One day when they’re older, Jaycen and Arianna Dahl will have a special story to tell about their parents’ wedding day.
The twin babies, who were born almost eight weeks early on April 11 at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital, were part of a wedding surprise for their parents, Chandra Ampoma and Tyson Dahl, organized by the team on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). When Chandra and Tyson came to visit the twins after their ceremony on April 24, they found Jaycen dressed in a blue “tuxedo” complete with tails and a bow tie and Arianna dressed in a pink floral “gown.” Tucked inside the incubators with the tiny ring bearer and flower girl were a hand-painted white and gold ring box and a pink bouquet.
“We were very surprised,” says Chandra. “Considering all we’ve been through in the past two weeks, we just feel the compassion [from the NICU team]. They actually not only care about our babies but about us, and we feel the support.”
Assistant head nurse Lauren Roberts got the idea for the surprise after hearing about the couple’s wedding plans. She says the entire NICU team became involved in different ways, from buying the outfits and flowers and painting the ring box to signing a card congratulating the newlyweds. The fact that the wedding was happening during the pandemic made their efforts seem even more important.
“During the pandemic, there have been so many easy reasons to get stressed. I can’t imagine planning a wedding and having two premature babies in the NICU during a pandemic. If we could bring a little brightness and extra celebration to it, then we were excited to do that.”
The wedding was originally planned to precede delivery of the babies by caesarean section. When the twins, who weighed three pounds and two pounds 11 ounces, came early, it was all the more reason to go ahead with the original wedding date, says Chandra.
While both babies need to gain more weight, the main concern now is helping them maintain a stable breathing rate, she says.
“I didn’t want to leave them for this long, but I knew they were in good hands.
“For us, these two are the best things coming out of the pandemic. Our wedding wasn’t exactly what I had dreamed it would be, but it was still pretty magical, especially because we got to share it in part with them.”