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Laurel mother mends broken heart over lost child by sewing Angel - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Laurel mother mends broken heart over lost child by sewing Angel Dresses

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Mindy Bausch sews a wrap for a stillborn (MTN News) Mindy Bausch sews a wrap for a stillborn (MTN News)
Bausch has made dozens of Angel Dresses and wraps (MTN News) Bausch has made dozens of Angel Dresses and wraps (MTN News)
The Bausch family photo is missing Lila (MTN News) The Bausch family photo is missing Lila (MTN News)
Bausch says she was overwhelmed with grief for three years before the idea came to her (MTN News) Bausch says she was overwhelmed with grief for three years before the idea came to her (MTN News)
LAUREL -

Mindy Bausch, a Laurel woman, comes home from her job at a refinery and spends hours working at her sewing desk.

Until last November, Bausch had hardly threaded a needle, but today, she makes beautifully sewn gowns for babies.

She calls them “Angel Dresses.”

Each one honors her daughter Lila.

"That's something I would've wanted for my daughter to have,” said Bausch. “I would've wanted her to have a beautiful gown. I have even thought about keeping one but it didn't touch her, so it has no - there's no connection to it to me."

A family photograph sitting on the mantel shows Bausch with her husband and four children.

"I'm a mother of five," said Bausch.

Missing from the photo is Lila, 5-year-old Leila's twin sister.

"My water broke early on one of the twins and she died about a week later and that was about half way through the pregnancy,” said Bausch. “And I carried her and her sister to term and delivered both of them."

Bausch never got to see her baby girl.

"I spend a lot of time looking at Lila's twin and wondering would they look alike, would they be doing the same things," said Bausch.

Grief became her.

"I went about three years before I realized I needed something, I wasn't moving through my grief,” said Bausch. “About three years in, I realized something. My family was afraid to mention anything about babies or twins. My family was afraid because just about anything would set me off. And I thought, this isn't right, this isn't normal."

So one night, she sat down at her bargain bin sewing machine and let it all out.

Bausch had no pattern, no skill, no idea what this venture would become.

Night after night, it became the physical reminder of Lila that Bausch had been looking for since she said goodbye.

"This has been kind of an emotional roller coaster just going through with this,” said Bausch. “I feel connected to the dresses, I feel connected to the wraps. I've poured my heart and soul into this."

But now, Bausch is giving the dresses away, at no cost, to other families who are just beginning the journey.

"This is a way to move through my grief and help these families,” said Bausch. “I think ultimately, the big reason I wanted to do it was I wanted my daughter to have it. But mainly I want my daughter's name to carry on. I want people to say her name. Say it to me, say it to other people. I want them to scream her name.”

Lila's name lives on with this gift, an unspoken comfort to heartbroken moms and dads.

And the dresses are a reminder for Bausch that healing comes one stitch at a time.

"I think there's going to be relief when I drop them off because I'm helping people,” said Bausch. “And I'm getting her name out there. Initially it's going to be a sad day taking stuff up, but I think it's going to turn into a huge relief, a huge weight off my shoulders."

Bausch has already delivered dozens of the dresses to the birthing units at St. Vincent Healthcare and Billings Clinic.

She is accepting dress and supplies donations and said she would someday like to have others with sewing skills help her with the project.

You can contact Bausch with questions here.

Bausch said the Rainbow group, for families who have lost a child, has also been therapeutic for her.

Grieving families are encouraged to join or stop by for a meeting.

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