Family delivers Halloween baskets to UofL Hospital NICU.
Family delivers Halloween baskets to UofL Hospital NICU.

Last year, Jaclyn Maria and her husband were leaving University of Louisville Hospital with a brand new bundle of life, Luca. Taking home their baby boy the day before Halloween was a special time for the family, after a challenging journey awaiting his arrival.

Jaclyn had been on bed rest at the hospital for 10 weeks after going into labor at 22 weeks. She delivered Luca on Oct. 1, 2017, at 32 weeks, and he stayed in the NICU for a month.

Jaclyn says she had a unique experience at the Center for Women and Infants at UofL Hospital. She worked with a music therapist to write songs for her baby and visited with a therapy dog to ease her anxiety.

“I had a daily a routine, and the weeks passed quickly,” she said.

“The staff did so much to spoil us and make the season of Halloween with our son special despite being in the NICU,” Jacyln said. “Thanks to the staff, we have fond memories of what could have been a very difficult time for our family.”

Halloween costumes for NICU babies
Halloween costumes for NICU babies

She received a Halloween card with Luca’s footprint, and a group of volunteers who knit costumes for the NICU babies made him a sock monkey outfit with his name and birthdate.

“It was a gift you don’t expect that means so much, and we treasure that,” she said.

As a way to pay it forward, Jaclyn launched a fundraiser this year to fill enough Halloween baskets for every family in the NICU. Filled with candy and care items like tissues and lotion, she delivered the baskets in time to make it a special Halloween for those in a similar circumstance.

“We can’t believe it has been a year – they did so much for us while we were here and we are glad to bring cheer to others,” Jaclyn said.

Julie Heflin
Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.