Thursday, January 15, 2009

10 inches, 10 ounces

When Gabriel died, the women I worked with didn't know what to do. They took up a collection of money and gave it to my mother-in-law, who had stopped in to pick up my stuff from work as I would not be returning. The instructions were to buy something for me- flowers, they specified. My MIL, wise woman that she is, did not do that. Well, she did purchase a very small floral arrangement and then gave me the rest of the money to spend as I wanted. And I splurged on an item some people thought was very strange.

I bought a doll.

This has come up in other forums and other places and I know it can be a controversial topic. Some people think it is creepy, morbid or weird. Some people think it is unhealthy. Some people think I was trying to replace my baby.

For ME, it was none of these things. Mostly, it was to remember EXACTLY the size and weight of Gabriel as I had held him. He was 10 ounces, 10 inches. I did not want to forget what that felt like.

It did serve other purposes as well. It allowed me to fill my empty aching arms. It gave me something physical to hold while I remembered my son. And, for a while, it was a good indicator of how my day had been. If my husband came home and saw my doll on the bed he knew to step lightly as it had been a rough day.

One other purpose it served is it gave my other children a way to know and remember their baby brother. I had not taken them to the hospital, and had not told them (then 4 and 5) what was happening until Gabriel had already been born and gone. But as we talked about their baby brother, then could hold this doll. They could talk to it. They could sing to it. And more than once they asked to sleep with it.

Now, I keep Gabriel's doll in the memory box I was given at the hospital, with his gown and his blanket. I rarely take it out, but I am glad I have this memory. I am glad I splurged on this item.

The woman who made my doll no longer makes them- but her same pattern is being made by Wee Bundles and Remember Me Preemie . They are primarily for preemies, but are also for those of us who are missing our children.

It says to contact them for babies less than 20 weeks- I emailed them and had kind emails back from both sites. They DO make tiny dolls- as tiny as 10 weeks- so contact them for prices and info about that.

I hope today is gentle for you.


Ter said...

I have heard of Wee Bundles as it was posted on SHARE at one time. I think they are adorable. I never did buy one.. I thought about it, but I never did. I do have a buildabear which I use to cuddle with when I'm missing my girl, but of course I know it's a bear, not a baby.

I also know that a few moms got a sculpture of their child done via this website:

I have been thinking of getting one of those too, if the woman can work with the very few and bad quality photos that I have of my daughter. I have yet to contact her. I had put it off for a while, but now that I have been thrown back into the pit of grief, I'm considering it again.

E and K Rausch said...

Emily I know what you mean about a doll being the size of your baby. I had a glow worm that was about the same length of Kenner and would go into his room in the very early days of his death and just hold it. Thank you for the web site I am going to check it out. I think something like this would be great!

Kritta22 said...

Oh you are making me cry!!
What a wonderful idea. I don't think it's creepy at all. People sometimes just need to get off their high horses!

Medically speaking, there is a physical need to hold your baby. Just ask women you have given babies up for adoption. It's one of the most uncanny things. The NEED to hold a baby, whether it's real or not. A doll is a great way to do that. Of course, we would all love our babies to hold but for now, here on this earth, a doll will have to do.

Such a wonderful idea. I loved that you got the whole family involved. You are a strong woman.

Anonymous said...

I think this is absolutely beautiful. I think the people who might think it is 'morbid' have never gone through this experience and cannot relate and have no idea.
Oops, just realized I'm posting this under my you know!

Anonymous said...

Ok, now it's me this time.

I can't believe you got an influx of sandwritten requests! Sorry!


Emily said...

YaYa! We want people to request names! Well, we wish we didnt' have to do any names but are very glad to do this for people.

Thanks for your comments, all!