Each year, babies born at Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center in December receive a special Christmas gift – handmade stockings sized specifically for the little bundles of joy.
On Tuesday, Dec. 22, two volunteers at Chandler Regional surprised a grateful mother and her tiny newborn in the hospital’s nursery intensive care unit (NICU) with a Christmas stocking. Mesa resident and now a mother of five, Esther Ostler held her three-week-old preemie Grace as the volunteers delivered the special holiday gift.
A way to help families celebrate their newborn’s first Christmas, the hospital’s stocking tradition began in the late 1960’s when a volunteer decided to sew stockings to help swaddle and soothe newborns. Since that time, Chandler Regional’s volunteers have sewn hundreds of stockings.
“We design the stockings so that the newborns can fit inside of them,” says Jo Plozsaj, volunteer at Chandler Regional. “The babies look so precious when their families dress them in the stocking for memorable holiday pictures.”
Plozsaj and fellow volunteer Joan Sisley have a long tradition in creating unique gifts for patients including blankets, baby bonnets, and even heart shaped pillows for cardiac patients.
“We are so grateful for our wonderful volunteers who go above and beyond to show humankindness to our patients,” says Lori Mercer, Chandler Regional’s Volunteer services manager. “We hope the stockings given to the babies born in our birthing center this holiday season will be very memorable for their families.”
Born prematurely on Nov. 28, Baby Grace is continuing to grow and will likely spend her first Christmas in Chandler Regional’s NICU. Thankful for the kind gesture, Ostler is counting down the days until Grace can join her brother and sisters at home.