NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Hospitals are often the place for significant life events like the birth of a child, but for a New London couple, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital was a place for that and then some.
It may not have been the wedding Grier Stanley and Jason Barnwell had planned for late April, but it was just as wonderful and maybe even a bit more special.
“The NICU crew is just amazing,” Stanley said. “They made a backdrop. They played music. There were flower pedals.”
Their daughter Drue came early at just 28 weeks on April 21. She weighed a little more than 2 pounds.
After spending the last 105 days in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the couple decided they would tie the knot there Wednesday in a surprise ceremony that not even family or friends knew about. The nurses and NICU director served as witnesses.
“When it didn’t look good, she [Drue] still pressed on, and she’s here today with us, and we’re just so blessed to have her,” Barnwell said.
Drue she served as the best person, maid of honor, and flower girl for her parent’s wedding.
“To have a wedding, which is the ultimate in bringing an entire family together, to making the family whole, is incredibly symbolic,” said NICU Director James Pellegrini, MD.
Family and friends aren’t allowed in the NICU, so they’ll be getting text messages soon.
“We’re just grateful because she has plans, and she’s gonna move mountains,” Stanley said.
The couple hopes to leave the hospital with Drue within the next week, so they will have a birth certificate and marriage certificate dated before they head home as a family.
“Without you guys, she [Drue] wouldn’t be here, so thank you,” Barnwell said.