Father transforms son’s NICU crib into pirate ship for Halloween

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The spirit of the Halloween season is running through the hallways of Dayton Children’s Hospital. 

The hospital uses the holiday as an opportunity to brighten up the hallways and decorate with themed costumes and decorations around various parts of the hospital. 

The Martin family – parents Tyler and Vanessa and newborn son Jayden – have been living in the NICU area of the hospital while Jayden recovers from his premature birth and having fluid on his brain when he was born. Halloween marks his 106th day in the hospital. 

Jayden was due on October 20 but was born early on July 17. He spent most of his first two months in incubation.  Tyler and Vanessa said they were unable to hold him until he was two weeks old. 

The family is from Greenville and spends most nights sleeping in the NICU room with Jayden. They said they have spent some time staying in the Ronald McDonald House as well. 

In order to lighten the mood and have fun while staying in the hospital, Tyler and Vanessa transformed Jayden’s room into a pirate themed celebration. 

“He’s our little pirate today,” said Tyler.

Tyler, Vanessa, and Jayden were dressed in pirate costumes and handing out chocolate that was designed to look like pieces of gold from a treasure chest. 

The also handed out printouts of Jayden’s first handprint, made when he was two weeks old. The family said Jayden’s entire arm could fit through Tyler’s wedding ring.

The highlight of the room was a cardboard-constructed, home-built pirate ship designed and constructed by Tyler that fit around Jayden’s crib. 

Tyler brought in his tape measurer to the hospital and began to design how the ship with be put together. He worked on the ship during nights and weekends over previous weeks.

View the photos of the crib below: 

The Martins said the hospital has become their second home and they wanted to bring some joy into what has been a difficult time for the parents. They also said they see how much joy it brings to the staff, who they now consider friends. 

Although there is no official release date, the family believes Jayden will be free to leave before Thanksgiving and the family was relieved Halloween appeared to be the only holiday they would need to spend in the hospital. 

Jayden is the first born for couple. They said they did not have a name picked out until days before his premature birth. They settled on the name after realizing what it meant and how it correlated to their experience. 

“It means ‘God has heard,’” said Vanessa. “We knew the name was going to be Jayden because God has heard our prayers.”

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