Welcoming a new born baby during the holidays is a joyful time. But for families whose babies are in the neonatal intensive care unit, they are spending their time in the hospital.
But one woman has created a unique way to bring comfort to those families in a time of need.
Bob Fries and his wife had twins that came 3 months early.
"We expected my wife to still be pregnant throughout the holidays," Bob says.
The NICU has become their new home away from home.
"There are no words for the experience," Bob says. "You pretty much put your life on hold."
One mother who knows this experience all too well is Elizabeth Tolin. She says you have a picture perfect idea of what having a baby is like, but it’s not always that way.
Five years ago, Tolin's son Toby was born early and placed in the NICU.
"Suddenly that idea is stripped away and it’s a terrifying experience you don't know how to navigate," Tolin says.
She wanted other NICU parents know they are not alone so she created Toby’s Shower for Babies. She fills baskets full of gifts for parents spending hours, days and sometimes months, in the hospital.
"By doing this, it brought back the love and celebration of that fact that you have a baby," Tolin says.
She says it’s important to give a blanket of hope because having a baby in the NICU can be a roller coaster of emotions.
For the Fries family, they are hanging on to every baby step forward as hope to going home sooner.
"Our son just got his first bath because he finally weighs enough now and that was an amazing moment filled with tears and joy," Bob says.
The Fries' babies will spend the holidays getting stronger, and hopefully get to go home in February like planned.
As for Tolin, she’ll be spending the holiday season giving the gift of love.