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October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day to remember the babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and neo-natal death. Please join us in lighting a candle at 7pm (in your time zone) to honor the memories of babies lost too soon. The idea is to create a wave of light to remember these lost children and provide support for those families who have suffered such losses. Tonight, we will be lighting a candle for our Lauren Joy, born still at 38 weeks, and for all the children lost and loved around the world.

Our second day in the hospital, when my body was being induced into labor, Geordie and I discussed what we should do with Lauren’s things. We didn’t want to hold onto them for a second child: it didn’t seem fair to give Lauren’s things to another child, who deserved to have his own things. Nor could we just throw them away, which would feel too much like throwing away Lauren too. These things were hers, they had belonged to her, were intended only for her. We wanted to do something with them that both respected and memorialized our lost daughter.

During the day, I labored. At night, I turned to the internet, seeking some sort of understanding of my situation. I was shocked at what I found. I had never heard of anyone having a stillbirth, but there, hidden in dark recesses, were hundreds of people who had suffered as I was suffering. And if these were the only visible ones, how many more hidden? I wondered at how large this community could be, this secret society of the babylost.

On one site (which I have subsequently lost the link to), I found a list of suggestions for how to memorialize a child who has been lost. One was “create a memory quilt.” I immediately thought, I can do that. This was followed quickly by, I WANT to do that. I discussed it with Geordie, and he agreed with me. It was definitely something we would look into doing once we got back to the States.

A bit of background: I have made exactly one quilt. And I didn’t do it alone. I made it under the supervision and with the helpful guidance of my best friend and her mother (who is a fantastic quilter).  I made this quilt as a Christmas present for Someone Who Shall Go Unnamed (because Geordie will get jealous). It was a great quilt, and I had a lot of fun doing it. The next year, I had wanted to make one for my brother, but I ended up moving to Japan instead.

Because of my limited experience with quilting, I wanted to consult with Heather’s mother again and see what she thought would the best way to go about it. Finally, after all the busy holiday stuff, I got a chance to meet with her last weekend and get her suggestions on what to do with the quilt and all.

Instead of one quilt, there will be two quilts. I have a lot of clothes for Lauren that have largish patches on them. Like this:

Geordie's pick. I can't stay I tried to deter him.

So, these pieces are going to be combined into one quilt, just a block patchwork. The backing for it will be a group of receiving blankets Mom gave me.

The second quilt is a bit more involved. The clothes with smaller patches or all-over patterns are going to be cut into various sizes of hearts.

Lots more where these came from!

I've got about five more of these little patches too.

I’ll attach them to the group of colorful receiving blankets Geordie’s mom gave us. The backing will be the set of adorable receiving blankets I got from my cousin and his wife.

I’m currently in the first phase, which is just washing and cutting. Heather helped me get things started, and we got maybe a third of the way through. So, there’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m up for it. This is something I’ve been wanting to get started on for a while, something that will keep me busy but will also keep me connected to Lauren.

I can’t really describe how it felt to lay all of Lauren’s things out on Heather’s dining room table. Nobody outside of the family had seen Lauren’s things (seeing as how Heather is as close as a sister to me, maybe that is still the case), and it’s been a couple months since Mom packed everything away for us. Seeing everything now, four months after Lauren passed, was an odd experience. It’s hard enough to handle what Geordie and I picked out for her (it was so fun to shop for her, even if we were a little picky about what we bought!), but all the things our families gave us for her spread out around me. It reminds me again that we weren’t the only ones anxious to have her here with us, who were hopeful about her life and her place in ours.

I hope to have both quilts ready by September, in time for her birthday. It took me about five months to make one quilt, so I’m feeling good about this goal. If I don’t get both of them done, I’d at least like to have one finished and the other ready by Christmas. These are my gifts to Lauren, a physical manifestation of my love and longing for her. With these quilts, she will always be here with me, never forgotten. Always loved.

Sara

I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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