Christmas comes to the NICU: Santa hats, Camo Santa hats, Christmas Tree hats, and Rudolf hats. Not only that, but with the help of NICU RN Melissa Letterman and NICU Support Wall of Famer Cindy Blanchard, the babies' each get their own stocking and a rubber ducky painted as a Santa, snowman, or reindeer. As always, the hats, stockings, and duckies will be sent home with parents as souvenirs.
Ta-Daaaaaa! The 2009 Official NICU Thanksgiving mascot Turkey Hat!
It makes me smile to look at it. Well worth the FOUR hours it took to knit it.
We have: Pilgrims and Indians, Turkeys and Pumpkins, and Camo for deer season. Viva La Thanksgiving!
I saw an interview with Stephen King one time where a reporter asked him why he chooses to write horror stories and King replied something like "What makes you think I have any choice? It's what's in there."
That's how I feel about this NICU knitting project. It's like the whole thing has planted roots in my brain and taken over one corner for its own. I have no control, it's just there. Not that I'm complaining. Those babies and these hats make me joyous. It's that simple. Every time I hold a three pound baby and every time I plop one of my silly little hats onto one of those tiny little heads I see God in their eyes and for those moments I am a mountain of faith that the world is a wondrous place and we are blessed to be here, all connected as one big family on Earth. On this Thanksgiving I am thankful for all of our little miracles and that I am so lucky to play a part, through respiratory therapy and by knitting hats, in their first days in this life.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the little Littles and to us all!
Over 13 MILLION babies are born prematurely in the world every year with the highest preterm births in Africa and Asia. 600,000 of those babies are born the United States. Rates of premature birth have risen 36% in the U.S. over the last 25 years. 28% of the 4 million neonatal deaths each year are contributed directly to prematurity of birth.
While I have been stuck on the same swaddling blanket for the NICU all month, and just ran out of yarn with 12 more rows to go, my girl Jordan has been on the ball with her hats. Love these two in red with counterbalancing colors.
I have to brag. Jordan is my 17-year-old niece who is passionate about our NICU and Africa hat projects. At the same time she whipped out these two hats over the last couple of weeks, she's also started her senior year in high school and is working two afternoons a week at the local "Etc" store for the school district where the teachers go to pick up extra supplies that have been donated for projects.
The nieces spent a couple of days with us this week, which was a blast! One of the projects we tackled, besides school supply and school clothes shopping was knitting. I had bought the knitting looms and supplies at least six months ago, if not longer, and I always have a dresser drawer (or two) in the spare bedroom full of yarn for them to choose from. To be honest I thought it would be a lot harder to do and teach than what it is. I'd never used a knitting loom before either so while Sydney was lounging in the jacuzzi with a soda, a book, dimmed lights and scented candles...Jordan and I tackled the project. We wanted to get the gist of it down before trying to teach Sydney and confusing her with false starts. It's really fun and quick to pick up. Jordan and I found that within a few rows we'd caught on to some little tricks that made the process easier and later, while I helped Sydney, we would call out "okay when this happens then you do this to fix it..." hints as we found ways that even simple projects can be screwed up and then fixed again.
Jordan took to this like a duck on water. She was so quick. We started about 7pm and we were all so excited and having fun that even though Uncle Gene went to bed at 10pm we stayed up knitting until 3am! In that time Sydney completed one cute hat that she left for "hat baby" and Jordan made THREE things: a washcloth for her Mom, a soap inside a closed knitted pouch for the whole family (her idea--it was very cool!), and her first official hat for the NICU!
We're so excited! It's adorable! I love the colors she picked. She ran two strands, one of a variegated blue/periwinkle and another strand of a denim color. Really cute together, don't you think?
I took this pic of Sydney holding hat baby with the first hat she made (great job, Sydney!!!) and when I showed the pic to Jordan she said "How cool. That looks like a Colleen picture!" See, Colleen? EVERYONE thinks you take great pics and any of them that are a little more fun we call them "Colleen" shots.
Jordan chose purple for the dishcloth because that's her mom, Suzanne's, favorite color.
She chose bright pink for the bathtub soap pouch. We sewed up one end, put a bar of Lever 2000 soap in it, and then sewed up the other end. Not only will it lather great, we all think that soap brand smells really fresh and clean without being perfumey.
I'm thinking I'd be thrilled if she made me and Gene one for Christmas. Hint hint!!!
I started to say that by 3am Jordan could hardly keep her eyes open, but I don't think there's any hardly there. We were all walking zombies and slept in until almost noon.
The girls hard at work...
And what have I been up to? I'm finishing the hat designs for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas that our knitting group has graciously pleged to help me make: "costume" hats for Halloween, pumpkin and turkey hats for Thanksgiving, and Santa hats for Christmas.
In the meantime, though, we've also start a new project as a group to not only work on hats but to knit small preemie-sized swaddling blankets. These are my first two blankets, along with a new hat I've designed for spring that has a knitted -in rose in the crown.
And that, my friends, is what's been happening in the Knitting for the NICU world.
It's nearing the end of June and we all know what that means: 4th of July is just around the corner! It wouldn't be fair of us to celebrate the holiday without including our little NICU bubbas, now would it?
This is "Hat Baby" proudly displaying the two dozen hats that I'll turn in to the NICU Friday night before work, which has a happy coincidence that I'll finish my training that night in Pediatrics. So it will be a celebration in a couple of ways.
We have traditional flags...
We have non-traditional stripes...
And now for something completely different....
I like the red hat with the posey. I think that could be cute adapted with other colors.
As usual, all the designs are my own and we send all the hats home with parents to keep as souvenirs to remember the holiday.