Lufkin family passes on idea of bonding with preemies with sense - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lufkin family passes on idea of bonding with preemies with sense of smell

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

Luke Ball was seven days old the first time his parents ever held him.

"They put him in a little case, like a space shuttle and brought him by the room and we got to spend maybe five minutes with him and didn't get to hold him or touch him," said Kris Ball, Luke's dad.

So to bond with their baby, Kris and Leslie Ball relied on a blanket his sense of a smell.

"They told me to sleep with it at night, on my chest, back, laying on it," said Ball.

Kris Ball says his son was born last November weighing 5lbs and 5 ounces, with severe complications.

After an emergency c-section he was life flighted to Women's Hospital in Houston.

"He wasn't breathing well, had very weak heartbeat," said Ball.

Unable to hold their baby, nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit gave the couple love patches.

A small blanket to help them connect with their baby.

"We came in and he had his head turned on it and was smelling it, I knew right then we would be good buddies," said Ball.

Now three months later, Luke is happy and healthy and the family is bringing love back to the new NIC- Unit at Woodland Heights.

"We didn't have smell blankets, I'd never heard of it it's kind of neat," said Patricia Smathers, Volunteer

With the help of the hospital's Four generations group, they hope to produce 118 love patches.

"Each parent will get one to sleep with so we'll need two per baby," said Kim Ogden, Assistant Director of Marketing, Woodland Heights

The Ball's hope to use the donated love patches to honor their son's journey.

"It was almost like we'd made it up the mountain and we're on the other side," said Ball.

And give other NICU parents a peice of hope when all seems lost.

  Woodland Heights opened their NIC unit last November just two weeks after Luke was born.

  Hospital officials say they've have had 16 NICU babies since opening the unit.

  The Ball's hope to deliver the blankets by next week.

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