Born 16 weeks early, five-month-old Kaelin Maria wasn’t quite ready to leave the NICU and attend her parent’s wedding.

So her parents brought the wedding to her.

Surrounded by the staff who spend their days caring for their daughter, Rubia Ferreira and Tyler Campbell said their I Do’s in the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital NICU.

Rubia Ferreira and Tyler Campbell married in NICU

‘We wanted to make sure our daughter would be there’

Sure, a hospital isn’t the normal venue of choice for a wedding. But for the Alabama couple Rubia and Tyler, it was perfect. Not only was the venue free, but also incredibly familiar to the couple, who have spent the past five months practically living there.

Their daughter, Kaelin was born at the hospital via emergency c-section at just 24.5 weeks gestation. The little fighter made her unexpected entrance after her mother was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome.

Since her November 2017 birth, Kaelin has remained in the UAB’s NICU. Health complications will keep the little darling in the NICU for another six months, putting a a hold on the couple’s original plans to marry in Okinawa, Japan, later in the year.

Rubia Ferreira and Tyler Campbell NICU wedding day

The unexpected turn of events got Rubia and Tyler thinking. They decided that their trip to Japan could wait. Saying their vows by their daughter’s side could not.

“We knew we didn’t want to wait any longer to get married – we wanted to make sure our daughter would be there,” Tyler said.

NICU wedding come with special meaning for family

The couple’s special day came to life thanks to the amazing staff at UAB. They not only provided the catering and the cake, but also decorated the corridor, organised a bouquet for the bride and transformed the NICU into a idyllic venue for the family of three.

Rubia Ferreira and Tyler Campbell NICU wedding

UAB Medicine Pastoral Care Director Malcolm Marler officiated the ceremony and Kaelin’s neonatologist Waldemar Carlo walked the beautiful bride down the aisle. Nawwwww. 

“So many people at UAB had formed relationships with Tyler and Rubia,” said UAB nurse Sandra Millstead. “We all wanted to make sure that, although taking place in a hospital, this was the wedding of their dreams. That’s what they deserved.”

Not a dry eye in the NICU

Clearly the wedding meant a lot to everyone, including the UAB team. The entire staff was left teary-eyed as the couple said their vows.

“UAB has helped save not only my life, but my daughter’s as well. It meant the world to share this milestone with our new family here,” Rubia added.

“Originally I pictured getting married on the beach in Okinawa. But, under the circumstances, it was incredibly meaningful to get married in our daughter’s room. I’m glad we did it this way.”

“We want Kaelin to look back at pictures from our wedding and know about our experience as a family at UAB,” Tyler added.

“We hope she understands how much we cared for and loved her, and that it meant the world to us to have our wedding take place right there with her.”

Looking for more weddings with a difference? Check out this couple’s dream wedding, at Costco. 

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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