I first knit a viking hat when one of our twins was in the hospital recovering from bowel surgery. He (and his brother) had been a 27-weeker and was ten months old at the time of that particular surgery. He became really sick afterwards, and his lungs started to fail. My husband and I left our three other kids with their grandparents and spent the weekend at the hospital with Xander.
Sitting in the pediatric ICU is a funny experience. The doctors and nurses are constantly moving, discussing, monitoring, and adjusting. The parents are, well, spectators. Xander was unconscious, so sitting at his bedside was like sitting beside a very cute lamp. You can look at it, but there isn’t really much interaction. So, to pass the time and to feel like I was doing something, I talked my hubby into a trip to *gasp!* Wal-Mart to get some yarn and needles. (I have since learned to love non-acrylic yarn, especially super-wash merino. At the time, I thought washable, cost-effective yarn only came in the plastic variety.)
This is the “mighty warrior” hat I came up with. I ended up knitting three of them during his stay in the hospital: one for him, one for a baby beside him, and one as a special request for a nurse’s son. Then I made three more when I got home for each of our other sons.
You might be glad to know that Xander’s lungs recovered, and his bowels are all better now, too. But I’ll be the first to admit that his stay in the PICU was a big learning experience and definitely difficult. The doctors tell us that he almost died that time around. I could tell by their faces that they were pretty concerned. But never have I been so certain that God is for us, not against us. Even in the midst of suffering and uncertainty — especially in the midst of such things — He is a source of comfort and peace. And He is powerful.
I knew that at some point, everybody dies, whether we like it or not. I didn’t really know if it was Xander’s time to die or not. I hoped and prayed it wasn’t, and I feel like God reassured me that at this time, it wasn’t. But I was never 100% certain until the day Xander’s lungs started to clear. In the meantime, I chose to keep trusting God, no matter what, and He became my source of strength and peace in the midst of fear and heartache. And, on the same night that my pastor prayed for him at his bedside and my church called an emergency prayer meeting, Xander’s lungs started to clear. They had been in a self-perpetuating cycle of stress, inflammation, more stress, more inflammation, and so on, until that night, when I believe that God stopped the cycle (since the doctors couldn’t do it) and started to make him well again. He recovered steadily from that night on.
It’s funny, really. We shouldn’t be surprised at such things, since the New Testament is full of healings and even contains the promise that Jesus’ followers will be able to ask God for healing and He will answer. But we doubt. We have so many rationales for why there’s another reason behind such coincidences. But a friend of mine and I have a favourite saying when it looks like things fall into place too well: “Coincidence? I think not.”
I’ll be posting the pattern for Xander’s viking hat eventually, when I have time to sit down and write it out. In the meantime, the pattern for the Viking Preemie Hat is available as a Ravelry download for $3. It involves knitting in the round and just a tiny bit of sewing to attach the horns to the hat. I hope you like it!