Grandparents Unite, And Crochet An Octopus For A Preemie
By Cheryl Cash
When my daughter announced her first pregnancy, I prayed the universal prayer of all grandparents: “Let it be healthy and strong!” Imagine a preemie isolated in their incubator, surrounded by the noise of machines and a web of tubing. Enter the Octopus For A Preemie movement!
Octopus for a preemie is a group that crochets octopuses and gifts them to neonatal units. The tentacles of the octopus mimic the umbilical cord in the womb that the fetus grabs onto for support. Danish research has noted that this simple gesture improves breathing and heartbeat rates, promotes higher levels of oxygen in their blood, makes them less likely to pull on the tubes and cords around them, and makes them feel safe.
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Poole Hospital in the United Kingdom posted a press release after trying the octopus in their NICU. They have since received hundreds from caring crafters around the world. As a matter of fact, seventeen countries to date have organized and implemented similar programs in their country. You can see a full list here.
According to the CDC, preterm pregnancies affects about 1 in 10 births in the US. The octopuses are made to strict guidelines due to the frailty of their patients. But that hasn’t stopped the wave of volunteers from showing up. The US Facebook group more than doubled in under a week. A highly dedicated group are ignoring the cramps in their fingers and pain in their hands as they struggle to complete hundreds of octopuses according to standard. Once complete, the octopus is sent to an ambassador that has spent weeks nurturing a relationship with a hospital in their area. Once approved the acceptable octopuses are on their way to the arms of a preemie while the misfits find a new life comforting other, older children. It is certainly a win-win situation for everybody.
Becky Bitton Creason said it best on her Facebook post:
”As a mother of 26-week preemie twins, this project is near and dear to my heart. I’m happy to say that my boys celebrated their 5th birthday last month, which is nothing short of a miracle when you consider our rollercoaster ride during the 5 months we were in NICU.
The babies will hug their little octopuses, but for some parents, these octos will mean so much more. I have made cherished keepsakes of the sweet hats and tiny blankets my friends and volunteers crocheted for my babies. For parents who are unable to take their babies home, these little octopuses may be one of the few items they will have to remember their angel babies by.”
If you want to get involved, please check out the list of countries here, or if you are in the US and on Facebook, you can request admittance into the group: Octopus For A Preemie-US. Or if you just want a good cry, watch the video here.
Editor’s note: To help ensure the delivery of a healthy weight baby, pregnant women need to eat properly. Here is an important article, “Which Foods To Eat And Avoid During Pregnancy” from thebabbleout.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Cheryl Cash
I’m a left-handed, write-brained writer spending my time trying to figure life out. I think too much, exercise too little and vow to change that soon.