wedding dressWhen you're done with your wedding dress, what do you do with it? Throw an epic trash the dress session? Hang it in a closet somewhere and forget about it? How about cutting it up to make clothes for babies in the NICU who will never make it home from the hospital?

They're called angel gowns, and they're the brainchild of a woman named Lisa Grubbs, wife of a specialist for premature babies. They're also the most heartbreaking and yet sweetest thing I've heard of in a long, long time.

The thing is, no mom expects her baby to be the one who doesn't make it home from the hospital. I once asked a friend who works as a labor and delivery nurse why she chose to work the maternity floor, and her answer came quickly: it's the one place in the hospital where everyone is happy. Bringing a baby into the world is supposed to be happy.

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So when it goes wrong, when a baby doesn't make it, you can imagine a mom and a dad's life is turned upside down. Everything they planned for is undone, and now they have to face what no parent should have to face, have to face myriad details none of us ever think about (and certainly never want to).

That's the beautiful thing about Grubbs' group, NICU Helping Hands. They take care of one of the biggest details so the parents can focus on others. It's one big thing off their plates.

One of Grubbs' volunteers, a NICU nurse, told a Texas news station that before angel gowns, they'd wrap the babies in hospital blankets, washrags, or towels. They didn't have much else.

Now Grubbs says the re-purposed wedding dresses give that baby something special. As she told WFAA:

This child who is so loved by its parents, being wrapped in love by a bride.

Let's face it ... there is NEVER a time for too much love, but if there is ever a time for extra, it's when parents are going through something like this.

I love what Grubbs is doing -- she herself is like an angel of the NICU -- but even more, I love that this is something she is open to seeing spread across America, to hospitals with NICUs around the country. The group accepts all wedding gowns -- even those with stains (they can work around them) and they also accept seamstresses from around the country. What's more, they will ship the completed angel gowns to any NICU, with the gown wrapped in tissue paper in a special white box.

Did you have a baby in the NICU? What's the sweetest thing anyone did for your family?

 

Image via Jeremy Bronson/Flickr