The Sum is Greater than its Parts

February 20, 2015
I have a dear friend who is expecting a little girl named Sadie. Now you might think that this is not a unique story but before you scroll down to look at the pictures of the quilt let me tell you……this is quite the story.
the sum of all parts
I met Michela and Joe a few years ago and absolutely fell in love with them. They are one of the sweetest and loving couples we’ve ever met. I had no idea that they were struggling with getting pregnant and I certainly had no idea that her life hung in the balance through this journey to start a family. I’ll let Michela tell you more….
Many of us have spent the majority of our young adulthood trying to avoid starting a family before we are ready, and we often assume that when we are ready, our responsibility will be rewarded –
 
POOF! A baby!
 
 
This is not the case for many struggling with infertility issues, and the bumps just keep on coming, just not the “bump” we are waiting for.
 
In November of 2013 my husband and I saw those two beautiful pink lines you always dream of and began planning our life with a child on the way.  Shortly after, we knew something was wrong. Upon getting an ultrasound, the doctors could not “find” the pregnancy.  Hearing a doctor refer to your precious child as a pregnancy that could not be located is Earth shattering. After weeks, the doctor tried again unsuccessfully to “locate” the baby and diagnosed us as having an ectopic pregnancy and could not be kept. Later, I had excruciating pain in my abdomen and we went to the hospital to find out I  had severe internal bleeding and was quickly rushed to emergency surgery for a ruptured fallopian tube.  Within hours, I would die if it was not fixed because of the severity of the bleeding. They had to completely remove my right fallopian tube and I was left at home in bed to heal and process what happened, or try to. 
 
We were told in 3 months we could try again with my one remaining tube and although our chances of pregnancy were reduced by 50%, there was a good chance every other month.  Three months later we picked ourselves up to try again and sure enough, there they were, those beautiful pink lines again.  The day following the test, I felt those familiar pains that could only be recognizable by the severity of what I had experienced before and less than 24 hours after finding out we were pregnant again, I was taken to a second emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic on my other side. They had to remove my left fallopian tube in order to save my life.
 
I have asked the question time and time again- why me? Why us? What did I do to deserve this? And I’ve found peace in the fact that sometimes there is no answer, there is just progress and moving forward in life.  
 
At 28 years old I lost my chances of conceiving a healthy child naturally. We turned to thoughts of in vitro fertilization. Luckily the doctor had frozen my eggs, so there was still hope.  Desperate for any relief to my emotional pain and loss, my husband and I agreed we would do whatever it takes to have a family.  We set up a fundraiser page and shared our experience with our friends and family.  We had hidden it from most, I had lied to friends about why I was missing for a while and we tried to smile through it, but the real emotion came for us when we did open our story to our friends and family and trusted them to lift us back up. 
 
By the grace of God, donations began pouring in.  Those who know us know that we do not ask for anything from others and we are private people.  With such an immensely emotional and heartbreaking time,  I do not think I would have survived had we not shared our story.  It allowed us to mourn not only my loss of feeling like a woman and the physical pain I endured, but the emotional loss of two children that were supposed to be our babies.  After a few weeks, the donations continued until we raised enough to pay for the majority of our in vitro process. 
 
When I start to ask why this happened to us, I try and remember what else has happened that I do not question- the fact that I survived both ordeals, the amazing emotional and financial support of family and friends, the fact that I have a wonderful spouse to spend my life with and most of all in this story, the blessing that in vitro was successful and we are expecting our baby girl in April of 2015. 
 
If told before what I would have to endure, I would have said I could not.  If told after the first time that it would happen again, I wouldn’t have believed it.  But sometimes, we have to realize how much stronger we truly are than what our minds limit us to, and know that somewhere, somehow, things will always get better.  
When Michela contacted me asking if I could make her a quilt to commemorate the people who helped make Sadie’s life possible, I was already on my way to the quilt store before I even finished reading the email on my phone.
She wanted it simple……. Very simple. Like an all white quilt with black script quilting kind of simple. Black and white were her colors.
Hmmmm….this was going to be tougher than I thought. Surely a toddler could not be trusted with an all white quilt and knowing me, I was going to have a hard time keeping it so simple.
Then the ideas flowed: plus signs would be cool and have some sentimental value. Oh! and I have some of that Michael Miller Glitz white fabric with gold metallic ombre polka dots. Oh! and I also have some of the cherished Ikea Brittan script numeral fabric for backing. Again, simple but not too simple; and most of all it tells a little about their story and the many people that came together to make a dream come true.
I stitched the name of each friend who donated money to help Michela and Joe pay for the extraordinarily expensive in vitro process.
Each time they look at this quilt, they can remember the beauty of having friends and family who love you enough to sacrifice for you.
And I hope it will help Michela and Joe tell Sadie the story, and show her the power of the collective love that surrounds her.
After all, the sum is always greater than its parts.
 Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday… then on to my shopping and classes at QuiltCon!

Michelle Alderman

About Michelle Alderman

Michelle is a wicked fast sewist and pattern designer (according to her friends). Stephanie is quite sure there is magic involved.

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23 Comments

  • Reply Rachel February 20, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    That’s very kind of you. And I think you managed simple very well! 🙂 Congrats to Michela and Joe on their little one.

  • Reply Terri Ann February 20, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Great now I’m crying at my desk at work. Thanks a lot Michelle! What a super sweet story and the quilt is just wonderful. The combination of the fabrics and the names in the quilting is just perfect. Congrats to the couple and well wishes for a healthy family in the coming months 🙂

  • Reply Jen February 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Aww this is wonderful! All those quilted names make this an extra special quilt! Love.

  • Reply Diana M. February 20, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    What a fantastic story. As a mom who also had an ectopic pregnancy and several miscarriages, I can say that my son, conceived through IVF, is the most amazing thing ever. Congratulations to your friends and what a beautiful quilt you made. Stitching the friends names into it just puts it over the top.

  • Reply Joe Worthington February 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Michelle, I cannot thank you enough for your kind words and for making this quilt possible. I too found myself crying at my desk at work, and once again realized how lucky Michela and I are to have such wonderful family and friends. Thank you again for your kindness.

  • Reply Nancy Dixon February 20, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Michelle, you are surely a big part of Michela, Joe and Sadie’s story. The quilt is absolutely beautiful and so is the lady who so lovingly made it for them. Much love to you! Nancy Dixon… Sadie’s grandma to be. xoxoxo

  • Reply Laura February 20, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Perfect quilt!!!

  • Reply Dona February 20, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Love the story and the quilt. What a treasure.

  • Reply patti thomas February 20, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    As Sadie s soon to be grandma I cannot thank you enough for making this for them … Sadie is truly a miracle from God and will be loved now and her entire life… this brought tears to my eyes as well again thank you for your amazing gift.

  • Reply quiltingjetgirl February 21, 2015 at 7:30 am

    This is so touching and beautifully done. Excellent photos, Kitty. I don’t know about you, but his is why I quilt. The love in this quilt is amazing.

  • Reply rozsamaria February 21, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Beautiful!

  • Reply Melissa Farmer February 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Wonderful story of love and support throughout a very trying ordeal. I think your quilt is absolutely perfect and the names quilted in are absolute genious! Happiness to each of you!

  • Reply My Pieced Life February 21, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Simply beautiful!

  • Reply jess February 21, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    That’s awesome! I had some fertility struggles as well (not nearly as heartbreaking as these however), and helped to deal with some of them through quilting. It will be awesome for Sadie to know how many people loved her and her parents before she even was. That is an amazing gift you have given her that I’m sure will be cherished! (And congrats to the parents to be on their little one!)

  • Reply jentracy17 February 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Such a beautiful story, and a gorgeous quilt. What a fortunate little family, to have so many loving and generous friends.

  • Reply Mark Dixon February 22, 2015 at 1:21 am

    I am Michela’s Dad and can not thank you enough for your beautiful work. Truly a piece of art and even more a bigger piece of heart. God bless you, Michela, Joe and most of all Sadie.

  • Reply sfredett February 22, 2015 at 7:49 am

    What an amazing story. And the quilt is the perfect thing to honor the struggle, but rejoice in the joy. 😀 Really lovely job Michelle.

  • Reply Audrey Schaefer February 23, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Absolutely stunning!!!!

  • Reply Serena @ Sewgiving February 24, 2015 at 3:52 am

    I have no words for how wonderful this quilt is … genius idea to quilt the names in … what a treasure 🙂

  • Reply Jenny Benton February 24, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    What a sad story – until the end. Such a lot of pain for the young couple to go through. But with the help of family and friends, their dream was finally realized. And your quilt is truly made from the heart – as all good quilts are.

    Jenny from New Zealand

  • Reply Nurdan March 1, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    What a sad but happy story! Loved loved your quilt. You have done a great job…

  • Reply Diana @ Red Delicious Life March 2, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Such an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply barbarakonkle March 2, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Beautiful quilt for a beautiful family! What a wonderful way to remember the love and support of all those who supported them through this process!

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