Santa Claus spreads joy to Billings Clinic's tiniest patients

Posted at 10:23 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-14 17:50:59-05


For many parents of babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, going out for Santa pictures isn't in the cards, so Santa brought the pictures to them.

"Our babies can be in here for anywhere for a couple hours to four months," NICU Nurse Manager Dawn Hedstrom said.

"Every day is kind of up and down in here, so it's kind of nice to have someone from the outside come in like me, you see them ignite up," Santa Claus said, "You see the brightness in their eyes. You see all the excitement that you wouldn't normally see on a regular day,".

"It's nice to see santa in here. It's kind of hard to see one of your babies in the NICU," father of new twins, Brady Frank said, "You think you know what love is until you have a kid and then everything is different, it's surreal, especially when you see babies for the first time, it's a rush. It's nice to see everybody smiling,".

Each baby receives a professionaly taken Santa photo, and is given their own handmade Christmas blanket.

"Nobody picks their baby's first Christmas to be in the NICU, so to have little things like Santa coming in, and some of these kids won't be able to be held by Santa but they'll still have the Santa picture, and they can reflect on that every, every year," Hedstrom said.

"It's a keepsake, for the rest of their lives. It helps feel some sort of normalcy in a plan that they never would have picked or traveled down," Hedstrom said, "The fact that we get to be in these families lives like this, and get to watch them go home and be healthy, it's just a blessing and a phenomenal opportunity to be part of,".

"Not where you'd expect to be during the holidays necessarilly but kowing you have healthy babies, it helps, it's kind of like a Christmas came early," Frank said,".

Santa will visit the babies at St. Vincent Healthcare the week of the 16th.