Friday, January 12, 2007

Beautiful

I’ve gotten hooked lately on Neonatal Doc’s blog. His stories – some hopeful, some harrowing – are fueling my recent energy toward projects for NICU babies.

It had been awhile (since July, I guess) that I had completed any bereavement items for the families of babies who have lost their NICU struggle. I was reminded of the need for these items both through Neonatal Doc’s posts, and the blogs of many folks who comment regularly on his missives. Candy, who writes so openly about the loss of her daughter Emma in 2005, has been a great inspiration as well.

Every family’s story is different, but the one consistent theme I’ve noticed – both from health care providers and the parents themselves – is that if a heartbroken family must say goodbye to their baby, they want to know that their little one is beautiful. This may truly be the only thing they will ever really know about this child. Or if they have spent weeks or months dealing with the ventilators, tubes and tests of the NICU, they want to focus on the beauty of their baby away from all those un-beautiful things.

So the little blankets and outfits they use for that last goodbye or memorial service need to be absolutely beautiful as well. No shoddy work, no scratchy fabric, no dropped stitches. Nothing to detract from the beauty of this lovely, innocent child at peace.

With that in mind, I’m choosing soft, clear colors and purest whites for my latest batch of bereavement quilts and blankets. A little embroidery around the edges. Yarn with a bit of sheen. Satiny ribbon to hold the precious bundle. Nothing to call attention to itself…just something simple and lovely that, as the parents' last keepsake, will echo the pure beauty of their child.

I'm really moved by the stories I read in other blogs about parents' experiences, and I thank each one of them for the inspiration for this special service work.

6 comments:

Ann said...

What a great post. I admire your dedication..and appreciate your need to do your best work for these projects.

Good for you! Good for those who receive your projects made with much care and love.

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. You are doing such a helpful and wonderful thing. When we get to the place where we don't need quilts for soldiers any longer, I'll go back to the little ones.

Joe said...

Anne, you have done some great digging and connecting here. Your insight is wonderful (like I'm surprised :-) ) Thanks for your passion and compassion.

Candy said...

Once again, Anne, thank you for raising awareness and not shying away from making bereavement items. Also, I started reading the Neonatal Doc's blog and am enjoying. Thanks for introducing me!

Ruth said...

Thanks for pointing me to a new blog. I really enjoyed this post, as far as I know my local hospital(s) have no program such as the one you create for, I can see how it would be such a benefit to the families.

STOLEN ANGELS BLOG ~ said...

Hi Anne ~

You posted a comment on my blog requesting a bit of feedback about items most comforting to bereaved parents. I admire your desire to make a difference in hurting parents' lives ... I share your passion. I had two NICU babies and one still born daughter ...we have no living children.

As an author, bereavement counselor and bereaved parent I'd like to share a few tips I picked up along the way:

1. Fit and quality of fabric/design may not matter right after a loss, but later it makes a huge difference. Pictures are all most parents have of their little ones. And it is a source of pride to show off a beautifully handcrafted item belonging to baby with family and friends.

2. With pictures in mind, choose colors that won't wash out the baby's skin tone. After a baby has died their color becomes red, yellow, grayish or bluish.

3. It is wonderful to provide a plush bear or angel the parent can transfer their baby's clothing to after they've said their final farewell.

4. Provide quilt squares or plush bears to parents who suffered a miscarriage ... this is crucial because usually there is no physical reminder of the baby who died. (try offering your services to emergency rooms which is where most miscarriages occur ... it is also a place where a bereaved parent receives the least support).

5. For parents of the tiniest babies, especially for those born still, don't use white fabric. Baby's skin is extremely fragile and prone to leakage ... white fabric isn't forgiving of those types of stains.

Hope these tips are of some use to you ... if I can be of further assistance, please contact me via my blog or at www.stolenangels.com.

Hugs,
Sharee Moore