Weaving Stories of Hope in WMC’s Obstetrics Department
with Williamson Medical Center
For more than fifty years, area resident Janet Weidner has been crocheting blankets, crafts, baby booties and outfits. If you can think of it, Janet can crochet it. But, about a year ago, the lifetime hobby became something more. As the crafter behind the themed crocheted baby outfits featured in Williamson Medical Center’s (WMC) baby photos each month, Janet is proud to play a small role in celebrating the hospital that means so much to her.
Starting the Chain
Janet first started crocheting to regain dexterity in her hand following a surgery. When Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago while living in Florida, crocheting became the thread that held her together. During chemo, Janet, armed with a crochet hook and yarn, would create lap blankets for her fellow patients.
“My breast cancer was pretty rough,” Janet recalled. “During that year of chemo, crocheting is really what kept me going. I couldn’t do that much, so I would crochet.”
Closing the Loop
A few years ago, after her battle with cancer, Janet and her husband retired and moved to middle Tennessee to be closer to their son and daughter-in-law who live in Williamson County. That is when Janet’s path first crossed with Williamson Medical Center and nurse/photographer, Kristie Lloyd.
“I went through my cancer, and I was just determined that I was not going to give up,” Janet said. “I just knew I had more things in life to do—and I’ve had three more grandkids since the cancer, including Charlotte, my miracle granddaughter born at Williamson Medical.”
Charlotte was born early after a high-risk pregnancy, which the Williamson Medical Center staff helped the family navigate. Kristie Lloyd, who takes the monthly photos of the Williamson Medical Center babies, also formerly worked part-time as a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital and was on duty assisting the delivery team when Charlotte’s birth became an emergency. Janet is grateful for the hospital staff’s quick actions and compassionate care that resulted in Charlotte’s safe delivery.
In addition to being a nurse, Kristie has a photography business and took the newborn photos of Janet’s granddaughter, Charlotte. “When I was approached about making baby outfits and realized it was for Williamson Medical Center, that made it so much better,” Janet said. “Then I realized Kristie was taking the photos. It’s not a coincidence; it’s a God thing.”
Julie Benavides, a labor and delivery nurse at WMC, said Janet’s family’s experience reflects Williamson Medical Center’s caring, relational approach to patients and their families.
“What sets us apart is our attention to detail,” Julie said. “We customize our care to each patient, and we really focus on getting to know our patients and building a relationship with them.”
Williamson Medical Center’s awarding-winning obstetrics (OB) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) offer exceptional labor and delivery services close to home. “Our goal is a healthy mom and a healthy baby,” Julie said, noting that the medical professionals and staff work to build a personalized plan of care for each prospective mother and family, allowing for natural childbirth options, doulas and more, in the delivery room. The hospital and OB staff are also well-equipped to handle births that don’t exactly follow the plan, like Charlotte’s, accommodating C-sections and more.
“It’s so special to be with the parent in that most intimate moment in their life,” Julie said. “I love seeing their faces when they hear that first cry, and I never take it for granted. At Williamson Medical Center, we’re like a family.”
When Williamson Medical Center’s baby photos are shared each month, Julie, Kristie and Janet all look forward to the community’s response. “I mean who doesn’t love a cute baby photo?” Julie said. “Those crocheted outfits, the detail Janet puts into them—we truly appreciate it because it just brings joy to everyone in the community.”
Janet says that once a theme is developed for the photo shoot, she gets to work finding patterns or sketching out her ideas. Depending on the intricacy level, it usually takes her about a week to crochet the outfits. Then, it’s Kristie’s turn. “I coordinate a time to go up to the hospital and find parents willing to let their babies model for us,” Kristie said. “Most parents really love getting newborn photos of their babies, and we also make sure they get copies of those photos, too.”
Kristie has since transitioned from the OB team and works as a PRN in the occupational health department at Williamson Medical Center. However, she still works with babies as a photographer. “My photography business focuses on maternity and newborn photos, so while I am not helping deliver babies anymore, I am photographing them!”
To make the whole experience even more special, Williamson Medical Center gifts the outfits to the parents after the photoshoot. “The fact that parents get to take the outfit home, it hits my soft spot,” Janet said. Kristie agrees.
“Williamson Medical Center has been a part of my life for almost a decade now,” she said. “It’s amazing to still work there as a nurse but also have a broader involvement in the community through the baby photos. People look forward to them every month — that definitely makes you feel good.”
Janet is also working with the Williamson Medical Center Foundation on another endeavor supporting women going through breast cancer. Watch for information to come about the Operation Pink Chairs Project.
To learn more about Williamson Medical Center’s award-winning OB and NICU care, visit williamsonmedicalcenter.org.