TULSA, Oklahoma - For parents whose babies are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the holidays can be especially tough. At Hillcrest Medical Center, the nurses and doctors try their best to bring comfort to those families.

News On 6 talked with a mother who says the unique way the medical staff gives back over the holidays, makes a world of difference. The Doctors and Nurses make themed holiday cards, take photos of the babies, and try to bring a little holiday cheer.

It comforts the families and also has an impact on the nurses and doctors.
Emma Lynn-Louise Salyer has been in the NICU for 88 days. She weighed just 1 pound, 4 ounces when she was born on October 5th, nearly four months ahead of her January 28th due date.

"Her lungs kept collapsing and she was on the CPAP machine and the ventilator for a very long time," said Ashley Welty, the babies mother.

Her mom Ashley said while her baby's health has been improving, it's still been hard, especially during the holidays. The medical staff has been doing their part to try and comfort families like Ashley's.

"Starting with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and so we try to provide traditions for the families and give them a special memory to have that they'll always have forever," said Nurse Joanie Pierce who works in the NICU at Hillcrest Medical Center.

The staff does a photoshoot, picks a theme, and makes holiday cards to surprise the families.

"Most of the time the babies have things on their faces or medical equipment and we try to make them look as healthy and normal as possible," said Nurse Joanie Pierce.

Those cards and photos mean a lot, for families like Ashley and her husband.

"It is hard because she is not home on the holidays so this makes it easier that I still get to enjoy these little things that they do for her," said Ashley Welty, the babies mother.

And for the nurses and doctors, it's just as gratifying.

"It's amazing to do this every day and you get to see miracles happen … we go home feeling like we did something special that they'll never forget," said Nurse Joanie Pierce.

Some good news on this new years day. Emma is expected to go home sometime this weekend.