The Gulf Today - Panorama - - WEEK’S PICK -

First the new mother feared for the sur­vival and longterm health of her twin boys, born pre­car­i­ously early and taken straight to the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit be­fore she could hold them.

Then came a lin­ger­ing worry the ba­bies wouldn’t know her as their mother.

“Some­times I won­der if they think the nurses are their mums or if they know who we are,” said Brooke Crutch­field, whose sons have spent the past eight weeks in the NICU at Rush Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Yet Crutch­field takes com­fort in a small piece of fab­ric she leaves be­hind in each of their cribs af­ter vis­it­ing — a 6-inch hand­made cot­ton heart that car­ries her scent so the ba­bies can sense her pres­ence even when she has to be away from their bed­side.

The cloth hearts were given to all NICU fam­i­lies re­cently as part of a new pro­gram at Rush to help strengthen the bond be­tween par­ents and their pre­emies dur­ing th­ese of­ten-tu­mul­tuous hospi­tal stays.

The par­ents take the hearts home and wear them against their skin,

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