L+M Hospital Grier Stanley Barnwell and Jason Barnwell exchange vows at the NICU of a Connecticut hospital
A Connecticut couple wed in a special ceremony held at the same NICU where their daughter was treated for more than three months.
Jason Barnwell, 36, Grier Stanley Barnwell, 37, of New London, said were forced to postpone their 2022 wedding twice, partly due to the premature birth of their daughter Drue, according to NBC Connecticut and Today.
Grier gave birth on April 21 when she was just 28 weeks pregnant. The Barnwells' wedding was initially scheduled for the following week.
But the couple wound up tying the knot at the NICU where their daughter — who was born weighing only about 2 lbs. — was being treated for more than 100 days.
L+M Hospital Grier Stanley Barnwell, Jason Barnwell and their daughter Drue pose with nurses who work at the NICU where they were married in Connecticut
The idea for the special wedding was initially "brought up by a nurse," Jason told Today.
"She's like, 'Oh well, you guys should just get married here,' because she knew what had happened with Drue coming early," the father said, adding that he and his then-finacée "laughed it off" at first.
"But she took it to another level," he added.
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In fact, the couple's family had no idea the event had been planned. "This was an amazing surprise for everybody," Grier told the outlet.
L+M Hospital Grier Stanley Barnwell and Jason Barnwell celebrate their wedding with their daughter Drue and nurses at a Connecticut NICU
Jason and Grier were surrounded by Drue's caregivers as they exchanged vows in the NICU, per the reports.
Their daughter even appeared as their flower girl.
"Drue gave us a smile at the end," Grier told Today Parents. "She was smiling probably because it was her plan."
L+M Hospital Drue Barwell, daughter of Grier Stanley Barnwell and Jason Barnwell
Dr. James Pellegrini, director of the NICU at Yale New Haven Health Lawrence + Memorial Hospital told Today Parents that he has never experienced anything like this in three decades as a neonatologist.
"This is my first wedding in a NICU," he told the outlet. "It's definitely a celebration, most importantly, of this family."
Pellegrini said it was "also a great reward for the entire staff."
L+M Hospital Jason Barnwell and Grier Stanley Barnwell pose with their newborn daughter Drue at their NICU wedding
Speaking with NBC Connecticut, the doctor said, "To honor us with the care of their baby and to honor us to be witnesses to their marriage is an incredibly special event for all of us."
Drue was sent home two days later on Aug. 5, which also happens to be Grier's birthday, Today reported. The new mom said her wedding was "the perfect start" to married life with her new husband.
"It's our start. And there is nothing more perfect than that," Grier explained.