A Valley mother who gave birth to two and lost her twins in the same day, turns her tragedy around helping other mothers begin the grieving process in the hospital.
October is Infant Awareness Month. And while it's a topic that makes people uncomfortable, sad or afraid, those who have lost their babies realize the importance of keeping the conversation going about it.
Social awareness leads to a better understanding and that's why the organization Owl Love You Forever was founded in April 2011, by Arie and Shayla Van Hofwegen, who lost their twins.
On what would have been the one-year birthday of their twins, the couple delivered a box with two blanket, baby basics like shampoo, lotion, washcloths and a camera to a local hospital.
Now, a year and a half later, more than 800 boxes have been delivered to hospitals in the Valley and Tucson.
Volunteers are vital to keeping their mission and memory of their twins alive. You can help stuff boxes, make a donation, or sew blankets from home.
Here are Shayla's instruction for how to volunteer your time making blankets:
There will two blankets in a set. One is small for preemies and one is a full size receiving blanket for the moms that make it full term.
The most important things are:
The two blankets must match identically
There must be a regular size receiving blanket, and a small one
The fabric must be flannel (preemie skin is so thin it can rip, and flannel is soft)
Don't need to be backed, just one layer of flannel. Backing adds too much bulk.
The binding can be done however (even a rolled hem, or surged edge is fine)
When she's going to make a set, she buys 3 yards of flannel. This 3 yards will actually make 2 complete sets. (4 blankets = 2 small & 2 big)
Whatever the width of the fabric is that you buy, say it's 42", the full size receiving blankets will be 42" squares (or close to it depending on how much salvage edge you cut off).
She cuts out those two big squares first.
Then you will have enough fabric left to cut in half to make two small blankets.
These will end up being about 21" squares if the fabric is 42" wide to begin with.
If the fabric you buy is 44" wide, then your big squares will be 44" squares and your small blankets will be 22" squares.
You don't have to buy fabric in 3 yard cuts, but she has found this is the best way not to end up with excess fabric.
You can email Shayla to coordinate picking them up, or if you have any questions, at shayla@owlloveyouforever .
Additionally, there are support groups created by women who have also lost infants.
Mission 68 Child Grieving Support Group
Contact Kim Slaughter at: mailto: KimS@Mission68.org