When baby Axel Winch was born at only 29 weeks, he was whisked away from his home town to a hospital 300 miles away that had the proper facility to treat him. His parents, not sure of whether or not they would ever see him again alive, did manage to get to the hospital and spend time with their new baby.
Melissa and Adam Winch, Axel’s parents, spent months in the hospital as doctors tried desperately to figure out what was ailing him. Referred to as a “mystery baby”, the hospital staff were unable to pinpoint what exactly was wrong with him. Axel actually died multiple times but was saved heroically by nurses each time. Not knowing what was causing the issues, he was a little miracle, a mystery baby.
After months, the parents had to return home to work. They were devastated to have to leave their son. “I cried not all the way home, but majority of the way home. It’s terrible,” said Melissa. But what happened next really shook the new parents’ world.
The Aurora Police Department connected with the Winch family, after one of their officers also had a child being treated at the same hospital. They set up a group of officers who took turns staying with little Axel. “I didn’t want him to be alone,” said Sgt. Mike Pitrusu. While almost 20 officers took on the role of “surrogate snuggler” with baby Axel, the department also raised money for Melissa and Adam, so they could visit and have a place to stay.
Officer Arturo Zepeda cuddles with Axel
Officer Emily Hitchings cuddles Axel
Months later, the Winches were able to bring Axel home! “They let us know he had all sorts of issues genetically, physically to the point where the news was pretty devastating,” said Adam Winch. “He was in for probably a lifetime of issues medically. They’re still not sure what all of it is.” Though the future is unsure, the truth remains that Axel is a little living miracle. “We don’t know what the future holds yet, but right now he’s happy and healthy for us,” Melissa and Adam said. “God bless the Aurora Police Department,” Adam posted on Facebook. “God answers prayer and performs impossible miracles, now and forever.”
Now that Axel is gone from the hospital, the officers of the Aurora Police Department definitely feel short on cuddles. “We almost need to set up a cuddle watch for Children’s Hospital, just give the opportunity to come in and take care of the little ones,” Sgt. Mike Pitrusu said.