Friday, December 9, 2011

Current needs

I just sent my very last sleeper sack off today in the mail to a family waiting for a teeny little triploidy angel to be born.  I have loved the ones I've used so far.  They fill an important gap size-wise that I previously didn't have.  The sewn gowns work great for babies that are about 1-1 1/2 pounds up to 3 pounds for the small size and 3 pounds up to about 6 -7 pounds for the bigger size.  But most of the little 20 weeker peanuts that I go take photos of are less than a pound.  Far less, even.  I recently did a session for a baby weighing less than 3 ounces.  It is a beautiful thing to pull out a little sleeper sack that is just the right size in such situations.

So, if you're looking for something to keep you busy in the days between Christmas and New Year's when things slow down, pull out a crochet hook or set of knitting needles and set to work!  I have a few small girl dresses, but not a ton, so I'd appreciate those as well.  Same with small stretchy hats that would fit over a plum, orange, or grapefruit.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fighting the blahs

I can feel them creeping in.  I'm doing better this year than last, but 'tis the season for me until I get past Elizabeth's birthday.

Tell me your best two ways to kick the angel baby blues to the curb.  (I suspect we can all use it at this time of the year).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sizing Guidelines

I often get asked about sizing for especially the little bitty micropreemies.  It is hard to imagine how small these wee little angels are until you've held one.  I found this sizing chart, which should help those of you that are crocheting sleeper sacks and dresses, to make sure that you're getting proportions right.

Click here to link to the chart.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Service project results - gift boxes

 I rounded up a group of my angel mamas and set them to work with a stack of boxes, paint, scrapbook paper, ribbon, and mod podge, and this is what they came up with.  I love how unique each one is!  Beautiful work, ladies!  I know they will be appreciated by the families that receive them.  This is an ongoing need, and would be a great one for a youth project, women's group or even a sit-around-after-Thanksgiving-dinner family project.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Darling Little Diapers

 I had several sets of the absolutely darling little diapers donated a couple of weeks ago.  I have already used them at two photosessions.  These fill a very important gap in bereavement supplies.  Our Elizabeth was just under 3 pounds, and the smallest preemie diaper the hospital had fit her perfectly.  It's about the size of a maxi pad (sorry - best visual I could come up with :)!)  But what about all these teeny little peanuts that are born between 18-28 weeks that are anywhere from half a pound up to 1 1/2 pounds?  Most of the time, there simply isn't anything to cover their bums.  I have seen nurses fashion a "diaper" out of a piece of gauze, or even cutting up a regular diaper into a small one and trimming down the tabs.  None of those options are ideal.  That's why I got super excited when I first laid eyes on these.
Here they are on a cutting mat so that you can see the sizes.  Each square is one inch.  These were made by a woman near me as part of a service project to honor her own angel.  She made sets of two of each pattern so that the family will have one as a keepsake if they wish to bury their baby with the other one.  It's a very thoughtful gift.  I love these colorful patterned ones, but could also use lots of plain white ones.  Most of the clothing I have is white, and wild patterns show through.

You can click here to download the pattern.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Service need - gift boxes

I am contacted periodically by people wanting to do a service project of some sort.  It came to my attention this week when I was doing an angel session that SHARE Parent, a bereavement support organization in my area, is nearly completely out of gift boxes.  Volunteers from this group come and do hand and foot molds at the hospitals that aren't equipped to do it themselves, and they present the finished molds to the families in beautifully decorated boxes like the ones shown.  These photos are courtesy of some of my angel family friends.

Circle, oval and rectangle boxes are all appropriate.  They need to have enough space for some padding as well as up to full term baby size molds (generally of each hand a foot for a total of four).  These are all made of cardboard, the sort of boxes you can readily get at any craft store and decorate to your own taste.

 This family received two boxes - the top one is for the hand and foot molds, and the lower one was from the hospital for their blankets, clothing, and other keepsakes.  It is covered in fabric.

 I think this decoration is beautiful and tasteful.
 If you choose to make some of these, you may donate them to your local hospital, contact a SHARE chapter in your area, or if you're in the Salt Lake area, I will be happy to connect you with a SHARE volunteer here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gowns, Hats, Headbands and the whole shebang

Here are some examples of crocheted and knitted items that have been donated recently.  I LOVE the sleeper sack on the top left and the dress on the bottom left.  They are both perfectly proportioned for babies around 20 weeks gestation, and smaller by far than the small size gowns that we sew.  The sleeper sack opens all the way down in the front and the gown opens all the way down in the back - very important when dressing wee little babes with fragile skin.  Across the top row are two more variations of the sleeper sack, both knit, and a dress that opens all the way down the back.  This size of dress is ideal for about a 22-24 week gestation baby.  On the bottom row, the pink dress is beautiful.  The skirt is a little long in proportion to the torso, which is a problem I see with many patterns, but otherwise it's great.  Notice that the skirts on all three gowns are tightly crocheted.  No big lacy holes for little feet to get caught in.

The last two items on the bottom row are buntings.  These are ideal for 18-20 week babies that are not in good enough shape to actually dress in clothing.  One of my angel grandpas has made several of these for me, and I love that I can tell the families that they were made by him.  Notice the open rows of stitching to thread a ribbon through to help tie it shut.  I have also at times added a simple square of flannel inside.  The bunting on the left is beautiful, but a little bulky with the border.  As I messed around with it a bit, I figured out that I can overlap the edges in the front and even thread the ribbon through the corners to pull them down and away from the baby's face.

 Little details like the ribbon belt and tiny bow on the front make a big difference.
 Close up of this gown.  If any of you find the pattern for it, please email me or post it in the comments so that I can post it.
 I have a wide array of hats and headbands that have been donated.  The size up at the top is perfect for 20 week gestation babies.The blue one on the bottom row is normal newborn size.  Most of these hats are knitted and are perfectly stretchy.  The crocheted ones have a little stretch, but not nearly as much.  I LOVE the little embellishments, like the purple flowers and the ribbon threaded through, and the cute things worked in to the pattern like the twisty knot on top.  The headbands have stretchy soft elastic bands and a variety of flowers and bows.  The largest size would fit a normal newborn head, and the small one on the bottom is perfect for a 20 week gestation baby.

 I adore these little matched sets.  I am waiting for just the right family to use them.  Huge thanks to the people who have put the time, effort and love into making all of these items!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to hold a successful sewing day

To celebrate Elizabeth's third birthday, I did a one time blitz of making blankets, gowns, bracelets and hats for the hospital I was working for at the time when I realized that they basically had nothing in their infant bereavement stash.  I patted myself on the back and thought I was done.  But over the course of that year, every month or so, I'd get a call from someone who knew someone who knew that I made gowns, usually a very last minute urgent type of a need.  I would frantically drop everything, pull out my sewing machine, and make a tiny gown.  It soon became apparent that the need was great.  So for Elizabeth's fourth birthday, I made the commitment to do monthly sewing sessions.  I have done it ever since, with only one month missed.  Over time, I have managed to get a great group of ladies.  Each month we have a different mix, but I generally have at least 3 or 4 ladies that are regulars and can show everyone else the ropes.  We've got a great system going, which I will share with you so that you can host your own sewing day.
 I spend most of the morning setting up.  I generally scheduled it from 10-3, open house style.  I realize that people are busy, and they'd love to come help, but may not be able to devote 5 whole hours to it.  Starting it at 10 allows me time to get the tables set up, some of the fabric cut and ironed, and the food prepped (more on that later).

I set up three tables.  One for sewing machines, one for finish work, and one for bracelet making.  I do it in my home, so I use my kitchen countertop for cutting.  This could be done an an additional table.  The sewing machine table has an extension cord with a power strip running underneath it so that multiple machines can be plugged in to it at once.  The finish work table is stocked with spools of thread, needles, buttons, embellishments like roses and bows, snaps, liquid stitch to glue the snaps in place before sewing, scissors, a candle and lighter to singe the ribbon ends.
 I set up an ironing board off to the side.  Before the first batch of ladies arrive, I make sure that I have at least a half dozen gowns cut out, side seams ironed, and ribbon and trim precut so that they can grab a gown and get started without any delay.

As people arrive, if they bring a sewing machine, I put them to work sewing gowns.  If not, then I put a person to work on the ironing board, prepping more gowns and doing the final pressing on completed ones.  Another person cuts out gowns, trim and ribbons.  Everyone else either chooses finish work or bracelet sets.  Finish work involves gluing snaps on, then stitching them once they dry, stitching on little embellishments on the girl gowns and bow ties on the boy gowns, and singeing the ribbon ends so that they don't fray.  Three or four people on sewing machines can keep that many people busy with finish work without too much trouble.
 A very important component of happy workers is good food.  I serve lunch at noon, generally homemade bread and a delicious salad of some sort (not pictured - this time it was a lovely combination of mixed baby greens, pears, blackberries, blueberries, spiced pecans, blue cheese and a lemon poppyseed vinaigrette), and lunch meat/cheese and more fruit for the kids.  I am fortunate to have enough space to turn the kids loose downstairs in the basement.  This allows several more women to participate that wouldn't be able to otherwise.
 Then it's back to work!  No rest for the weary!  Jerri's one of my biggest supporters and enjoys playing hooky from work every so often to come to sewing day.
 Jenn gets a little wild with the iron.  I have to reign her in.  Notice in the background I have bins of ribbon.  My friend Coree helped me find a source to order huge spools - 50 and 100 yard increments - for 5-6 bucks each.  It's been a couple years since I ordered, so I will have to verify that the company is still in business.  If you're interested, send me an email and I will see what I can find out for you.
 Finishwork ladies.  Sewing on snaps and bow ties.  Two of the ladies are fellow NILMDTS photographers (the one at the end of the table is the ever wonderful Julie who took our photos), and the other woman is an angel mama.
Confession:  I hate sewing on the snaps.  I have a hard time seeing the clear snaps against white fabric.  Therefore, I am always grateful to hand that task off.
 Another one of my angel mamas working away.  I order my beading supplies in bulk from Fire Mountain Gems.  There's no real right or wrong way to do the bracelet sets - just make some aspect of the mom and baby ones match.  For girls I do large pearl bracelet with pink crystals and a charm for the mom and a small pearl bracelet with small pink crystals and a matching charm for the baby.  For boys I do a large pearl bracelet with blue crystals and a charm for the mom and a ribbon bow with the charm dangling from the middle set on a bar pin for the baby.  Many other people have made sets for me out of different styles of beads.  That's great!  Just make them match.  (Just realized I didn't take any photos of the finished product of any of these.  I will add one when I do.)

 We have a good time at sewing day.  Good company, good food, and making things for angels - you really can't get better than that!
 It sometimes gets a little chaotic with kids milling around and stuff everywhere, but really, the process flows pretty smoothly.  We've got it down pat.  Char, in the middle, likes to do things in a stack.  She'll sew all of the side seams of a half dozen gowns, then all of the sleeves, etc.  She's quite efficient at it.  When we get the right mix of ladies, each of us like to do different parts of the gown, so we'll assembly line the process.  Otherwise, we each just do our own individual gowns.  Either way works.
 This is a relic from a church group that did a sewing day for gowns for me.  Since they had women that were all new to the process, the lady in charge separated out all of the tasks even more, and had instructions like this on each table.  I would highly recommend this if you're doing a sewing session on a scale of more than 8 or so people, especially if none of them have sewn this particular pattern before. I'd also like to point out that on the Angel Babies main page under the Patterns tab, I have the pattern downloadable in addition to step by step instructions with photographs.
 Finished products of gowns in both sizes.  I took this photo on top of my cutting mat to show measurements, not because I think the green checkerboard look is particularly nice.

Here's a days' work.  Plus another 12 gowns that just need finish work.  In the past, I would spend three or so days after my sewing day trying to complete all the finish work.  I drove myself crazy.  I finally realized that it's actually good to put everything away right at the stage we wrap up at.  I hang up the complete gowns that have had all the finish work done and a final pressing.  The ones that haven't had snaps put in get put into a bag, and the gowns that are ironed but not sewn get put into another bag.  Then we pick right up where we left off the next month and no one has to wait for someone else to do a step to get started.

So, to summarize, here are some tips for success:

  1. Advertise well in advance.  I do this on my blog and on facebook.  I like to allow 10-14 days for people to plan, if not more.
  2. Purchase your supplies well in advance.  Use coupons and buy in bulk - it drives the total cost way down.  You will need fabric, ribbon, trim, thread, liquid stitch, snaps, buttons, and embellishments for the gowns.  For the bracelets you will need pearls in two sizes, crystals in two sizes, charms, jump rings, clasps, crimp beads, beading wire, stretchy cord (for the girl sets), ribbon (for the boy sets), glue gun, bar pins, and little bags to put the sets in.
  3. Set up tables for each major task.  Cutting, sewing and finish work, plus a bracelet table if you are doing that as well.  Set up an ironing area.  Have extension cords and power strips available.
  4. Before the event starts, have a few cut out, side seams ironed and trim cut and ready to go so that there is no delay in putting anyone to work.
  5. If people are unfamiliar with the work flow, put instruction cards on each table.  You may also want to print out a copy of the pattern instructions.
  6. Feed your worker bees.  Everyone works better on a full tummy!
  7. Enjoy the company of other people as you do something wonderful.  Take pride in your work and know that you are making clothing for angels :).
When you're all done making a series of gowns, I suggest contacting your local Labor and Delivery unit.  Ask for the infant bereavement specialist.  This may be a nurse, chaplain or social worker.  Arrange a time to drop the items off.  You may also contact an area coordinator for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  Go to the webpage and search for photographers.  Area coordinators are highlighted in red.  They will then be able to distribute the items to their photographers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Partner Organization: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

One of my absolute favorite non-profit organizations is Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  When I was pregnant with Elizabeth 6 years ago, it was just in it's infancy.  A person suggested that I look in to having photographs taken at the hospital after she was born by one of their volunteers.  I will confess that the idea initially sounded uncomfortable and weird.  I had many fears about how she would look, particularly if she was stillborn.  At the time, the handful of webpages I could find of other babies with Potter's Syndrome, none had good photos and some of their babies had pretty pronounced physical quirks.

A few weeks down the road, as I started to realize that this was going to be our only opportunity to make memories with our baby, I finally went to the organization webpage and searched for photographers in my area.  The search yielded exactly one person for the entire state of Utah.  And she happens to live just a few blocks away from me.  What are the chances??  I contacted her, and was immediately reassured by her kind and welcoming nature.

Things got a little mixed up once we went to the hospital.  I made the mistake of not letting her know that I was headed in to Labor and Delivery.  (As a photographer now, I sincerely appreciate as much lead time as possible so that I can make arrangements to leave my kids to go do a session.)   I simply put on my birth plan to have the nurses contact her once I'd delivered.  Well, they messed up.  A couple hours in to Elizabeth's three hours with us, I asked about it, and the nurse got flustered and said she hadn't been able to reach Julie.  We called her ourselves, but by that point, our doctor had taken several photos on our camera, and I told her to not worry about coming, that we had plenty.  This is a mistake that I still regret to this day.  If there's one thing I've learned, you can never have too many photos!  It's your only chance to document a precious time.  Julie felt so bad, and offered to photograph our keepsakes from the hospital, retouch the photos we had taken, and come to the funeral home.

Julie did a beautiful, amazing job on the photos she took at the funeral home.  I am SO grateful that she came and did that for us.  Again, I was afraid of how Elizabeth would look once she had been prepared by the mortician, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that she looked like a gorgeous little doll.

Elizabeth in the hands of her Grandparents

What I didn't know at the time is that we were the very first family to contact Julie.  She'd heard about NILMDTS and signed up a few months prior, but hadn't gotten any calls.  Over time, the hospitals in our area have come to realize what a priceless and compassionate gift we are able to offer the families, and on average, our area coordinators field 300 or so calls per year.  A year ago, I finally got brave enough (after much practice with photoshop and my camera + external flash) to start doing sessions myself.

Not only do our photographers go to the hospitals at any time of the night or day to do a private photosession, but they edit the images.  This is a huge deal.  Many of the babies need quite a bit of retouching in order to help the families remember them in the best possible way.  A disc is provided to the family with images, and usually a slideshow as well, for no charge.  For an average photosession that I do with a baby that doesn't have very problematic skin, it's an 8-10 hour investment of my time, including travel to and from the hospital, shooting time, and editing.  For a difficult editing session, or a session with a large extended family and a higher number of images, that can easily double.  Photographers are responsible for providing their own camera equipment, discs, labels, mailing costs, etc.

NILMDTS has grown from a small handful of photographers to literally thousands of volunteers all over the country.  The organization runs primarily on donations, and has a small staff to manage the volunteer applications, session paperwork, training, etc.  Julie is now serving as a volunteer board member and trainer.  If you are interested in becoming an affiliated photographer, wander around their webpage, and then send me an email if you have further questions.  I am happy to teach anyone what I know in order to facilitate them becoming an infant bereavement photographer.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month, and October 15th in particular is a day that we remember our angels.  If you're looking for a wonderful place to donate money in honor of the angels in your life, please consider NILMDTS.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crochet pattern for gowns

I have a few people crocheting me example gowns from this pattern and similar ones, and I will post photos once I get my hands on them.  Two modifications I request if you use this pattern are to make the opening in the back go either all the way down, or at least a 6" slit for ease of dressing, and either tighten up the stitch pattern on the skirt so that there aren't so many large holes or hand stitch a simple fabric liner inside the skirt.

(I also wouldn't recommend ironing on a poodle patch...random.  But the iron mark gave me a good laugh.)

Here's the link to the pattern!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Partner Organization Spotlight: Salt Lake Prenatal Massage

 I had the pleasure of visiting with Tammy Adams (left) and Rebecca Overson (right) last week at the Salt Lake Prenatal Massage clinic that Rebecca owns.  Tammy is an angel mama, and as a result of her experience with massage after her loss, she has created a Massage after Baby Loss program.  Tammy and Rebecca are working on gathering data about the benefits of massage in the process of healing, and have created a series of discounted massages for those that are willing to fill out a survey after each session.  Tammy has also offered a single free massage for angel mamas in the area.  Please contact her for details.
 Don't let the name of the clinic fool you.  Rebecca and her staff cater to women of all needs, not just pregnant women.  They have set aside one massage room specifically for loss moms that is devoid of artwork or other pregnant reminders that may be painful triggers.  I expressed my concern that angel moms may feel uncomfortable coming to the clinic at a time when the waiting room is full of blossoming bellies, and Tammy said they have made accommodations to schedule appointments to avoid that.
 The waiting area is welcoming and comfortable, the sort of place that helps you immediately relax.
 Rebecca has hired an impressive staff to work at her clinic.  They offer many services beyond massage, including yoga and other exercise classes geared particularly to the needs of their clientele.

Recognizing that it is often difficult for moms to get child care in order to make it to a massage appointment, the clinic offers nannying on site for a reasonable fee if notified at the time of booking.
My daughter checked out the play room and it met with her approval.

So what's the big deal about massage?  I can tell you from personal experience that it is not simply a  back rub.  Many loss moms have emotional and physical triggers associated with their birth experience that can be worked through with the assistance of a skilled massage therapist.  I wish that I had thought of scheduling massages during the time between when I found out that Elizabeth had a fatal prognosis and when I gave birth.  I believe it would have helped me process my grief in a more positive manner, and helped me relax and bond with her more fully before she was born.  Instead, I remember those twelve weeks as being intensely stressful and full of more negative emotions than positive ones. I am still sad about it.  Therefore, I am passing on this resource in hopes that it can help other angel moms have a better experience.

If you're looking for the nice thing to do for a friend or family member going through a loss, a massage is a great gift.  I get asked frequently for ideas, and this is one of my favorites!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guidelines for hats and headbands

I often get asked about hats and headbands.  They're an awesome gift for bereaved families, and also serve a very valuable purpose of covering bruising and providing support to fragile heads.  I did a photosession recently for a family that doesn't speak English as their primary language.  The hospital had a beautiful crocheted gown on hand, but nothing for their baby's little head.  I pulled out a hat and a headband, and the mom's eyes immediately lit up when she saw the cute little pale pink flower on the headband.  It was just the right touch.

There are a wide range of head sizes.  It is easiest for me to visualize objects of comparison.  The smallest little micropreemies have heads about the size of a plum.  The next size up is about the size of an apple.  Then a large navel orange, a grapefruit, and finally, normal newborn size.

One of my biggest issues with some of the hats I have had donated in the past is their lack of stretch.  In order to slide these hats on without damaging fragile skin, they need to be quite stretchy.  Preferably stretchy enough to turn them inside out and carefully flip them right side out onto their head.  I've had a lot of hats donated that were made on the round looms.  Some of them work ok, depending on what kind of yarn is used, but many of them are pretty tight.  The more flexible ones are either sewn from stretchy fabric, crocheted or knitted.

I love hats that have a little bit of character.  Little embellishments like a flower, pom pom or a button, or a pale blue stripe as an accent make it so much more personal of a gift.  One of my favorite hats that I've photographed was a cute beenie style hat with a crocheted purple flower on the front that matched the accompanying blanket.  Just like I posted in the previous post about yarn colors, though, stay away from rainbow yarn.  Blotchy hat + bruised skin doesn't come out looking so great.  Also, yellow and green don't complement the skin tone well either.

Here are some links to patterns that I particularly like.

Knit hat patterns  (These are my absolute favorite!  So cute!)
Crocheted bonnet for little girls
Knit hat and bootie sets
Knit hat and hand mitt set (This may not be very stretchy, but it's very cute.  More muted shades would be desirable, but the embellishment concept is great.)
Crocheted hat and bonnet patterns (This hat looks like it may not be as stretchy.  I would love some feedback if you try this pattern.)
Hat and Kimono set (totally adorable, and I'd love them in sizes as small as fitting around a standard bottle of water)

Headbands are fantastic for baby girls.  Use soft, stretchy banding that's at least 1/2" wide up to 5/8".  Flowers and bows should be 1-1 1/2" in diameter.  As cute as ginormous big-as-their-head flowers are on healthy newborns, they're a bit much for bereavement use.  Pale pinks, purples, creams, whites, and even pale yellow as an accent color are all great.

I will come back and edit this post to include photos in the next week or so, but in the mean time I just wanted to get some patterns up for those that have requested it.

Thank you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Featured Pattern: Sleeper Sacks

A friend brought my attention to these two patterns, and I love them.  They're essentially the same, just one for crocheters and one for knitters.  We have difficulty finding things for the especially small babies, the 18-22 week gestation angels that are well under a pound.  Any of you crafty ladies and gentlemen out there that can whip some of these up, I will make sure they get put to good use.
Pardon the ugly front-seat-of-my-van backdrop.  I picked these up from Angela (HUGE THANKS to her for staying up in to the wee hours to complete these in one day for a family in need), and went right to the post office with them.  I mailed the blue one along with sewn gowns of each size of my pattern for a little babe with a chromosomal problem that makes extra those angels extra small, so I wanted the parents to be able to have something in each size range to be prepared for any time that he chooses to be born.

This size is absolutely perfect and fills an unmet need for babies that are 18-22 weeks gestation, in the 8-12 ounce/8-10 inch size range.

I'm a very visual person when it comes to size comparisons.  I slid this little sleeper sack over a standard size water bottle and it fit absolutely perfectly.  I adore the matching hat.

Something that I am going to reiterate over and over again, and I am particularly bringing it to your attention on this first post because of the photo in the crochet pattern, is that rainbow yarn doesn't look very good with babies that have bruising and other skin discoloration.  In black and white photos it just comes out looking blotchy.  Stick with simple, muted, solid colors like blue, pink, purple, white and cream.  I actually like the stripes in the knit pattern photo, and little touches like a nice decorative edging are great.  But fuchsia, turquoise, yellow, orange, green, royal blue...just trust me when I say they don't photograph well either next to angel skin.

Measurement wise, many of the babies I have photographed in this size range are 8-10" total length from head to toe, with roughly a 6- 6 1/2" wingspan.  It's better to ere on the side of making the sack a little bit longer, so completed sacks that are 6" wide from sleeve tip to sleeve tip and 10" long, and ones that are a little smaller, 5 1/2" wide and 8" long would be great.  Make the sleeves large enough in diameter to comfortably pass your thumb through so that it's not difficult to ease their little arms in.  Even short sleeve sacks would be welcome.  If you really want to make me faint with happiness, make a matching hat small enough to go over a large plum to small apple size head.

Click on the following links for patterns:

Sleeper Sack - Crochet Version
Sleeper Sack - Knit Version

Sunday, September 18, 2011


After the KUTV news segment aired on Wednesday, I have been inundated with so many wonderful offers to help.  I am thrilled!  This little grassroots project of mine that I took on five years ago as a way to honor my daughter  is ready to grow into something great.  With your help, we can do amazing things and serve far more angel families than I have been able to up to this point.

 Elizabeth Jane is the reason I started all of this.  We didn't know whether she was going to be a boy or a girl because the complete lack of fluid made ultrasound imaging very difficult.  I finally got up the guts to purchase boy and girl outfits to take to the hospital about a month after the initial ultrasound, feeling an urgency to have something on hand.  Once she was born, I realized that I wanted to keep the clothes she wore while she was alive, which meant that immediately after we were discharged from the hospital, we had to stop off at Babies R Us to look for a burial outfit.
 No one should ever have to do that.  Period.  The closest thing we could find that fit her petite little less than three pound frame was a newborn size sweater that fit her like a dress, and we had to roll the sleeves inside.  The pink shirt underneath is a newborn size undershirt.
 Wrapping my beautiful girl up for the last time.  My older kids helped me choose the flannel for this blanket, and I made them matching patchwork blankets in the same size.
I am eternally grateful to Julie Williams, for taking these photos for us at the funeral home.  


It's going to take me a few days to get things really rolling on this blog, so I hope that you will subscribe or check back in frequently.  My intention is to post links to patterns, as well as resources about how to start a sewing group in your own area.  I have had dozens of offers for help from people that live outside of my geographical area, and I would love to see you all serve in your community.

The wonderful thing about this sort of volunteering is that it can be done entirely at your own speed.  If you have a lot of energy and time on your hands for a few days, then work your little heart out.  If life gets busy and you need to set it aside for a few months, no worries.  The need is constant.  We'll still be here when you're ready to come back.

What I can tell you from personal experience both as the mom of an angel and from my service as a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep affiliated photographer is that the items you provide can literally turn the worst day of someone's life around into one of peace and closure.  Having something beautiful to dress and wrap their baby in is a gift of immeasurable value.  Particularly in the cases of sudden stillbirths and micropreemies, the parents are unprepared with anything appropriately sized.

What you contribute will make a difference, and my belief is that everyone can be taught to do at least some aspect of the crafting.  So round up a bunch of friends, go shopping for supplies, and set to work making clothes for angels.  You will be blessed for your efforts.