Thanks to the sweet nurses at a Florida hospital — and with a nod to April the giraffe and her new calf — baby Jeriel made quite the entrance on Saturday.
Jeriel was born at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla., exactly 12 minutes after April gave birth in an event that was livestreamed to over a million people. In celebration of April's delivery, the nursing staff gave Jeriel a very special hat.
“[Nurse] Jen McCutcheon had made the giraffe hat about two months ago when we thought that the giraffe was going to deliver,” Becky Allen, an RN at the hospital, told TODAY. “So we held onto this giraffe hat and it sat glued to our bulletin board.”
Jeriel wasn’t the only baby to get a handmade hat that day, but his was the only one with such a fun theme.
Allen explained that all of the babies at the hospital get handmade hats — a tradition that started with Paula MacDonald, a dear friend and fellow nurse who passed away just over one year ago at the age of 55.
“She would come in with bags of hats that she’d made at home,” Allen said. “She really wanted every baby that was born here to have a hat.”
To achieve that goal, MacDonald taught other nurses on the staff how to crochet. After she passed, the nurses decided to start the Paula Project to honor her legacy.
Currently, about two-thirds of the nurses on staff make hats. The hospital delivers between 20 to 30 babies daily, and all of them go home with a sweet gift from the staff that helped bring them into the world.
One thing is for sure: These nurses know how to give babies the warmest welcome.