Pittsburgh Baby Celebrates Last Day in NICU with Sweet Graduation Ceremony: 'It Was Amazing'
Bodie Blodgett’s parents were “ecstatic” when they learned the 2-month-old would finally get to leave the Pittsburgh hospital where he’d spent the first 60 days of his life. And staffers were sure to send the baby home in an extra special way.
On Jan. 9, Bodie celebrated his last day in the neonatal intensive care unit at UPMC Children’s Hospital with his very own graduation ceremony — complete with a little cap and gown!
“When we were leaving, we literally walked through three long hallways. And there were just people lined up along the hallways, probably over a hundred people, from doctors to nurses to support staff to the janitorial staff,” Bodie’s father, 47-year-old Todd Blodgett, tells PEOPLE.
“They were all clapping and saying congratulations. It was really emotionally poignant and just overwhelming. We were just bawling as we were walking out. Everybody was so kind and sweet.”
Photos of the ceremony showed the baby in a black cap and gown as he made his way through the hospital in his mother, Nicole’s, arms. Nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff cheered as “Pomp and Circumstance” played. Walking alongside Bodie and his mother was Bodie’s 4-year-old brother Austin.
“It was really cute. It’s such an overwhelming act of just love and compassion. It was just overwhelming,” Todd says. “The children’s hospital there is just so amazing. This story is just one little tidbit of how they view their patients. It’s really like a family.”
Bodie was born at 36 weeks and doctors learned the little boy had Pierre Robin Sequence, a congenital condition that results in a small jaw. During his two months in the NICU, Bodie underwent jaw surgery and learned to eat properly.
“It was very hard but also very poignant. We had no idea that anything was wrong with him. So when they first told us [about the diagnosis] we were heartbroken. It was a long haul,” Todd tells PEOPLE. “We had been asking, ‘How long?’ And the day they finally said he’ll be able to go home … we were just overcome with emotion.”
Now, Todd says, the family is glad to have little Bodie home, especially his big brother Austin.
“We were so happy to finally be able to get out of there. It’s been an overwhelming surge of emotions to have him in our house,” Todd says.
“Austin is just the sweetest 4-year-old kid. He calls Bodie his baby. He said, ‘I can’t wait for my baby to come home!’ He was there for the whole [graduation] it was amazing.”