Healing hearts one stitch at a time
My name is Cathy Diehl. I am a mother and a veteran of the United States Air Force. I am also a registered nurse with most of my experience in healthcare being in the areas of maternity and neonatal. I have had so much support and encouragement from my husband Kyle, our family, and friends in helping the idea of Sewing Hearts become a reality. Sewing Hearts was founded in honor of our two beautiful girls. Aubrey, who was a term delivery in November 2010 and Ava, who was stillborn at 22 1/2 weeks in February 2014. Aubrey was born with a blood clot in her right leg and earned herself a ticket straight to the NICU. She was there only a few days and was discharged home on anticoagulant shots to be given twice a day
for 4 1/2 months. We are blessed that Aubrey
recovered fully once the blood clot dissolved and
is a healthy five year old.
Ava passed in utero due to abnormalities of the
placenta which caused her to become anemic.
It was so unexpected and we never thought that on
Valentine's day of 2014 we would be told there
was no heartbeat. We went home to get Aubrey
settled and pack our overnight bags. That is when
I went searching for something for Ava to wear.
There was nothing small enough as Ava weighed
1lb and was 10 inches long. All I had to wrap her in
was a piece of fleece baby material I had to cut to
make small enough. It bothered me that I had
nothing to put her in, nothing appropriate for final photos, or burial. A few weeks after we laid our sweet Ava to rest, I learned of clothing called Angel gowns made for tiny babies like Ava who are taken from us too soon. As I kept thinking about how I would have loved to have been offered something like this for Ava, I realized that this was something every parent should be aware of and have access to.
Not a day goes by that I don't ache for my little girl, Ava, and long to hold her in my arms again. I know every other parent and family member that has lost a child feels the same. I realize that an Angel Dress won't erase that, but it may provide some comfort to parents and families knowing that their infants were important enough to have something so beautiful and meaningful to wear.
Sewing Hearts came to life because of our personal loss of our precious Ava. Our story doesn't end with loss, but continues with the birth of our third child, a baby boy named Chase. Chase was born on March 28, 2015 at 37 weeks. He was small, but very healthy to be 3 weeks early. It was a relief to be able to hold him and see for ourselves that he was ok. The pregnancy was long and worrisome with so many tests and appointments to keep a close eye on mom and baby. Chase is here and was well worth the wait.
Our life now...We are blessed to have created three beautiful children Aubrey, Ava, and Chase and very grateful for the time we have had with them. We value each day we get to spend with Aubrey and Chase being able to hold them and kiss them and tell them we love them. On February 15, 2014, we met for the first time and had to say our final goodbye to our sweet baby girl Ava. It was an amazing and emotional experience forever imprinted on our hearts. I can't imagine never having been able to meet and hold Ava. With Chase older we have begun a family tradition, where the four of us go and pick out flowers, balloons, and a stuffed animal for Ava. We take this to the cemetery by Valentine's Day to celebrate our love for Ava on the holiday about love and to celebrate her birth. This year we each picked out a balloon and we set a lavender balloon go headed to Heaven for her.
"Imagine a love so strong it made saying Hello and Goodbye in the
same day worth all the pain..." unknown
We provide small garments made out of donated wedding gowns to parents who have experienced the loss of an infant. These garments, called Angel Dresses, are hand made to fit these tiny babies and are used for final photos and burial.
Ten or more Angel Dresses can be made out of one donated wedding gown. We also will accept some light colored bridesmaid and formal dresses whose fabric can be used to add a bit of color.
We can provide Angel Dresses to hospitals with maternity and/or neonatal units as well so they can provide them directly to parents and families who have experienced this loss.
Angel Dresses are provided free of charge through hand delivery, if local, or by shipping if out of the delivery area.
Each donated wedding gown is inventoried, photographed, and cleaned. If still attached, the crinoline skirting is cutout and the gown is then taken
apart, by cutting all the thread used to sew the different panels and layers of the gown together. Next, all of the parts of the gown that will be used
for Angel Dress are ironed very carefully on low heat to press out any wrinkles.
Now, it is time to lay the Angel Dress patterns on the material and start cutting. To make sure to use as much of the fabric as possible by laying
out patterns over the entire piece and arranging them to get the most cuts. It is easier to get several Angel Dresses cut out and pinned together
before sitting down to sew. The sewing goes a lot quicker than all of the previous steps. Once, all the Angel Dresses that can be made from a
single wedding gown are completed, they are returned to Sewing Hearts. A photo is taken of just a few of the Angel Dresses from the donated
wedding gowns and emailed to any donors who have requested photos. Next, each Angel Dress can be placed in delicate bag and is ready for a
precious baby that had to leave us too soon.
Provide comfort to parents and families by offering beautiful and fitting Angel Dresses for their babies to wear.