Friday, August 10, 2012


Dr. White
Dr. Clint White, neonatologist, and Leigh Ann Leonard, pediatric nurse manager, accompanied a group from Pine Belt Quilters on a tour of Forrest General's new family-centered NICU this week. All preconceived notions of a preemie baby nursery were dispelled as we saw this state-of-the-art unit. Every measure has been taken to provide a comfortable, efficient, and welcoming atmosphere for the newborn and its family. Depending on the length of time the baby is early, all conditions of light, temperature, sound can be monitored and altered to mimic the time it missed in the mother's womb. Dr. White stressed the importance of rest and sleep, and these rooms provide quiet that is unusual for most hospitals. 

Members of Pine Belt Quilters had made and donated isolette covers for the 19 rooms, and we were eager to see these in use.  We were glad to be asked to make these and we developed a pattern from a worn-out white/gray one. When premature babies are fighting for survival in a sterile, frightening environment, having colorful objects in their rooms can be a tremendous boost to the spirits of the family as well as the medical staff.  The covers are made of the three layers (just like a quilt), a colorful outer fabric, a layer of batting, and a gray inside fabric. (The gray helps the staff see the baby's true skin color.) The covers have several flaps which allow the baby to be tended to with very little disturbance.

Isolette with cover
Leigh Anne Leonard with Baby Wall mural
 The "Baby Wall: Life's Little Miracles," a large mural created for the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation, fills a hallway, providing a beautiful and whimsical way to raise funds for the NICU and families. Kym Garraway-Braley painted the mural and continues to add names of honorees or donors. Information is available about donations to the foundation at . Click on "Ways to Give" and then "Baby Wall."
Dr. White with Baby Wall mural


Anonymous said...

Awesome to see how the isolate covers are used and how appreciative the hospital staff were for the covers!
Shirley Wiltshire

MomTo#Miracles said...

Is there any way to get this pattern? I would love to make some to donate to our local NICUs. All 3 of my kids were micropreemies. My email address is

Martha Ginn said...

I imagine different NICUs might use a different brand or type of isolets. The nurses let us take a well-worn cover and make a pattern from it; after many washings in the required hot water, these did some shrinking, so for the next group we make we are prewashing the batting and fabric and also enlarging the pattern a bit. It seems you would need to draw your own pattern based on the isolets being used. We made these of gray cotton fabric, a layer of batting, and an outer piece of colorful flannel. Each of the six pieces was serged and then all serged pieces were machine stitched to assemble. Martha Ginn

Melissa said...

Hello! My baby is currently in the NICU and has just been transferred to a hospital that has no covers and desperately needs some. Her isolette is a giraffe model, the same as pictured on your site! Do you have the pattern available? I would be most grateful.

Martha Ginn said...

Melissa, usually when a comment comes in a long time after the original post, it is spam. But by following your name and reading your blog, I verified that your comment was indeed genuine and definitely heartfelt.
My best suggestion is measuring the top and creating this piece, then two "flaps" off each side and one "flap" off the back, letting the flaps slightly overlap each other. There are two "buttonholes" in the top piece near the front, which go over two prongs on the isolette. I hope these simple instructions will be helpful. We made our pattern out of brown wrapping paper, making marks for where to attach each piece.
What a brave struggle your family is in and I pray God's blessing and grace for you all.