Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it.

Frances Lear

Santa brightens Misericordia NICU with charismatic Christmas cheer

December 22, 2015

Proud parents Allison and Tyron  pose with their 8-day-old daughter Aubree-Anna as she meets Santa for the first time.

For parents Allison Dillon and Tyron Jimmy, the birth of their baby girl Aubree-Anna in Edmonton was not planned. The Saskatchewan family was visiting Edmonton several weeks before Christmas to do some shopping when Allison went into early labour and gave birth at the Misericordia Community Hospital.

“My water broke while I was in West Edmonton Mall,” Allison recalls. “It was a bit of a shock since Aubree-Anna wasn’t due ‘til January. It’s tough being away from home during the holidays, but they’ve taken good care of us here.”

The staff at the Misericordia NICU understand just how tough it can be to celebrate Christmas with a new baby in the hospital. In fact, it’s the reason NICU nurse Shelley Cox has dressed up as Santa to visit the babies in the NICU around Christmastime for the past nine years. We don’t think it’s a coincidence that she has the same initials as Santa himself.

Santa brings Christmas to 34-week-old Brooklyn Porter in the Misericordia NICU.

“I know how much it means to parents whose babies are spending their first Christmases in the hospital,” Shelley explains. “We try to bring Christmas to them so they don’t feel like they’ve missed it.”

Shelley visits the babies as Santa and poses with them and their families for photos, which NICU staff then present to the families on Christmas morning. Families of the babies are so grateful for the Christmas cheer the NICU staff bring that many donate gifts to the department during the holiday season (and year round) to pay it forward to other families.