Pam Geving is a labor and delivery nurse at the Mayo Clinic Family Birth Center. But she wears another (ahem) hat there as well, creating handknit beanies for babies born on holidays throughout the year.
It's a labor of love that started when Geving was looking for a new outlet for her creativity.
"I used to do cross-stitch and kept accumulating projects," she says. "I didn't know what to do with them. I started looking for something I could make that people would want. I wanted to find something that would make people happy and fill my cup too."
Soon after taking a knitting class with her daughter, she landed on just the thing.
"I was looking at projects on Ravelry and saw an adorable pumpkin hat," Geving says. She made a patch — er, batch — and they were so well received that Geving immediately started working on tiny turkey caps for babies born on Thanksgiving. After that, it was reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees for those born on Dec. 24 or 25.
Geving makes 12 hats per holiday, each one taking several hours to complete. "They're all a little different," she says. "I'm pretty careful when I'm knitting them. I want people to enjoy receiving them as much as I enjoy making them."
Mission accomplished, says Lauren Kendall Rauchfuss, M.D.
"The hats bring joy to patients and make them feel special," Dr. Kendall Rauchfuss says. She saw that first as a resident physician caring for patients at the Family Birth Center. Then, in March 2021, she was the recipient of her own special delivery.
"I was in labor, and Pam came in and brought me a hat for James, which brought the biggest smile to my face," Dr. Kendall Rauchfuss says of the St. Patrick's Day-themed beanie she received for her son. "I was so excited and honored to receive one. I loved it so much that I asked her to make me one for Easter as well."
Geving happily agreed, gifting sweet baby James with his own bunny hat, a popular pattern. "People have really loved the bunny hats," Geving says, though her personal favorite is the hat she knits for babies born on New Year's Eve. "The gold thread it in really sparkles and pops," she says.
Geving hopes that for the families who receive one of her hats, the keepsake will serve as a reminder of the care they received at Mayo Clinic.
"When you're a labor and delivery nurse, you are part of one of the most important days in people's lives," she says. "How you care for them makes a difference. Most nurses really bend over backward for their patients. We all want to make our patients happy, and we want them to have a good experience. We value that this is a special day for them. The hats are a way to say, 'You're super important, and this is a really special day to have a baby.'"