As machines beeped behind her, infant Lacey Howell celebrated her first Halloween dressed in a princess costume. It matched that of her older sister, who had come to visit Lacey on Wednesday afternoon in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
"I never thought we would get this far," said Lacey's father, Todd Howell.
Lacey weighed only 2 pounds, 5 ounces when she was born 14 weeks early and has spent the last 138 days in the NICU at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center. The past few months have been some of the most challenging of Howell's life, but he was all smiles as he fluffed his youngest daughter's princess tutu Wednesday, careful to avoid her medical tubes.
The costume was courtesy of NICU unit secretary Kimmi Liichow -- dressed as a witch -- who used a little bit of magic to transform the tiny babies of the NICU this Halloween as a treat for the families.