Angel Gowns For Losed Babies

A retired labor and delivery nurse has turned her first floor of her home into a workshop to make tiny angel gowns for babies who were lost before, during or after birth. Each of the garments is made with so much love to honor the lives of those children taken far too soon.

A Camden mother, Haley Clark, was one of the many grieving families to receive an Angel Gown from Michelle this year. The gown was for her son Emerson Sloane who was born at 39 weeks and passed away shortly after. She says the gown brought her a lot of comfort during his short life.

Colleen Angel, also known as Grandma Angel, started the group to repurpose wedding dresses into angel gowns after her cousin lost their baby boy. The gowns are designed to be worn for final pictures or during a funeral service.

Each dress is lovingly crafted by seamstresses around the country who have had their own heartbreak and want to give back. She says the work is very rewarding, and she enjoys being able to help give families a moment of peace and beauty.

Angel Gowns are distributed through local groups such as ND Angel Gowns and CHI St. Alexius Health and through hospitals like UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. The gowns are often a source of hope for the tiniest of patients and their families. They also serve to remind nurses of the compassion they have received throughout their career.

Those that receive the dresses say they are very special. For Joshlyn and Jeff Bjornstad from Langdon, the gown was a reminder of their daughter Emerson Sloane who was born at 36 weeks due to prematurity. The gown was a symbol of her love and life that they will forever cherish.

Mayo nurse Lynn Gaber has a similar experience. She has worked in the cardiovascular surgery ICU for over 20 years and was familiar with the need for the gowns. She said she was happy to be able to help with the project and make a difference for families that are going through what she calls an unimaginable tragedy.

The gowns are sewn by a team of volunteer seamstresses from all over the country and the world. They use a variety of fabric from scraps to make the dresses, and many of them have a story behind why they started sewing.

Edith Goncalves is 66 and has been sewing since she was 10. She heard about the angel gowns in an article in the newspaper and knew she could help. She volunteered to turn her bedroom into the seamstresses’ workspace, and she’s filled it with hundreds of dresses.

She’s even added gold and silver bells to some of the gowns to match the outfits from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life when Jimmy Stewart’s character gave Clarence his wings. She’s also embroidered phrases such as “heaven’s angel” on her creations.