Parents of struggling preemie get married at baby's hospital
They didn't want a church wedding or a lavish affair with an elaborate reception.
They wanted to get married at the children's hospital where their teeny-tiny son, Lucas, weighing just four pounds and four ounces, is fighting mightily for his young life.
They wanted their struggling son to be able to look back when he's older and see something good in the midst of the family's current turmoil. "That's why we wanted to get married here, with him," said his mother, Lilly Nguyen.
Nguyen and Phil De Carlos exchanged vows in the chapel of Texas Children's Hospital on New Year's Day, surrounded by family and friends.
Then the bridal party marched to the neonatal intensive care unit, where Lucas lies hooked to a ventilator and a feeding tube.
"Every day we just pray," his mom said. "And everyday we're here with him."
The couple knew their baby would not be full-term, but no one expected him to arrive six months into Nguyen's pregnancy.
She had an emergency C-section on Oct. 28, with Lucas weighing in at one pound and 12 ounces.
He was so tiny, De Carlos could only place the tip of his finger in Lucas' miniature hand. "He grabbed my finger," the father recalled, and De Carlos broke down in tears.
"It's been so long and scary some days," he said. "Sixty-five days we've been here. Every day."
It's been a long two months, filled with despairing lows and hope-filled highs. "I feel like now it's starting to get to a better place," he said.
Lucas is slowly gaining weight. The medical staff is encouraging.
But Nguyen and De Carlos live every day as if it was the last. And with that in mind, they decided to get married right away, while Lucas was still in the hospital.
"We love him ... and we want him to be part of this," his mother said.