‘Caroline’s Closet’: Weymouth mom collects preemie onesies for NICU families

BOSTON – Just a few years ago, Meghan Block gave birth to a premature baby girl. 

“Caroline was born in April of 2019; she was born prematurely. I had been on hospital bed rest for a few weeks with a pretty complicated pregnancy at South Shore Hospital and she came at just 34 weeks,” said Block, the owner and CEO of Boston Moms, a parenting resource that connects moms all over the city. “When she was born, she needed several medical interventions that we thought we were prepared for and ended up in the NICU. That experience for me was just incredibly traumatic as her mom.”

Block recently opened up about her experience as a NICU mom to her more than 15 thousand followers on Instagram.

“When you bring a baby into the world nobody is prepared. No matter how many children you’ve had. If it’s your first or your seventh, it’s hard,” Block told WBZ-TV. “It’s hard to be parents, it’s hard to be a mom, it’s incredibly hard to be a NICU mom.”

One out of every eleven babies in Massachusetts were born prematurely last year. Block’s daughter Caroline is now 3 years old and thriving, but in the first days of her life, the tubes and wires coming from her little body were overwhelming for Block. So much so, that her husband handled most of the NICU visits.

“One day he went to visit her in the NICU, and she was wearing clothes and he asked where did this come from? Come to find out, the nurse that was caring for her had actually purchased it with her own money. Seeing her in clothes really humanized her in some ways for me. It was really, really healing,” Block explained.

It was during that healing moment that Block says a lightbulb went off.

“The gift that our nurse gave us, she didn’t present it as a gift. She just dressed my baby. She had her drawer of little baby clothes that she puts on her patients,” Block said. “I just thinks it’s incredible, but I also feel like it’s not their job to have to do that for us.”

So Block created an Amazon Wishlist for preemie onesies and started donating them back to South Shore Hospital, creating a “Caroline’s Closet” for other NICU families. Now in its third year, Block just had her biggest donation yet; more than 1,000 onesies. 

WBZ tagged along as Block delivered the preemie clothing to South Shore Hospital.

“The simple task of being able to dress your baby is overwhelmingly important to parents,” NICU nurse manager Beth Brooks said. “It was very healing for her to see her baby in clothes, so she’s given that to these families.”

Meghan Block in the NICU with her daughter. 

Meghan Block

Block says her five-year plan is to be in every single NICU so a mom can walk in and have access to Caroline’s Closet. 

“One of my doctors actually said to me after all was said and done and Caroline and I were both OK is that even if you had a happy ending, trauma is still trauma. I think sort of leaning into that and allowing yourself to find little ways to heal is my best advice,” Blocked shared.