The Hospital Experience

No words will ever be able to prepare you for the delivery of your stillborn child.  Delivery is the part that most expecting mothers dread but can endure with courage because of the precious life that follows.  The desire in the suggestions that follow is to help make the brief time that you have with your baby as memorable as possible.  You may be thinking that you just want to go to sleep and never remember that this day and the delivery day ever existed, but I can tell you with firm assurance from my own journey that this will be a day that you will want to remember and treasure.  This is your only day!  Experience it to the fullest extent you are physically able.  So, to that end, we are seeking to give you some ideas for your time with your baby.  These are only ideas, not a list to make you feel more guilt.  You may think of some more.  You may not be able emotionally or physically to do some or any of these things.  Do whatever you as parents of this child feel you can do.  These are only suggestions.  This is your experience.

Pictures, pictures, pictures!

If a family member is emotionally unable to take photos, have a close friend take plenty: with a hat, without a hat, change outfits, with a blanket, without a blanket, a picture of just the baby’s feet, just the baby’s hands, etc.,.  Words cannot express how important pictures will be.  Do not be deterred if your child is showing physical marks of death that you do not think you want to remember.  The technology is available to have the pictures touched up so that you can remember your child as perfect and whole.  There is a company on the web, Baby Angel Pictures, that gives a list of local photo developers that will retouch one photo for free to parents of stillborn babies.  Even if you do not feel like you ever want to see the pictures, have someone else develop them and keep them for you in a private place.

Professional pictures

There are local professional photographers all over the nation that will come to the hospital and take professional photographs.  The web site to find one of these participating photographers in your area is Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Feet and Hand prints, the ink kind

Most hospitals do the ink kind of prints on the “certificate” that they provide but desire to accommodate you anyway possible.  Providing the nurses with some nice card stock paper for additional feet and hand prints for other tasteful art expressions of your baby in the future would in no way be a bother to them.  Have someone desiring to do something for you to go and pick up some card stock, color of your choosing.  

Feet and Hand prints, clay casting impression kind

Some hospitals already have the casting kits for such a time as this.  Others do not and this will take some added leg work for someone.  Everyone in your world right now wants to do something to help you.  Have someone eager to help go to your local craft store and pick up one of these kits.

Take a walk down the hall

This will be the only time here on this earth that you will have this opportunity.  Oh, how we take the little things in life for granted!

Give your child a bath

This will be your only chance to bath your child here on this earth.  During the bath, your baby’s skin will begin breaking down if it had not already.

Rub baby lotion over his/her bathed body

This is just another way to use your senses to help you make a lasting memory.

Allow others to hold and embrace your baby

 This is a sacred time for others as well not just you.  This will be their only time to hold their loved one this side of Heaven too.  This is your experience, but if at all possible, let those people dear to you live the experience with you.  This is not a time for you to feel stress or pressure because of strained relationships with family.  It will be a treasure to you to be able to talk with others that got to hold your baby and allow them to reflect on their time holding your “visitor from Heaven”.  If you have to have a c-section, wait until you get out of recovery and on the post-partum floor.  This will be a more relaxed environment for all involved.

Sing “Happy Birthday”

 This seems crazy but this will be it.  While all whom get the privilege to hold and behold your baby are gathered in your room, hold and sing “Happy Birthday” one time. 

Take your time!

There is no rush for any reason.  You can keep your baby in your room as long as you want.  This is it.  Make the most of the time you have.