Northwest Diaper Dreamers

The Northwestern Diaper Dreamers have been busily sewing diapers for angel babies all over the United States, delivering another 636 diapers.

Angel mama Jana shares her feelings on finding purpose in her grief:

"I have been thinking about this for some time and I've had several other people ask me about it. How do you find purpose in all of this? How do you make something good out of something terrible?

For me, finding something that gives me a purpose and direction has been wonderful. And healing. And wonderfully healing. After Carter died, I felt a little bit like I was lost and wandering. I knew that I wanted to do something positive with everything we had been through, I just didn't know what. The death of a child is completely devastating and I knew that it was something that I could let bring me down (besides the normal grieving, I totally support the grieving process). But I didn't want it to become my life. I needed to make something more out of Carter's life. The time and energy that I never got to put into raising and loving him, I needed to put toward something else, something that mattered to me.

For me, this something to drag me out of the darkness has been diapers. Lots and lots (and lots) of diapers. Teeny Tears has donated over 10,000 diapers, and we have contributed around 1300 of those diapers. Teeny tiny diapers, and little bitty diapers in all kinds of colors and prints. It lets me do something constructive with my time. When I feel like I need some "Carter time" or I'm having a particularly rough day, I make diapers. It gives me the chance to feel what I need to feel while moving forward at the same time. I hate that there is even a need for these diapers, but my prayer for each little one is that it can bring some family somewhere even the tiniest bit of hope. And that it can help them to know that someone out there cares about them and thinks that their baby matters and is just as important as any other baby.

Cohen loves to help pick out the fabric!
The other cool thing that has happened is that as I work on these projects with my family and friends, they become a part of the process. They see the teeny, tiny diapers and realize that there are tiny babies that are deserving of these little diapers. And they see how many diapers we are making and they get a little glimpse of the fact that there are a lot of families that lose babies, it isn't an isolated thing. It makes me feel so loved and supported to know that I have people in my life willing to take on this project and help out. It's hard to to talk about babies dying and it can be uncomfortable. But, I have found that this makes an easy way to share and work on something together without having to just sit and stare at each other. This way, it just feels more natural and if anyone wants to talk about it, we do, if not...we make diapers. And I am so incredibly grateful for my friends who take fabric home and cut out diapers and for the people who drop off flannel donations at our local fabric store and for the store who is willing to collect the donations for us. It really is a wonderful thing.

In the end, I feel like it is me who has gotten the most out of all of this. Through wanting to do something to make sense of our loss and to keep myself busy, I have been given great things. Love and support and new friends. I have been continually amazed at people's generosity and willingness to help. I had no idea that it would be a continual thing or that anyone would want to help out. It has been so healing for me to be able to work on these little diapers and the care packages. It has been a way for me to make sense of things. Not that Carter's death with ever really make sense, but it helps me make sense of the "what now?" part of grieving a child. What am I going to do with my sadness and my grief? For now, and probably for a long time, I will carry on with my little diapers. So here I am, trying to make sense of my life, one tiny diaper at a time."  Jana

Time for a little update on the NWDD diapering adventures.

The NWDD team donated 100 diapers to NILMDTS photographers of Bothell, Washington.  These diapers were donated in memory of Carter, Treyton, Esther, Winter, Gabriel, Elliott, Bloddueth, and Isael. These angel babies are all from Whatcom County.

They sent 100 diapers to Loma Linda, California to be donated to the Loma Linda Children's Hospital in memory of Jayden Charles Smelt.
They then donated 152 diapers to UPMC Magee hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in memory of baby Alyssa Moyta.
Last, but certainly not least, these wonderful volunteers donated 284 diapers to the University of Washington Medical Center.  Some were donated in memory of Cohen's twin brother, Carter.  Some were donated in memory of a new friend; when the NWDD learned that one of our newest volunteers came to us after receiving a diaper set made by their own hands, they donated diapers in memory of her special little angel:  Brady Lee Hoeck.
The Northwestern Diaper Dreamers continue their tireless efforts diaper the earth.  We are ever grateful for the work that they do for angel families everywhere.
(Not) Home For The Holidays
"The other thing we have taken on last Christmas and again this year is taking care packages to our NICU in Seattle. The diapers are for Carter and the care packages are for Cohen. Something for each of my boys. A small way to give back and to tell them that their lives are important. I want them to know that I am so thankful for each and every moment that I have and had with both of them and that we can help other parents and babies too. I remember last year aftert taking on the care packages that I kind of wondered what I had gotten myself into. I had started with the idea of just making a few and taking them to the hospital. Then I got word that we would need to be able to offer a care package to every family currently in the NICU. Makes sense, but where on earth was I going to be able to find enough things for 40 care packages in a few short months!? And then the word got out, and people started helping. And helping and helping and helping. And we ended up meeting and exceeding our goal. And it was awesome. The love and support we felt still warms my heart. People who didn't know us, or hadn't had a preemie, were willing to give of their time and resources to help out."

Cohen spent 4 months fighting his way through the NICU of the University of Washington, so the Kimmels understand the stresses that accompany life as a NICU family .  During the Christmas holiday season, Cohen's family and friends put together special NICU care packages for all of the families at UW spending their holidays alongside isolettes and screeching medical equipment.  Check out last year's packages!  To find out how you can help their 2013 efforts, click here!

To follow the many adventures of Jana and Cohen, follow their blog and don't forget to "like" them on Facebook!