For Love of Natalia

"Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it." ~Wilferd Peterson

In memory of Natalia Tatianna Grace Edna (those were all her names) we just call her Natalia or Nat

"I sew these wee teeny diapers thinking of my 2nd beautiful daughter.

In 1989 the pregnancy was a surprise, which all of my babies were but this one…wow…my 1st daughter Tabitha was all of 9 months old, of course in diapers, with bottle in hand not walking yet and wham the stick turned blue…but…hey, I had one baby how difficult can another be?

Having no medical insurance at the time I went to one prenatal appointment where I was told well, you had one healthy baby, this one should be just fine as well, no need for an ultrasound, just take your vitamins yadda yadda yadda…((sigh))

Almost right on time, perhaps a week early, I went into labor. My first baby was about 3 ½ days worth so I really wasn’t looking too forward to this aspect of the adventure; my labor didn’t progress so I was given pitocin to get the show on the road; no one bothered to tell me this might hurt a bit. Finally the moment came!  After 11 hours of back labor, another sweet baby girl was in the world, but she was purple and had a very quiet breathy cry. To make matters worse I was bleeding quite a bit so was left on the pitocin for another 11 hours. Needlessly to say the breast feeding didn’t happen since I couldn’t sit up for the pain. When I finally held my tiny daughter she was less purple but not by much, we were told she had a heart murmur and a little jaundice and we were sent home. Still without insurance and concerns I had about my baby’s weak cry, not wanting to eat, and not sleeping well was just put to me being an over anxious mommy…

After 28 days of seeing my baby lose weight, and basically being told to calm down and change formulas I brought my baby to the ER, mind you still no insurance, we were left in the waiting room for almost an hour until a man with a huge cut to his hand was called and he told the nurse my baby could take his turn. Natalia was turning blue, the jaundice wore off and my baby was blue. While we sat and waited for the doctor to see her she finally drank a full 4 ounces of formula…I was elated…little did I know…

They did a chest X-ray thinking perhaps my asthma was passed on to Nat, but it wasn’t. My tiny daughter who lived this long had only half of a heart, half of her heart never developed. This deadly defect sounds like a slight murmur looks much worse; Natalia had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. As we live in a farming community with just a regulation hospital at the time, my baby was bundled up and sent to Children’s Hospital & Clinics in Minneapolis where we learned even more devastating news. Her defect was fatal if left untreated and we were actually told we could just let our baby die if we wanted to…um…let that sink in…let my baby die?!? Is that really an option?!? Then we were told had we insurance Natalia could be put on a waiting list for a new heart but since she was so small and had struggled for 28 days out of the womb there was no real hope a heart would arrive in time. Then onto option # 3: surgery with a 30% chance of survival. Well we chose door # 3. After a very long but basically successful surgery we got to see our super tiny baby again. She was no longer blue, in fact she had pink little cheeks, and she was beautiful. Even with the machines, tubes, and the owie running down her chest, she was perfect in my eyes. We were pulled to one side and told they couldn’t stabilize her after the surgery, she had tried to survive untreated too long. After 2 hours of them all trying to stabilize Natalia, she slipped away on her 29th day of life having never opened her eyes again.

We waited patiently in a little room to say good bye to Natalia, so tiny, she finally arrived, no more tubes no screaming machines, just her with her Kewpie doll curl of black hair, her tiny nose, perfect chin, rose bud lips in a massive t-shirt, probably newborn but by now she had shrunk to less than 4 pounds, almost swallowed up in a big warm blanket. It was hard to find her tiny hands and feet so I could count her tiny perfect fingers and toes one last time.

She was quite teeny, thankfully my older daughter had a baby doll almost the same size as Natalia, so I took off the tiny flannel nightgown and sent it to the funeral home with a diaper for her to wear for the viewing. The diaper was massive even being a newborn size, had I thought of it I would have sewn up a tiny diaper, I had all the ingredients but go figure I didn’t think of it till much later.

Now so many years later, I’m a mom to 2 beautiful adult daughters and 2 gorgeous grandchildren. All healthy! I witnessed my grandbabies born, pudgy pink and screaming…such a sound of rejoice! With every new pregnancy I have the same worries about their hearts, thankfully with my youngest daughter I got an ultrasound to look right at her heart so I knew it was all there and in working order. We did the same with the grand kids…better safe than sorry!

I’ve been sewing for a group called God’s Tiny Angels based in West Virginia for oh, 3 years or so now. We sew for at risk preemies and newborns across the country, also making burial outfits and blankets for the teeny babies that don’t survive. I’ve also made Angel Pockets, a tiny square blanket of flannel with a built in pocket to hold tiny stillborns that I send to HCMC here in Minnesota as well as God’s Tiny Angels. I found Teeny Tears almost by accident when I say it noted on a friends blog. All I can say is THANK YOU too all the angel families who make these teeny diapers for all of the teeny and micro teeny babies to wear so their mommies can count those perfect fingers and toes before saying good bye."  ~Elaine, mommy to an angel

Whether making bereavement items for God's Tiny Angels or hospitals on the Teeny Tears waiting list, monkeys for Operation Sock Monkey, or quilts for the local children's heart clinic, Elaine likes to involve her grandchildren in her many charitable projects!  You can follow her crafty adventures on her Wicked Blog-i-ness Blog!

Elaine and her grandson Oliver donated their first batch of diapers for the angel families served at Banner Churchill Hospital in Fallon, Nevada.
These diapers were handcrafted in memory of HLHS Angel, Natalia Tatianna.
Elaine is the seamstress behind Yane'z Wee Lovies, the wee cottage industry of quilts, lovies, burp cloths, machine embroidered bibs, sock monkeys, sock dolls, sock monsters!  Yane'Z Wee Lovies helps fund Elaine's philanthropic adventures!



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