Chef Truelove whips up Valentine's Day dinner for parents of premature babies at St. Luke's

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - There aren't many ways parents can show their love to their premature babies at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Saint Luke's.

Every year, the staff at the NICU care for about 4,000 babies.

Sarah Dahn's son is close to being released after a very tough first weeks of life.

"They said he was about the sickest one in here for a few days, which was really hard," Dahn explained.

She hopes dinner Friday night will include feeding her son at home. But she, along with other parents in the NICU, didn't have to worry about dinner on Valentine's Day thanks to another parent -- Jake Truelove.

Truelove, who is a professional chef, decided to cook a Valentine's Day dinner for all the parents with children in the NICU.

"I thought it would be fun since our last name is Truelove," he said. "Just kind of take their mind off what's going on because I know it's tough."

This is his Truelove's first time back to the hospital since 2007. His daughter Gwenyth was born 12 weeks early and was only 1 pound, 8 ounces.

 "It's tough when you see a child so small, and you see all these lights are going off and these noises are going off and these machines are beeping," he recalled.

In her first few days in NICU, Jake made sure to capture as many moments as he could.

"I have quite a few pictures from the night she was born because I didn't think she'd make it through," he said.

Five years later, Gwenyth is in kindergarten and is healthy.

"She's got this bright personality," Truelove said. "I tell people all the time you'd never know."
 
According to the March of Dimes, one out of every nine babies is born premature.  

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