For families coping with the unimaginable loss of an infant, special garments known as angel gowns can offer a small bit of comfort in their time of grief. One such gown, made from the dress of a patient’s deceased baby, was recently presented to a family at Akron Children’s. Allison Harris, an audiologist at the hospital, and her mother, Susan Arnold, both donated their dresses to Hillary’s Cherished Gowns, a volunteer organization of seamstresses dedicated to sewing infant bereavement gowns and accessories for Akron area families. “We feel very connected to this project because we lost our daughter, Leah, when she was 9 months old,” said Susan. “So, we were already familiar with the need for these gowns.”
Across the country, volunteers like Judi Bauer have been able to sew and deliver more than 200 angel gowns for infants who died before, during or shortly after birth. Bauer, who is a full-time health care employee, has been sewing since 2016 after losing her own son Ambrose at 3 weeks of gestation. She said she was inspired to create her own initiative after hearing about a similar effort in Maine.
She has been able to make and deliver the dresses to four different organizations, including Riley’s Little Angels in Columbus, Touching Little Lives in Groveport, NICU Helping Hands in Fort Worth and Rest in His Arms in Chicago. Each of the groups has its own nuances and guidelines, but they all serve the same purpose: to give parents one less thing to worry about when they are forced to say goodbye to their child.
Each of the gowns is unique and can be worn as a memorial or by a nurse as a sign of respect. They can also be used to create a heartfelt newborn photo shoot. These photos will become a permanent part of the memory of the little one who will never be forgotten.
The NICU at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) extends its heartfelt gratitude to this group of seamstresses for their invaluable contribution of custom-made gowns to our tiniest patients and their families. They provide these precious garments to a wide range of families from the communities served by PVHMC, which includes Pomona, Chino Hills, Corona, Eastvale, and Diamond Bar.
To learn more about this nonprofit, you can visit their Facebook page or website. If you or a loved one is in need of an angel gown, you can contact PVHMC’s labor and delivery nurses by calling their triage line at 619-267-5311. To donate a wedding dress, contact Judi Bauer through her Facebook page, Angel Gowns of Central Ohio. A typical dress can produce up to 20 angel gowns. This show stopping JA571 gown is a 3-way jersey satin blended fabric that has plenty of stretch and fully lined. The halter neckline features thick straps that can be styled in various ways for a beautiful look. This is the perfect dress for any occasion.