My sweet TTTS friend Lisa is very involved in her local NICU Family Support program. One of the many ways she shows her love for the NICU families in her community is to donate micropreemie angel clothing and remembrance tokens to those who have lost their valiant battle. This year, she added Teeny Tears diapers to her donation. These clothing items may look big, but they are actually very very tiny -- for angels under two pounds.
All of these items have been donated to Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, Virginia in loving memory of her beloved angel son, Daniel Carl Hutchings.
"Softly the leaves of the memories fall,
Gently I gather and treasure them all.
Unseen, unheard you are always near,
So missed, so loved, and so very dear.
No longer in our lives to share,
But in our hearts you're always there."
~ Author Unknown
Sara from Comforting Hearts will be hosting an event in Idaho Falls on May 5th from 12:30 to 2:30!
They will be making diapers, memory boxes, and miniature stuffed animals for the bereavement needs at Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls. All items will be donated in memory of her angel son, Nicholas.
If you are interested in attending and/or otherwise contributing to this special event, please find more information by clicking here and here.
The volunteer teams for Upon Butterfly Wings and Little Baby and Co have been making nappies for the angel babies in the United Kingdom.
These wonderful women do so much for grieving families across the pond in providing burial clothing, blankets, memory boxes, handcrafted remembrance items, and other expressions of love for angel families.
The wonderful Young Women of the Desert Sage Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent an evening tracing, cutting, and ironing diapers. These lovely young ladies have great compassion for the angel families that receive these little tokens of love; they are always eager to pitch in for diaper service.
I took the diaper pieces home to sew up and they are ready for delivery! These 40 little treasures will be donated to LDS Hospital of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Many of you have read how the Teeny Tears project came to be. My sister Heather sent me a link to a friend's blog with itty bitty diapers for preemie and micropreemie angels that had been created by one very special and inspired angel mama named Arah. One look at those diapers and my whole world changed. I have been very thankful for her love and support of Teeny Tears and our mission to spread her special brand of love across the world. I do believe that Dex, Olivia, and all of the other Teeny Tears angels are watching over us, very amused. ~Megan
Today we are honored to share Arah and Olivia's story:
"In November of 2007, our daughter Olivia was born. Weighing 3lbs. 9oz. and a length of 16 inches, she was tiny for 37 weeks. She had Polycystic Kidney Disease and lived a short 1 hour and 53 minutes, which was more than we could have hoped for when we were told the diagnosis at 19 weeks pregnant.
Throughout my pregnancy, while others would have been buying things for a nursery, we were preparing for her funeral. My dad built her casket and my mom had a burial dress made. I remember the day we picked out her plot at the cemetery while she kicked around inside me, it broke my heart.
My doctor had referred me to a program at the hospital called Forget Me Not, which gives supportive care for families with unborn infants diagnosed with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. We were able to plan our birth and ask questions and just felt like we weren’t going to be abandoned.
During our time in the hospital, we were able to bathe, dress and photograph her. Her big sister, Brinley, was able to meet her as well as many friends and family. We had molds of her hands, feet and face made (some of my most favorite possessions). The hardest thing was handing our sweet baby girl over to the chaplain before we left the hospital, empty handed.
Three months after Olivia’s death, I was asked to consider doing photography for the same program that I had just gone through. I had wanted to give back to the program and this was perfect for me. I said yes. Four+ years and well over 100 babies photographed later, I am now on the Forget Me Not board and am the photography coordinator.
After a particular session, a mom, who had known her daughter would not live, had made her a small diaper, knowing that she wouldn’t be big enough to wear the preemie diaper the hospital would provide. The idea came to me, "Make tiny diapers." My first set of diapers were donated in honor of my daughter, Olivia. I had so many nurses and others asking about a pattern, that I posted it on my blog. My goal was to give families one more thing that they could take home. I had no idea how big a reaction my little diaper patterns would make.
Megan has kindly kept me informed of all the places the diapers are being sent. I get super emotional every time I get a new email telling me that more families are able to cover their little baby’s bum. I am so very happy that so many people see the need for them and it seems they are spreading like wildfire!
Megan is just amazing. She has done so much to help families through Teeny Tears. We have never
met in person, but I do know her sister.
I would also like to personally thank all of you who have helped make diapers. It may have made the loss just a little more bearable by knowing that their tiny baby meant something to someone else too.
And to leave you on a happier note, just three days before Olivia’s 1st birthday, we welcomed her little sister, Sarah, into our family."
As a passionate diaper activist in her own right, Vanessa has officially joined the Teeny Tears team as my partner in crime behind the scenes. We are on an ambitious quest to Diaper the World.
Vanessa is an amazing mom to three special little angels: Adam, Cayla, and Marley. She had been looking for an economical and unique project to do in honor of her babies when she stumbled across our project through Utah Share and loved it. She immediately organized a sewing event and posted it on FB, inviting friends, family, and fellow angel mamas. They answered the call, packing along sewing machines, scissors, safety pins, and all the flannel they could carry!
These super sewers labored to create 412 diapers. 160 have been donated to photographers of NILMDTS of SLC and are not pictured. These diapers below (all 252 of them) have been donated to Jordan Valley Hospital, Pioneer Valley Hospital, Tooele Hospital, and the University of Utah Hospital. Some have been donated in memory of Adam, Cayla, and Marley Pollard. Some have been donated in memory of Evan and Isaac Marsh. Some have been donated in memory of MaRee Cowart. All beloved angels, gone too soon.
The 412 count does NOT include this exciting stack of leftover unsewn pieces!
Vanessa invited me via email to attend her grand sewing event and I was thrilled to go. It was a fantastic experience. (Some of the following photos were taken by me; the better ones were taken by Vanessa's talented photographer friend, Lara.)
Vanessa posted many wonderful things on the wall, including WHY she was doing the project (click to enlarge and read their beautiful story). Elsewhere she posted full sewing instructions for the crafting teams.
Great event, great people, great food, great feeling.
For the generous group of families that contributed in so many ways to the creation of these diapers, I post a thank you message from the bereavement coordinator for three of the hospitals that received these diapers:
"I am in receipt of the beautiful hand made colorful cloth diapers that were so lovingly made for our tiny patients.
I first want to express the gratitude of our families at receiving such a lovely handcrafted item. Please understand that they want to keep everything that their baby has worn, including the diaper. Suffering heartbreak and loss of such a tiny innocent baby is tragic but thoughtful little items like these help them understand that people care about them, their baby and what they are going through.
All of the items have been appreciated and I am overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of this gift. Each and every diaper will be lovingly given to and used on an angel baby.
Giving to others is tremendously healing and brings a sense of comfort in knowing that we are serving humanity. As the chaplain at our facilities, I send thank-you’s from everyone as they marvel at the beautiful work. Again, thank you from the families who so appreciate what you are doing."
On Halloween night in 2003, I dashed to my front door with a candy-filled mixing bowl, ready to greet my first trick or treaters! I met instead my lovely new neighbor, Shannan, who had just moved in across the street, but didn't yet have hot water (and needed some). I foisted some candy into her pockets anyway. She was my only trick or treater that year.
In the nine ensuing years, we have each had our share of triumphs and heartbreaks, blessings and challenges. No matter how crazy life gets, I know that my tears and laughter are always welcome on her couch. We share a morbid sense of humor and she is my safe, beloved friend.
Shannan fills a unique and important role for Teeny Tears. She has been behind the scenes for months, quietly shipping all of our diapers for us. She suspected the need and generously offered her resources to The Cause. It has really allowed our project to expand to help many more families. I quite truly could not do this without her and am extremely grateful for her sacrifice.
Shannan is passion, grace, strength, determination, and dignity. For so many reasons, she is my unsung hero.
"Originally developed as a natural way to clean yoga mats, Jo-Sha Wipes have gained popularity in hotels, spas, and with anyone looking for a quick and soothing way to freshen up. From cleaning hands and feet to fitness equipment, they cleanse and naturally disinfect while the subtle aromatherapy soothes the senses."
They. are. awesome. You should get some. For real.
So, I guess you could say that not only are these wipes deliciously, naturally, soothingly cleansing, but they are also proud sponsors of the cutest little bereavement diapers you ever did see.
When my friend Jana emailed me for the first time about making diapers, I learned that she was raising a TTTS single surviving former micropreemie. Naturally, I assumed that she had crossed paths with me in the TTTS Facebook groups. Not so! She found me on Pinterest and the rest of our commonalities are mere "happenstance". If I believed in "happenstance". And I don't really.
Last Christmas Jana donated stockings and gift bags to her local NICU. Teeny little diapers were right up her alley. Jana is actually combining two of her projects into one at the moment (and writes about it in a way that cracks me up). Check it out!
Jana and I have spent many (many) wee hours of the night online together brainstorming, obsessing over our mutual "flannel habit", and having grand diapering fantasies. She has great visions for Washington! (Consider this a shameless call for volunteers and donors in the Great Northwest. She can use any and all donated flannel, tracing, cutting, or sewing assistance that she can get to take Washington by storm! For real!)
Jana is donating her very first set of 60 diapers to the angels born at St. Joseph's of Bellingham, Washington. They have been created in memory of Jana's son, Carter Garen Kimmel.
This is Carter's twin brother, Cohen. He and Carter would have fit in that teeny little diaper when they were born. He's Jana's right-hand baby in the project (as you can read on their blog).
I received an unexpected package of beautiful diapers in the mail last week from a group of 8-11 year old Activity Days Girls from the LDS Church in West Jordan, Utah. I was very touched. This is the letter that came with the diapers; it speaks for itself:
My dear young friends, let me assure you that your diapers are absolutely perfect and they they will be a blessing and a tender mercy to the families who receive them. Thank you.
When my friend Melissa J. donated fabric during her visit, one of the pieces was leftover fabric that she had used to make a quilt for Arianna, a friend's beloved daughter who passed away unexpectedly from SIDS several years ago.
When I received the diapers from the Activity Days girls, I immediately thought of Arianna and wanted to donate these 38 diapers to the University of Utah in Arianna's memory. The morning after I received the unexpected package, I emailed Melissa to ask her whether her friend would be ok with a donation in Arianna's name. What I did not know was that the morning I asked happened to be the day of Arianna's 4th angelversary.
I may not have known, but Someone Else always seems to know these things. Sending love to the entire Terhune family during this tender time of year.
Dana and Melissa both lost one of their twins after hard-fought battles in the NICU, losing their fight to complications of TTTS and prematurity. Both of them have courageously sallied forth on their journeys, raising single survivors with Cerebral Palsy. Last December, Dana spent Wyatt's Angel Day tracing and cutting out diapers in his honor. When the surprise package of diaper pieces arrived on my doorstep from Canada, (first I cried. Then) I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them: start a TTTS diaper exchange. I would sew these diapers and donate them to a hospital in memory of another TTTS angel.
The internet makes for a very small world sometimes; as luck would have it, Melissa's boys were actually born just up the road from me before their family moved out of state. When she began making plans to come to town around her sons' birthday, I decided to surprise her when we met in person.
We enjoyed a memorable night that still makes me a little emotional. It was very hard for me to say goodbye. She received spontaneous kisses from Crew. I was able to show her the diapers that Dana and I had made in memory of her little Spencer.
These 68 little diapers will be donated to the families of angels born at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Now, while I was busy preparing for the surprise reveal, Melissa was preparing her own surprise for me. She quietly collected flannel from her friends and neighbors to deliver during her visit. Of course, I cried again. 'Cause all I do is cry about diapers.
I will be using this beautiful material to create diapers for Dana's angel.
My name is Megan and tiny little diapers make my world go 'round.
Teeny Tears is a non-profit organization of volunteers that collaborates together to provide tiny flannel bereavement diapers to hospitals and bereavement support organizations at no charge for families that have suffered the loss of a preemie or micropreemie child through stillbirth or NICU loss. Project launched November 2011 in loving memory of Dex J Bradshaw.
Because "a person's a person, no matter how small." Dr. Seuss