A Colorado baby born 11 weeks prematurely has been on a difficult road to recovery.
But little Axel Winch and his parents have received a lot of extra love from an unlikely place – the Aurora Police Department.
WDBJ News 7 reports Axel’s mother, Melissa, is a police officer in Grand Junction, and his father is a former police officer; and when the police department near the Children’s Hospital Colorado found out about Axel, more than a dozen officers volunteered to give his parents some relief by coming to the hospital to cuddle with him.
According to the report, Axel has numerous health problems, and doctors are not sure of the extent of his medical issues. Not long after he was born in August, he was flown from his hometown hospital in Grand Junction to the Children’s Hospital Colorado, where he has received treatment for the past several months.
“He’s completely a mystery baby to this NICU,” his father said. “It is world-class, still trying to figure it all out. There’s a lot of different theories, but they’re not sure exactly what it is yet.
“Axel has died in our arms multiple times,” he continued. “His nurses have saved his life. We have watched miracle after miracle.”
The Winches were devastated when they had to return to work and leave Axel in the hospital. But the Aurora police gave the family some comfort.
“Leaving is heartbreaking,” Melissa Winch said. “The first time we left, I cried not all the way home, but majority of the way home. It’s terrible.”
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Here’s more from the local news:
“I didn’t want him to be alone,” said Sgt. Mike Pitrusu, who runs Aurora Police Department’s Employee Support and Wellness unit. “[I] came up with the idea that we would set up basically a watch, that we would have officers sign up for times to come in here and spend time with Axel.”
Aurora Police said nearly 20 officers cuddled with Axel during the days his parents couldn’t be with him.
“Somebody called it the cuddle watch,” Pitrusu said. “I don’t know where that came from. I think we probably would’ve come with something tougher. We’ll go with cuddle watch.”
Melissa said Axel is a little spoiled now, thanks to the Aurora officers.
“They’ve kind of spoiled our boy now,” she said. “He just wants to be held all the time now.”
The local news did not provide details about Axel’s condition, but he currently is home with his family. The Winches said their son’s life is a miracle, and they are treasuring the time they have with him.
“We don’t know what the future holds yet, but right now he’s happy and healthy for us,” his mother said.