Love was in the air at a New York City hospital when two new parents got engaged by their daughter's side in the neonatal intensive care unit.
On Thursday, Teon Kennedy asked his girlfriend, Martine Drouillard, to marry him in front of their daughter, Morgan, who has been in the NICU for the past 10 months after being born prematurely in April. Hospital staff helped Kennedy plan the perfect proposal just ahead of Valentine's Day and shared the story on Instagram.
"The Perfect Proposal: A Valentine’s Day Surprise in the NICU," the hospital captioned the romantic clip. "In the spring of 2020, Teon Kennedy had big plans: he was going to surprise his girlfriend, Martine Drouillard, by proposing at her baby shower. But life quickly changed for the couple. As the first surge of #COVID19 was overwhelming #NewYork, Martine learned that she would have to deliver the baby early due to preeclampsia and severe HELLP syndrome."
"So on April 12th, at just 25 weeks, Martine gave birth to Morgan at @nypbrooklyn," the hospital continued. "A few weeks after her birth, Baby Morgan was transferred to #NYP and @weillcornell to undergo several procedures for her brain and lungs. ... The little fighter earned the nickname 'Queen of the NICU.' As the couple grew close to the NICU staff over the course of their baby’s care, Teon came up with a new plan for the perfect proposal."
Kennedy had planned to propose to Drouillard at her baby shower, but when she delivered early, those plans were put on hold as they watched their newborn daughter, who weighed just over a pound at birth, fight for her life. Now that baby Morgan has made so much progress, Kennedy knew it was time to ask her mom to marry him.
And he did so with the help of the NICU staff. Together they decorated the room, rolling out a red carpet for Drouillard and organizing a Zoom video call so the couple's family and friends could watch the big event. Kennedy wrote a love letter to Martine that staff read aloud to her, and he even purchased a dress for his baby daughter with the message, "Mommy, Will You Marry Daddy?"
On the day of the big proposal, a doctor brought Drouillard to the hospital under the guise of an important meeting that she had to dress up for. As Martine rounded the corner of the hall, she was met with the red carpet they had laid out for her strewn with rose petals. Finally, Kennedy brought his now-fiancée into Morgan's room, got down on one knee and popped the question. When Martine said yes, the staff and everyone watching broke into cheers.
“I’m happy, I’m excited, I’m surprised, I’m overwhelmed,” Drouillard told NewYork-Presbyterian. “I don’t even know how to describe the feeling.”
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the day of the proposal was one of the few occasions when both Mom and Dad were allowed to visit Morgan at the same time. But they hope this is just the beginning of their time together as a family of three.
“Forever just started,” Drouillard said. “We have a beautiful baby. We were always going to plan a future and a family for us, but now it’s official.”