Mom makes red hats for newborns to help raise awareness of what happened to her baby.

32 years ago, Sue Hipple gave birth to her third child, Timothy. It seemed that everything was exactly as it should be.

"A quick, easy delivery — half an hour and he was there!" Sue told Upworthy.

While he was smaller than her other two children had been when they were born and his lips were a little blue, the doctors assured Sue and her husband that Timothy was just fine.


Photo provided by Sue Hipple, used with permission.

It wasn't until the next morning — which just so happened to be Father's Day — that another doctor realized something was amiss.

Timothy was immediately flown to another hospital with more resources and specialists. There, a pediatric cardiologist listened to Timothy's heart.

"He didn't think Timothy would still be alive by the time my husband got there," Sue said.

But Timothy did make it through the day. And by the time he was 10 days old, his tiny body had undergone two heart surgeries for what doctors had believed was a single heart defect.

It turned out, however, that Timothy had four separate heart defects.

"The nurses called him a little fighter," Sue said. So for his one-month birthday, Sue knitted itty-bitty boxing gloves and made trunks for little Timothy.

"I always tell people babies have an amazing will to live," she said.

The little fighter, wearing his boxing gloves and trunks. Photo shared by Sue Hipple, used with permission.

Timothy's will was strong. He was transferred to a third hospital, where he continued to fight as doctors did their best. Unfortunately, Timothy passed away at 9.5 weeks old during a major open-heart surgery.

Sue reflects on her time with Timothy fondly, despite how difficult it must have been:

"He was an amazing little kid. He had a personality and we got to know him and there were all the ups and downs encapsulated in that summer that you have in raising any child — a little more dramatic, though. We had a lot of joy and laughter, as well as tears and sorrow, and we grew a lot in our faith. [We] learned a lot about unconditional love and putting people ahead of things. It shaped our family."

33 years later, Sue looks back on Timothy's brief time on Earth with a full heart.

She points out how far medical science has come in that time: "Today, things are so advanced, maybe he would have lived."

Sue and Timothy just three days after he was born. Photo provided by Sue Hipple, used with permission.

She also knows how much Timothy's life meant. "Even in our sorrow and sadness 33 years ago, we can look back now and see that his life mattered," Sue said. "He has effected change, and his legacy still continues."

To honor Timothy's memory, Sue joined an initiative by the American Heart Association to knit red caps for newborn babies.

The Little Hearts, Big Hats project is a way to spread awareness about congenital heart defects, which are the most common type of birth defect in the United States. Last February, babies born in hospitals around the country were given tiny red caps, all knitted by volunteers like Sue Hipple.

Photo provided by the American Heart Association, used with permission.

"Last year, volunteers from all 50 states and six countries ... knitted more than 15,000 hats for Chicago’s Little Hats, Big Hearts project," Corey Rangle, director of communications for the American Heart Association, told Upworthy. The hats were distributed to hospitals in three different states.

Photo provided by the American Heart Association, used with permission.

The response was incredibly positive. This year, there are even more volunteers, and the hats will be delivered to over 260 hospitals in 33 states (and counting).

Sue joined the project again this year. She even customizes her hats with a special heart and tag to memorialize Timothy.

Photo provided by Sue Hipple, used with permission.

Sue's plan is to knit 33 hats in honor of Timothy — he would have been 33 this year.

Not only are these hats raising awareness (and funds) for congenital heart defects, but they're spreading a lot of smiles because ... cute, squishy newborns in tiny red hats!

All photos of painfully cute babies in red hats provided by the American Heart Association, used with permission.

While I could look at these adorable babies all day, it's important to remember why they're wearing those cute red hats.

Sadly, congenital heart defects continue to affect babies at a high rate — over 35,000 American babies born each year will have one.

And, second only to the federal government, the American Heart Association is the largest funder of pediatric heart research. If you'd like to help, you can check out the Little Hats, Big Hearts page.

Unfortunately, Timothy's story didn't have a happy ending. But because of awareness, research, and fundraising, many more babies born with heart defects today have a chance at a healthy life!

Stories of women giving birth when they didn't even know they were pregnant are always a bit mind-boggling. Some people say they don't believe it's possible, but bodies are strange and some pregnancies really do fly under the radar.

Such was the case with Lavinia "Lavi" Mounga, who boarded a flight from Salt Lake City to Hawaii on April 28 with no inkling that she was carrying a baby, nor that he would make his grand entrance 35,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

"I didn't know I was pregnant and this guy just came out of nowhere," Mounga said in a video from Hawaii Pacific Health, where she and her newborn son, Raymond Mounga, were taken to after the plane landed. "It has been very overwhelming, and I'm just so lucky that there were three NICU nurses and a doctor on the plane to help me, and help stabilize him and make sure he was OK for the duration of the flight."

The doctor on board, Dr. Dale Glenn, is a family physician who practices in Honolulu. He told ABC 7 that an unusual emergency call came from the crew halfway through the flight.

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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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