HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The bags of teeny tiny hats look like dress-up clothes for dolls. It's hard to imagine a child wearing them.
However, they do, and for the families impacted, it can be a sign of tremendous accomplishment to see a NICU baby in clothes. That's why eight women started knitting them.
They knew a premie, themselves. Wiley Davis was just a few pounds when he came into the world and lived at Henrico Doctor's NICU for months.
"We had an emergency situation where he was delivered and he was whisked immediately into the NICU," Lucy, Wiley's mom, explained. She didn't get to see him for days because she was in the ICU.
"A lot of it was just out of my hands. For so long, he was medically unstable. He wasn't able to wear any clothes, other than a diaper, just because there were IVs and tubes even in his head."
That was until the day she saw Wiley in a little hat.
"So, for the first time, I came in, and he had a little baby hat on," Lucy remembered. "It was like the first glimpse of normalcy for us."
Several months later, you can see the little guy is on the move. Happy, busy, and healthy!
However, that little sign of hope stuck with Lucy. She is a lawyer, and one of her clients wanted to do something to help when she was finally able to bring Wiley home. But, they lived so far away. The typical meal deliveries or flowers weren't practical.
Lucy told the employees at Business Finance Group about how moved she was by Wiley's knitted caps. That's when 8 women, miles away, decided they would make them too.
During lunch, the group from Business Finance Group hired a knitting instructor.
"After four lessons, we were on our own," Sally Robertson said. "With needles and yarn and just knitting away and it just sort of became addictive."
So addictive, the group kept knitting at lunch.
"We make them in little sizes. How tiny that baby must be that it wears that itty bitty hat!" Sally exclaimed, holding her bag of hats to donate.
They've produced hundreds of NICU hats since Wiley came home, and donated them to local hospitals.
NBC12 was there as they gave some to the nurses at Henrico Doctor's Hospital. We saw some of the same care workers, who helped Wiley when he was most in need.
"For the parents, it's got to be such a terrible thing to go through," Robertson said. "[It hurts] so much, and there's a little baby that you just desperately want to bring home. We're delighted if it brings some hope."
There's hope knitted tightly in the tiny hats, stitch by stitch, by strangers, who just happened to be touched by the little boy's story of survival.
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