No parent can ever fathom burying a child, let alone an infant. In an effort to provide support to families faced with this unimaginable hardship, a volunteer organization in Rochester, NY, is using donated wedding dresses to create gowns, bonnets, and booties for babies who pass away at a local children's hospital.
"And so to make a beautiful gown for a baby . . . so the parent can hold them that way for the last time — that's their last memory of them — is very special to them," Bernadette Reidy, the coordinator of the volunteer group Caring Hands For Angels, told ABC News.
Tremendous thought and care goes into making the intricate garments, which can be made to accommodate medical needs such as chest tubes. Caring Hands for Angels works with Labor and Delivery, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and the Pediatric Cardiac Care Center at Golisano Children's Hospital to offer compassion to grieving families.
"The vast majority of times . . . when a family comes to deliver a baby, it's one of the most joyous times," Dr. Timothy Stevens, the NICU medical director and chief clinical officer of the hospital, said. "Unfortunately, there are families who experience a loss, and during that grieving process, the group is able to provide a meaningful gift."
Read on for a look at some of the gowns — which are made for premature babies as young as 20 weeks and babies up to 6 months old — that the group has created.