Menu

This preemie baby couldn't go to his parent's wedding—so they brought it to him 😭

The hospital staff went above and beyond in delivering family-centered care—and an unforgettable wedding.

This preemie baby couldn't go to his parent's wedding—so they brought it to him 😭

When Amanda Acevedo was pregnant she wasn't just planning for a baby, she was also planning a wedding. She was supposed to marry her fiancé, Edwin, on a beach in June and then welcome their baby boy in August.

But when Amanda's water broke early everything changed. She was admitted to the hospital for three weeks and went into pre-term labor on June 14. Baby Oliver came into the world two months early, weighing just 3 pounds, 14.6 ounces, and Amanda and her fiancé Edwin stopped thinking about romantic beach weddings, but certainly not about their love for each other and their baby boy.

Caring for their preemie together in the NICU the two felt closer than ever and decided they would just get married quickly down at the courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, and then plan a "real" wedding for next year.

But when they told a nurse they would be away from the hospital for a quick courthouse wedding, they ended up with the wedding of their dreams. It wasn't on the beach, but their baby was able to be part of it.

As Amanda tells Motherly, she and Edwin ended up walking down the aisle in the hospital chapel with their baby boy, thanks to hospital staff who went above and beyond in delivering family-centered care and an unforgettable wedding.

"We could not have asked for a more special or memorable wedding"

The morning of the wedding Amanda got a call from Mallory Magelli McKeown, a Family Navigator at WakeMed Children's Hospital. McKeown had heard from the nurses that Amanda and Edwin planned to dash down to the courthouse that afternoon and she had an offer for them.

"She said she would be happy to marry us at the hospital in the chapel," Amanda tells Motherly. "Oliver's doctor, Dr. Demeo, said he was stable enough to be unhooked from his monitors so I could carry him during the ceremony."

McKeown is amazing at her job as a Family Navigator, but she tells Motherly she is an is ordained minister and has also served as a chaplain. That's why she was able to officiate a wedding on the fly, and can now add "instant wedding planner" to her resume.

"They had planned on a 2:30 wedding at the courthouse so we held to that timeline. We have some really amazing nurses and they wanted to decorate for the wedding so I ran out and got some decorations to surprise the family with," McKeown explains.

Carrying her baby instead of a bouquet

Amanda was blown away by everything McKeown and her colleagues did to ensure she had a wedding she would love.

"The NICU staff was so sweet and surprised us by decorating Oliver's room, dressed him up in a little suit, decorated his crib, and made it possible for him to come down to the third floor to the chapel," she says.

Instead of carrying a bouquet down the aisle, Amanda carried her son, something that was very special to her as a NICU mom.

"It's just hard when you think the safest place for your baby is in your arms but being a preemie that wasn't always the case. You sometimes feel more like a visitor or [bystander] than a mother or father because the nurses have to do the medical side of his care so you just stand and watch and hope they get better," she tells Motherly.

Before her pregnancy complications changed her plans Amanda had always planned to carry Oliver with her on her wedding day and thanks to the efforts of McKeown and her colleagues she got to—with no wires or monitors to keep them apart.

Celebrating the formation of a family 

When Amanda and Oliver got to the altar McKeown had yet another surprise for the NICU mama.

"Mallory made the vows personal to our time here and this new chapter in our lives," Amanda tells Motherly. "It was all just so sweet and special and I could not have asked for a more perfect wedding."

The WakeMed campus will always be a special place for the Acevedos. It is where some of the most stressful days of their lives took place, but also the venue for one of the happiest. The Acevedos are so thankful to the staff who have cared for Oliver as he's grown—because this little guy has grown a lot!

"He is currently 8 pounds, 5.7 ounces," Amanda tells Motherly. "If all continues well he will be discharged Wednesday morning and can finally come home."

We're not crying. You're crying.


You might also like:

These new arrivals from the Motherly Shop are *so* good you need them all

Noodle and Boo, Mushie and Plan Toys—everything you need, mama.

Motherhood is hard work—finding great products and brands to make the journey easier doesn't have to be. Each week, we stock the Motherly Shop with brilliant new products we know you'll need and love from brands and makers that really care.

So, what's new this week?

Noodle and Boo: Holistic baby skin care

Through working with chemists who specialize in natural and holistic skin care, Noodle and Boo has developed exclusive formulas that nourish, replenish and protect especially delicate, eczema-prone and sensitive skin—including laundry detergent. Their signature, obsession-worthy scent—which is subtly sweet, pure and fresh—is the closest thing to bottling up "baby smell" we've ever found.

Mushie: Kids' dinnerware that actually looks great

We're totally crushing on Mushie's minimalist dinnerware for kids. Their innovative baby and toddler products leverage Swedish design to marry both form and function while putting safety front and center. Everything is created in soft, muted colors from BPA-free materials.

Plan Toys: Open-ended toys that last

Corralling and cleaning up the toys becomes less stressful when you bring home fewer, better, more beautiful ones. Plan Toys checks all the boxes. Made from re-purposed rubber wood, they're better for the planet as well.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Mushie silicone baby bib

Mushie silicone baby bib

There's no going back to cloth bibs after falling in love with this Swedish design. The pocket catches whatever misses their mouths and the BPA-free silicone is waterproof and easy to wipe down between uses.

$13

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

We're totally crushing on the soft muted colors that flow with our table aesthetics and the thoughtful high-sided design that helps babies and toddler who are learning to feed themselves.

$15

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Stocked with everything a new mama needs to care for her little one's delicate skin, Noodle and Boo's nursery essentials gift set is the perfect way to create a holistic and natural skin care routine from day one.

$45

Plan Toys doctor set 

Plan Toys doctor set

Ideal for quiet time and imaginative role play, we love the gorgeous planet-friendly doctor kit from Plan Toys. The rubber wood stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, syringe and reflex hammer pack up neat and tidy into the red cotton case should they need to dash off on a rescue mission.

$30

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Since we're buying and using hand sanitizer by the truckload these days, we're thrilled Noodle and Boo has made one we can feel good about using on little ones who cram their hands in their mouths 24/7. Not only does it kill 99.9% of germs, but it also leaves hands moisturized as well.

$10

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

A toy box isn't complete without a set of blocks—and this set is one of our new favorites. The sustainable, re-purposed wood is eco-friendly, comes at a relatively affordable price point and are certain to last well beyond multiple kids, hand-me-downs and even generations.

$30

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Because their products were developed for delicate and eczema-prone skin, Noodle and Boo's full line of skin care has become a favorite among those with sensitive skin of all ages. This set is the perfect way to pamper the entire family.

$48

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

No need to sacrifice safety or design with the sustainable dinnerware from Mushie. Their minimalist, functional dishes are perfect for serving up meals and snacks to your tablemates who might hurl it to the floor at any point. They're made in Denmark from BPA-free polypropylene plastic mamas can feel good about and dishwasher and microwave-safe as well.

$14

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

The best engaging, open-ended toys are the ones that are left out and available, inviting little (and big!) ones to play. These beautiful gem-like blocks make for addicting coffee table play for the entire family.

$30

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Energy-efficient design isn't just for grown-up real estate. This green dollhouse includes a wind turbine, a solar cell panel, electric inverter, recycling bins, a rain barrel, a biofacade and a blind that can adjust the amount of sunlight and air circulation along with minimalist furniture we'd totally love to have in our own houses.

$250

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

Shop

20 baby names to set your child up for success

What do Jacqueline, Morgan, Madison and Parker all have in common?

They say picking a baby name is an art, not a science. But when it comes to figuring out which baby names have been linked to successful futures, there has actually been some scientific work on the subject.

Keep reading Show less
News