When our twins were born, they spent a short while in neonatal followed by about a week in a nursery room.
They stayed there until they could feed on their own, without the need for a syringe for milk.
It completely went against my nature not to be sleeping beside them, but since it wasn't possible, I wore a path up and down the corridors to be with them as much as I could, day and night. During that time, I met with an array of interesting, caring and funny nurses; each willing to impart advice and stories to me.
The day before our girls were due to go home, someone came into the nursery with little hand-knit hats and blankets for all the newborns. I remember crying because I was so moved that a stranger would go to the trouble of spending hours making something so beautiful as a gift for someone they didn't know and was unlikely to ever meet. OK, the tears may have been partly hormonal but you get the picture.
I never forgot their kindness or that feeling that we were not alone in our journey through this time. I often think about that person and hope they know how much their kindness meant to our family.
Those little blankets were used from that moment on, even when they got too small for their purpose. I was so attached to them that once when I left one behind at my parents’ house a couple of hours drive away, my mother posted it to me, as she knew how disappointed I was that I forgot it.
A few years later and I'm sitting in a church at my friend's granny’s funeral. She lived to a really good age and had a couple of dozen grandchildren and nearly as many great grandchildren. From the altar, one of her grandchildren referenced the fact that her granny used to knit blankets for the babies in neonatal. If only I had known, I would have visited her with the twins along with a pressie, to say thanks for the joy her actions bring to those who receive her handmade gifts.
Alas, I never got the chance but I want this piece to be a gentle shout out to all those wonderful people who knit for the little babies in hospital and if you have a family member or friend who does it, please give them a BIG hug from me.