Locks of Love

Posted on Sep 14, 2018

Surgical staff saves locks of hair when preparing babies for surgery to give parents a memento from baby's first haircut.
When surgical staff members like Cindy Cook, R.N., have to shave a baby's head to prepare them for surgery, they'll save a lock of hair so parents have a special memento from their baby's first haircut to cherish later.

Baby’s first haircut.

It’s one of those sweet, nostalgic, Kodak moments that a parent never forgets. At least, it should be.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned.

The air is thick as hopeful parents wait nervously in a quiet waiting room. Nearby in the operating room, a tiny baby sleeps. The silence in the room is broken by the buzz of an electric clipper. Beautiful strands of thick, black hair fall from baby Jake’s head. Landing softly on a small blue towel, the surgical nurses know they are precious as gold to mom.

At this moment, however, a lock of hair is the last thing on mom’s mind. She has the fear and stress of not one but two babies—twins—going through neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in just two days.

Gently, carefully the locks of hair are tucked into a specimen bag for safekeeping until surgery is complete. “Specimen bag” may sound cold and clinical, but Nicole Olds, R.N., knows that today it’s all about the warm and fuzzy. She labels it “Jake” and sets it aside for safekeeping.

Once Jake’s craniosynostosis surgery has wrapped up, each precious strand will be handed to mom and dad for the scrapbook. Likely the same smooth process will repeat itself tomorrow for Logan, Jake’s twin, who also suffers from the fibrous connections in his skull growing together too soon, misshaping his tiny head.

Cindy Cook, R.N., Jake’s other surgical nurse, understands the gravity of this moment. They don’t want mom and dad to miss out on their special haircut memory. 

Thanks to Olds and Cook, who for each infant surgery, take it upon themselves to save these lovely tendrils, the parents will have this special treasure of their twin’s first haircuts.

It will be a reminder someday that Jake and Logan are beautiful, healthy boys because these early surgeries were a success.


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