Premature baby’s parents learn New Yorkers aren’t jerks after all


A North Carolina cosmetics saleswoman in the Big Apple for a brief business trip was thrust into the crisis of a lifetime — and discovered the inner beauty of what she thought would be a city of coldhearted strangers.

Shelcie Holbert, 23 years old and six months pregnant, arrived on June 17 with three days’ worth of black clothes — her unofficial uniform as a sales rep for the Kiehl’s cosmetics company….

Holbert delivered Rosalie Grace on June 26 at a mere 1 pound, 9 ounces, just a bit larger that her mom’s hand.

Rosalie was whisked down the hill to the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, where she would begin her battle to live. Her chance of survival was estimated at 50 percent to 70 percent.

Meanwhile, her parents had their own survival to think about in an unfamiliar, and costly, city where they would have to live for at least the next three months.

“I had no idea how expensive it is here,” Holbert said.

She said the hotel where the couple stayed for the first few days cost $4,000 a month.

But help soon arrived.

Kim Kaplan, a Hamilton Heights mom whose twins boys were born early in May, started chatting with Holbert in the NICU lounge and was floored by what she heard.

“It just seemed so overwhelming to me, to be in New York and not have anyone you know,” Kaplan recalled. “I just felt terrible for her.”

That night, she put out an appeal on the UWS Mommas Facebook group, a community where Upper West Side women trade tips and seek advice.

An army of New York moms rushed in.

Jenna, who lives near the hospital and owns a second apartment in her building that she is trying to sell, immediately offered it to Holbert and Wallace….

Upper West Side mom Toby Baldinger read the appeal and wanted to make sure the new parents had a hot meal every night without having to think about dinner. She gave her credit card to a nearby diner and told them to deliver the day’s special to the apartment every day for two weeks.

Homey dishes like pot roast and penne pasta awaited the couple after they returned from long days at the hospital.

Other moms started delivering home-cooked food, and one is even baking treats for the NICU nurses. Even more women donated gift cards and clothing suitable for a nursing mom.

Meanwhile, Rosalie is making steady progress and already weighs 2 pounds, thanks to tube feedings with her mom’s milk.

And a heavy dose of New York City love.

Premature baby’s parents learn New Yorkers aren’t jerks after all