Once everything is all done all you have left is memories. The memories will keep you going in the darkest moments, they will make you smile, they will make you cry, they will be your treasures!
The important parts are: there’s no right or wrong and have NO regrets!
I will start with how I made my memories guided by some wonderful people:
- ink prints– many hospitals do these but if you aren’t offered this then ask
- plaster cast– my hospital did this for us many don’t however some companies can make 2d casts from ink prints for you to then make some
- blanket– I made Elva a blanket when I was around 3 months pregnant. I took this to wrap her in to then keep, I also took a shop bought one to leave with her snuggled up
- teddy- again the hospital gave Elva a teddy. We all love our teddies in this family so this was a lovely item to leave
- clothes- baby’s born below a certain gestation and weight won’t fit shop bought clothes and many hospitals provide knitted items. My hospital offer pouches. I knew this was my one chance to dress my girl so I crocheted a dress. You get time after leaving hospital to dress baby before the funeral so don’t feel rushed you can leave baby wrapped in a blanket. some chose to pop hat on baby whereas personally I didn’t wish to.
- jewellery- some parents like to take pictures with baby wearing something special like a wedding ring. I bought Elva an amber necklace so she wore that in the hospital
- letters- many parents write a letter me included. The time on my own in hospital was when I wrote it helped me immensely
- photos- when you consider a lifetime of photos you end up with thousands!!!! you have a matter of days to take them. I got over 400. close ups, every angle, with me, with daddy, together, with our children. don’t ever feel you’ve taken too many just take more. In hospital a photographer came in from a website called Now I lay me down to sleep. That phrase ran round my head endlessly before the funeral. They are professionals who volunteer to take professional shots of your baby for free. They usually take 4 weeks to send them at which point you get some printed and a CD with the rest on. they are kind and caring fully sensitive of the situation and you get more shots of your beautiful baby.
- other items- I kept a cot sheet Elva laid on and a top I wore when we snuggled. The reason why is they have her blood on. I also kept her hospital tags they put on her.
- sing- during every pregnancy and after every birth I sang twinkle twinkle. Its a simple sweet song that is easy for my older children to remember also. I sang to Elva many times. we also sang our family song to her
- talk- talk to your baby. I told Elva I loved her numerous times in the womb and even now after her funeral I tell her still. I told her how beautiful she is, I told her about her brothers about her life she was meant to have. I begged her to wake up and I told her I was sorry.
- touch- kiss your baby, stroke your baby, touch every part and observe, feel their weight and the most important thing I did was skin to skin. the skin to skin made me feel connected to Elva like our hearts were leaking into each other. The coldness was strangely comforting also.
- smile- take pictures of you smiling. I have a couple of photos were we are genuinely upset and they remind me of the pain of that moment and in turn bring that pain back. to cherish the memories and smile when you think of hem you need some happy pictures. if you have children or plan other children you want happy pictures to share. for me this was easy it may not be for others
- visits- you can see your baby after you leave in hospital and in the chapel of rest. visiting my daughter made me happy it calmed me and the initial weeks kept me going.
- coming home- the night before the funeral Elva came home. we had an unsealed coffin and the whole 20 hours she was home I held her. we also got our one, only, first and last family of 5 photo. the empty feeling vanished. This also gave me the chance to tuck my baby in for the last time for her eternal sleep knowing I touched her last, kissed her last and saw her last. It also meant I knew the right baby was in the right bed.
Other ways you can:
- bath- some parents wish to give baby a bath just ask staff for assistance
- family- some enjoy family coming to visit baby in hospital as hey would a live birth a celebration of sorts.
- home- few people know you can have baby discharged the same time as you are and baby can be hoe right up until day of the funeral. this s an individual choice which many find too much to handle.