ST. LOUIS – Not everyone will be able to be at home or with family friends this Christmas. Some will be spending their holiday in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, trying to make the most of the day.
It’s day number 174 that 6-month-old Jackson Marler has been in the Mercy NICU. That's every day of his life. Jackson, his mother, and father will also be spending Christmas here. They can’t be at home so they are bringing Christmas to him.
“We have a little Christmas tree with ornaments from nurses and other people that we have hung on his tree,” said Krista Marler, Jackson’s mother.
Jackson was born premature at 25 weeks and has already overcome several battles.
“He's had open heart surgery, tracheostomy, a feeding port put in, and we are now looking at lung or heart transplant,” Krista said.
Krista said the couple is savoring every moment at this point because they have no idea what the future holds. So as they take care of Jackson, the nurses at the Mercy NICU are taking care of the whole family.
“I can’t express enough how great the nurses are,” Krista said. “The amenities are fantastic.”
Around 100 families will be spending Christmas in the Mercy Hospital NICU. The staff does its best to decorate rooms, take pictures of families, and provide whatever positive memories they can. Krista Marler said she’s very appreciative.
“It just warms my heart to hear them say ‘Thank you!’ … ‘Thanks for everything you've been doing,’” said Shelbie Rogers, Mercy NICU clinical nurse.
The nurses become family, so when holidays hit, they all celebrate together and appreciate what the holiday is truly all about.
“Don’t worry about gifts or rushing to get to somebody's house or food being burned; be grateful for family,” Krista said.