We spent 10 days in the NICU when my son was born. He had a temporary hole in one of his lungs and some breathing issues he needed to work on before we could go home.
It was scary to my husband and I, as newbies in the parenting field. In all reality, our little guy’s issues were minor compared to the majority of problems being addressed in the NICU.
We got to know some of the other parents. Why they were there. How long they had been told to anticipate being there. There were certain machine alerts you became accustomed to and associated little worry with their beeps. Others you knew were bad news. You looked the other way as a politeness when emergencies happened at someone else’s station.
Days were long. Relatively melancholy.
That said, the nurses were always fantastic. They did their best to brighten the mood. Make you feel comfortable. Provide acts of kindness where they could.
On the first day where Henry started to show significant improvement, he happened to be wearing a specific outfit provided by the hospital. It came with a little blue cap, covered with airplanes. We asked to keep the hat on him an additional day as a little good luck charm. The following day, one of more significant improvement, one of our favorite nurses stuck it in my purse and said it was Henry’s to have as she changed his crib sheets. She gave us a wink and said he earned it.
We still have that hat saved with all his newborn things, and it serves as a reminder of how lucky we are.
Fast forward six months and I found myself looking into knitted and crocheted donation options with that children’s hospital. I was sent a list of guidelines to follow. The rules are super strict, but I definitely understand why. For example, I wash my hands every time I get the blankets out to work on. I keep the yarn and finished blankets stored in a room my dog isn’t allowed in- nor is my dog allowed near me when I’m working on them. Whenever there’s a sickness in the house, work on the blankets stop until it’s passed. I don’t work on these particular blankets when I travel. There are specific rules around the kind of yarn used and laundering instructions. Things I sign to confirm I followed the rules each time.
But I love doing it. And I hope that some of my blankets are also looked at as a good luck charm, and that they go home with babies when they’re released from a long stay, eventually to be packed away with the newborn things as a reminder of the family’s longer than anticipated fight to go home.
This is the second year we’ll be dropping blankets off around the time of Henry’s birthday and just before the holidays really start to pick up. My goal was 25 this year but November was a month where there always seemed to be someone under the weather, so no progress was made and the goal was missed by just one. 🙁
I know it’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something. And it’s crazy how many charities out there are specifically for the crochet and knit crowd. So if you have some extra yarn hanging around, and you’re not sure what to do with it… consider doing a quick search on the interwebz. I promise it will end with you doing some good and having all the good feels that come along with it!