More than likely, if you are reading this page, you have suffered the loss a child or you know of someone who has. No one should ever have to go through the death of their child -the pain is inimaginable. To help lighten the load during those first few hours of finding out about your child, we have put together some resources that are good to know IMMEDIATELY.
I believe the MOST IMPORTANT STEP! After all the family has left, after the last meal has been delivered, the one tangible thing you will have left is photos. Get photographs of your baby. Take family pictures.
If the loss is eminent, have someone contact Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep before your child is born so they can photograph those first moments meeting your child. A professional photographer will come in and bless you with beautiful photos you can cherish forever. -for free.
Even if you feel at that moment you don’t want pictures for some reason…DO IT ANYWAYS. Seriously. 5 months after your child is gone, all you will want are pictures. Trust me.
If you are a family member and the mom and dad don’t want pictures…I hate to say it, but sneak a few pictures -get some good ones. Fingers, toes, ears.
It is hard, but smile in at least one of them. I look back at my pictures and we are just in shock and tears in all the pictures. There is absolutely no joy in that time, but later on, you’ll want to see the joy of having that child, even though their life was short.
YOU ARE MOM AND DAD
Undress him, bathe him, snuggle with him, dress him in something special. Inspect every body part even the little bottom. It might seem crazy, but months from now, you will want to remember every inch of skin. Precious memories you’ll never get again.
Take your time with your child. There is no “standard” amount of time that you should spend with your child. We kept Everett in our room for 3 days. You will know when it is time to let go. There will NEVER be enough time, but you will see changes in your child that will probably help make your decision.
THE REAL DEAL
Depending on your situation, your babies body will turn over the course of a few days if not hours. The babies skin might be peeling or bruised. We kept wondering if we were “weird” because we kept our child in our room with us for 3 days. Wondered if there was a bad aroma in the room. There wasn’t and it is okay to spend as much time with your child as you want.
THOSE YOU LOVE
After you have had your family time with the baby, allow friends and family to meet him. They are your support, your family and they want to meet your child.
Cut a locket of hair, have someone impress his hands and feet in clay, hold on to the little hats or blankets that are given at the hospital.
BROTHERS & SISTERS
If you have a living child, the decision to allow them to see your baby is personal. We just knew that our daughter needed to meet her baby brother. We wanted pictures of our entire family, we wanted our daughter to know what happened and to have closer. Use words like “His body doesn’t work anymore.” Refrain from saying he was sick, that can confuse a child.
The sad and painful truth is that your milk will still come in after the birth of your child…typically around days 3 or 4 but it is different for everyone. Best trick a nurse told me was to place cold cabbage leaves on my breasts as soon as possible. I have NO idea how it helped but it did. I just kept rotating fresh ones a few times a day. I also found the tightest undergarment and wore it 24/7, even in the shower. Don’t allow hot water to stimulate them and keeping them bound for that first week to 10 days will help.
Ask someone close to you to scope out the funeral homes or cemeteries should you need one. We had a dear friend drive all over the city to find cemetery options and reported them back to us. Don’t do it all alone.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep -professional photography organization trained to photograph our sleeping children.
Lost & Found & Connections Abound (LFCA) -An online community of women who have suffered from infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption, pregnancy-and-parenting after infertility, assisted conception, living child-free after infertility or loss community. A great place to find support from other women.
Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope -An online community of women who have lost a child. Find out that you are NOT alone and find support from others who have gone through similar tragedies.