HOUSTON — It’s a story of struggle, but also of hope and togetherness.
Lilly Nguyen and Phil De Carlos were married in the chapel at Texas Children’s Hospital before close friends and family, the hospital said. The couple’s son, Lucas, was born at only 24 weeks gestation in late October.
Anticipating her son would come early due to contractions 22 weeks into her pregnancy, Lilly took a tour of the NICU when she was under surveillance at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women for preterm labor. Set to be discharged that day as her symptoms were improving, she suddenly went into full labor in the very NICU room where her son is now. She delivered Lucas via emergency C-section.At the time, Lucas weighed just 1 pound and 12 ounces.
Lucas now weighs 4 lbs., 4 oz. and is growing and progressing each day.
With help from the hospital’s nurses, De Carlos proposed to Nguyen inside their son’d private NICU room at the Pavilion on December 15. He created a special bib for Lucas adorned with symbols of marriage and made a sign that read “will you marry my papa?” that he laid in their baby’s isolette.
The couple decided to marry on New Year’s Day at the hospital so that they could involve their son in the wedding, the hospital said. Immediately following the ceremony, the emotional newlyweds and Lilly’s three other children visited baby Lucas in the NICU.
“You live everyday like there’s no tomorrow—we want him to be part of our special day,” Nguyen said. “We want Lucas to look back and through all this pain, stress and struggle, I want him to see that there’s still something good that came out of it. We want to treat him like he’s part of everything and we felt that this is the moment and that we are here with him. We want him to know there are painful times but there are happy times as well.”