When I was pregnant with Constance, I invited my mother and stepdad to join me at an ultrasound boutique. They provided videos and photos of the fetus in the third trimester. It was my ninth month and I was aching to finally meet her. While there, they offered a service where they recorded Constance’s heartbeat onto a recorder and put it into a little teddy bear.
At that time, I was working for a charity that paid poorly and late. As a result of my budget constraints, I only ordered one of the heartbeat recording bears. I gave it to my mom thinking that I would have the real sound of her heartbeat with me for the rest of my life.
When I told my mom I was going to make myself a teddy bear with some of Constance’s clothes, she reminded me of the bear with the heartbeat recording. She kindly agreed to help me make a teddy bear with the heartbeat in it.
When you die in childhood, you leave behind small clothes. To have enough fabric from them to make something out of them I had to purchase several small patterns and adapt them.
Typically, plush toys have black eyes. Every once in a while, you find one with brown eyes. I specially ordered blue teddy bear eyes to match Constance’s.
Then I ordered the most important thing—the sound recorder. This took multiple attempts but was successfully done.
When I had last sewn some plush toys out of Constance’s clothes, my sewing machine broke. The cost of repairing it surpassed the cost of replacing it so I ordered a new one.
With all the ingredients for the bear, I went to Indiana to start sewing. My mom and I shared stories of Constance while sewing and crying. Like a fragile piece of porcelain, one wrong move and I’ll shatter into a million pieces.
We put the original heartbeat recording up to the new recorder to make a copy. My stomach cramped with the fear it might not work. I contemplated the devastation of never hearing her heartbeat again. The old bear hadn’t been touched since Constance passed for fear of draining the battery before it could be copied. I worried that the cheap recorder inside the bear would have technical failure.
I bit my cheek and pushed it. I was able to hear Constance’s heart go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom just like it used to.