NEW YORK - For parents with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, finding a Halloween costume for their child is not on their priority list, but a New York City nurse is making sure that families don't miss out on memories this holiday.
Artemis Tsitsopoulos weighed only 2 pounds when she was born last summer. She spent her first four months of life in the NICU after being delivered three months premature at NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns New York.
It was challenging for first-time mother Jennifer Tsitsopoulos.
"As a mom to a baby that’s spending so much time in the hospital, there are none of those firsts that you expect — no first bath, no first bottle," Jennifer said. "Those are things that happen without your say."
But one "first" they were able to experience together was her baby’s first Halloween thanks to NICU nurse Lilly Fox.
Last year, Fox handmade more than 50 costumes — all animal-themed — for families and their newborns.
"There may be tubes and wires under these costumes, but for the most part [they can pretend], ‘I’m just a parent and I’m just playing dress up with my baby and it’s their first Halloween.’"
Artemis was lucky enough to wear two costumes last year — an octopus and a monkey -- and her mom was grateful for the gesture.
This year, Fox is doing it again and the theme is food. She crafted costumes resembling bagels, pizza, and a gumball machine.
Since some of the babies can’t wear onesies, she created costumes where the material is placed on top of their little bodies.
"We have some things like this where we can just kind of have a cut out that will lay over their head," Fox said pointing to an egg costume.
It's been one year and Artemis has grown into a healthy 17-pound baby. For Halloween this year, her mom says they will dress up as the Addams Family with Artemis sporting a Wednesday wig.
"Another memory to be created," Jennifer said. "A new first for us as a family to be home with her."
Fox has created more than 50 costumes again this year and will deliver them to the parents at the hospital just in time for Halloween.