Merissa Rodino didn’t expect to be celebrating her first Mother’s Day quite this soon, but when her son was born 6 weeks early last week, she accepted it as a pleasant surprise.
“I’m still trying to process what being a mother is like, but part of what makes it special is that it was unexpected,” Rodino, of Canfield said about her son, Victor Leo Daprile III.
Victor is in the Akron Children’s at St. Elizabeth, Boardman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) gaining strength after weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces at birth. His mother says she spends “all day, every day” in the NICU getting to know her little boy.
Similarly, Amanda Friley will spend Mother’s Day in the NICU with her 3-week-old baby girl, London. The Frileys are from New Cumberland, W.Va., and Amada drives an hour each morning to be with her baby, who was born at 29 weeks weighing just 2 pounds, 6 ounces at birth. Each night she drives back home to spend time with her husband and nearly 2-year-old son.
All the mothers in the NICU this weekend received a special gift from an anonymous donor, who stuffed trendy, colorful Thirty-One bags full of comfort items for the women spending Mother’s Day in the hospital with their newborns.
“It’s amazing to be thought of in that way,” Rodino said. “Those are the people and the moments that will always imprint a special place in the hearts of the mothers here.”
Friley is preparing for at least an 11-week stay in the NICU, and the generosity of the anonymous gift was welcomed as she tries to balance wanting to be with both of her young children.
“It means a lot,” she said. “It’s nice to know there are people out there thinking of you and that care.”
Friley said Mother’s Day typically involves going out to eat, but this year will be different. “We’ll have a cafeteria and London day.” And in addition to a mother’s ring with her children’s birthstones in it, Friley asked for one more thing from her husband.
“He’s been reluctant to hold the baby because she’s so small, but I told him he needs to get one under his belt, and then he’ll be fine.”