This post mentions preterm and premature babies born too early to stay with us. Please consider skipping this one if you feel it might be too close to home.
I have been thinking for days about how I might write this post. It is such a solemn subject, and the last thing I want to do is write something which might upset others. I thought about not writing about it at all, but I believe in talking about things openly (and gently) – and I think this is a cause which could do with a little more visibility. Conflicted. I am writing about my sewing for Angel Baby Nappies.
Angel Baby Nappies was started by a mother, Tania, whose daughter was born too early, at 22 weeks. Unfortunately, the hospital had no appropriate clothes for Hallie, and Tania was given a chux wipe to wrap her in. Can you imagine?
The group sews and distributes non-functional nappies for preterm stillborn and premature babies who pass away in the NICU. The nappies are gifted in pairs – one for the baby and one for the parents to take home.
It breaks my heart that some parents have babies they don’t get to take home. I can’t imagine how hard that must be, and the way the loss must live on in those parents’ hearts. I saw a reference to Angel Baby Nappies in an online group I belong to and thought it might be a very, very small way I could help.
This set of nappies are the smallest size – you can see how very tiny they are. They are lined with soft flannelette and finished with eyelets and ribbon to make them as adjustable as possible. I’m making nappies in batches, so I’ve a pile of blue ones yet to be top stitched. They still need their ribbons sewn on (the one in the photo was approx 10″ long but I think I really should make them longer so will from hereon in).
I’ve been following the Angel Baby Nappies tutorial, and giving my new snap press with its eyelet die set a good run.
I’ve been marking the eyelet holes with an air erasable marker, just in case I put my dot in the wrong place.
I’ll be sending these ones off with a request they be gifted to our local hospital, if possible.
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, I encourage you to take some time out and find a service sewing opportunity. Angel Baby Nappies have a facebook page, and an article about their work can be found here.
And to leave you on a lighter note – the penny should have dropped and alarm bells sounded when I wasn’t being bothered during my eyelet punching. Fear the silent toddler.
You’re an angel Ruth. When I get the time it’s something I will try to do. My family and I owe the universe a lot at the moment and are out to support people who find themselves in similar situations but not emerging with the luck that we have been blessed with.
Not an angel, Bron, just wishing I could do more to help. We should leave the big kids behind one day and get together for a sewing day – I bet we could get heaps done if we banded together for a few hours!
That’s wonderful of you to do! i’ve been thinking of more ways i can try to use my sewing to help others. i had thought of sewing small baby dresses with all of my leftover fabric scraps and seeing if there was a local hospital that could use them.
It’s funny you mention baby gowns – I have a post coming up about them! I have been sewing them too. I don’t know where you are, but http://www.miraclebabies.org.au has a great pattern for NICU gowns.
This topic is quite close to my heart since having 2 friends that have both delivered stillborn babies. Between the two of them a total of 4 babies born a bit to early to stay with us. =(
Thank you for having such a kind heart. Truly!
PS: the silent toddler strikes here too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked in my wallet only to have a minor heart attack when I can’t find my debit card!
My heart goes out to your friends. :,(
Well done, very sensitively written! I was lucky enough to bring my pre-term baby home (eventually) 25 years ago. There was less awareness then and with nothing to fit him my Mum quickly knit him some clothes using 10″ dolls patterns and adapting them so they were easy to get on and off. It makes such a difference to give your baby the dignity of something nice to wear so I know your efforts will be appreciated. x
I’m so glad you got a happy ending!
How truly tiny they – and beautiful like everything you make xoxoxo
I am a mummy of angel twins, born at 22 weeks. Our hospital was given donations of beautiful little dresses made by caring women like you. At 22 weeks I was not expecting to be delivering my daughters when I went to hospital for a special surgery consultation. I didn’t have a baby bag packed and even if I did, nothing we owned would have been small enough to fit. After our girls were born I was rushed away for surgery but my mum was taken to a special room with my midwife where she bathed my girls, chose them outfits from what she describes as perfect little princess doll dresses and dressed them for me. She was also asked to chose them a blanket each to keep them warm which were also handmade with love and compassion.
In a time when all your dreams are broken and you are totally heartbroken, something as simple as providing your child with the dignity of proper clothing and spending that special time bonding is something you cannot explain in words. It’s nice to know someone cares enough to think about you and your baby. I will always remember my babies dressed in their gowns, one in bright colours, the other in pastels, both pink with flowers. This image fills my heart and is in all my dreams. Please know, from someone who has been there, that you make a difference. You provide dignity. You are a guardian angel. Thank you.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your twins. I’m glad some volunteers had donated some clothes for you. I suspect many people find themselves in a similar situation with equally as little warning. I hope the work of groups such as Angel Baby Nappies continues and helps ease a tiny bit of stress at such a hard time.
My little son Theodore wears one of these nappies. He was born on the 30 of August this year, just before reaching 24 weeks, but he was the size of a 21 week old baby. It was the only thing that fit him. My sister in law quickly knitted him a tiny doll-size vest (a milo vest) and a little beanie. I have been in contact with Tania, talking with her and sharing how much it meant. I, my sister in law, and other friends plan on making some tiny clothes to donate. It blessed me so much and I want to pass some of that blessing on to others who also find themselves in this very difficult situation.
I’m so sorry that you lost Theodore. He has a beautiful name. If you find good patterns for some tiny clothes would you mind sharing them? I wish you all the best with your plan x
This is a wonderful thing that you are doing and I have just contacted the Facebook page about donating too. Can you please share where you purchased your eyelet die set as I have the machine for snaps but love the idea of the eyelets, thanks in advance.
I have a snap press which I purchased from Greenbeans here in Australia: http://www.gbau.com.au/ They have the die sets too 🙂 It’s lovely that you’re thinking about donating. Thanks for stopping by!