New London

New London Parents Get Married in NICU Before Bringing Daughter Home

Drue Barnwell has spent more than 100 days in the NICU at a New London hospital. Before going home, the newborn's parents tied the knot with her in their arms.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Wedding bells rang inside Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London Wednesday, as the parents of a NICU baby tied the knot with their daughter in their arms.

Grier Stanley and Jason Barnwell were expecting their first child to be born July 14, but their daughter, Drue, made an early arrival on April 21. The couple's wedding was originally scheduled for a week later, but it was canceled once Drue arrived early weighing just over two pounds.

"Drue had other plans," said Jason Barnwell, Drue's dad.

The 100 plus days since Drue's birth have been challenging for the family. They say she is a true fighter.

"Words can't describe that," Barnwell said. "You don't know if your baby is coming home. That is rough."

Night after night, the parents said they went home and prayed that their daughter's health would improve. And it did.

Doctors say she might be able to go home by the end of the week.

"We are just so grateful," said Grier Stanley, Drue's mom.

Before the couple takes their daughter home, though, they wanted to take each other's hands in marriage. Surrounded by the NICU staff that cared for their daughter, they made their vows.

”To honor us with the care of their baby and to honor us to be witnesses to their marriage is an incredibly special event for all of us," said Dr. James Pellegrini, director of the NICU at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.

Pellegrini said in his 30 years of working with newborns, he has never witnessed a wedding in a NICU. He called it a moment he will never forget.

Grier and Jason joked that Drue was their flower girl, best man and maid of honor. They said they are excited to start the lives together.

“It is the perfect start. It’s our start," Stanley said. "And there is nothing more perfect than that."

Contact Us