them for this upcoming little holiday,” said registered nurse Shelby Uhrich.
With everything Riley has gone through, she said it really is helping the healing process.
“It brings a smile to our faces, you know just trying to keep some normalcy and I appreciate that because a lot of things aren’t normal right now,” Riley said.
“Connected Forever” tells NTV the costumes were made by former NICU mothers.