*A marriage proposal took place recently in the NICU unit of New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital where their daughter has spent 10 months after being born prematurely.
The original plan, noted Teon Kennedy, was to surprise his girlfriend, Martine Drouillard, by popping the question at her baby shower. But as the first surge of COVID-19 was overwhelming New York, Martine learned that she would have to deliver the baby early due to severe preeclampsia.
On April 12, at 25 weeks, she gave birth to a baby girl they named Morgan. With the health of Martine and their little one now the focus amid a raging pandemic, Teon decided to put the proposal on hold.
A few weeks after her birth, Morgan was transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She later moved to the NICU at NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns when it opened in August. 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: He’d pop the question in Morgan’s room, with the entire care team playing an active role in the occasion.
On Feb. 11, 2021 – 10 months after Morgan’s birth and three days before Valentine’s Day — the moment finally arrived. Earlier in the month, Teon plotted with staffers about securing decorations for the room, a red carpet for Martine and organizing a socially-distanced celebration with pre-wrapped food.
Teon, meanwhile, penned a love letter that he had staff members take turns reading aloud to Martine as she walked the red carpet toward Morgan’s room, organized a Zoom so that more than 100 family and friends could watch the event virtually, and bought a dress for Morgan that read “Mommy, Will You Marry Daddy?”
It began to dawn on Martine what was going on. Teon brought her into the room with Morgan, where he got down on one knee and offered her not one but two rings, so that she could have her choice. Martine’s answer was a resounding yes, and staff, family, and friends broke into cheers for the couple.
The day was made perfect thanks to Morgan’s role in the proposal. In addition to her dress that asked the big question, she had a “maid of honor” sash, and she woke up just in time to see the moment happen.
Martine describes Morgan as her “warrior and she-ro.” Weighing 1.27 pounds at birth, Morgan has had to undergo several procedures for her brain and lungs due to her extreme prematurity. She continues to fight and has become a cherished member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns family, even earning the nickname “Queen of the NICU.”