Preparing to Deliver a Sleeping Baby

If you’ve just heard those life changing words ‘there’s no heartbeat’ or another circumstance leading to you having to deliver a sleeping baby and have found this post at the start of your journey then I am so sorry for your loss. Let me start by telling you as someone who’s been there that it does get easier, I promise. But it’s shit now and I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

I’ve decided to write this post as there are a lot of things I wish I had known when I lost my little girl, and many things I regret. I don’t want you to have to live with any more regrets than you already will.

Meet your little one. For me this was a no-brainer, I’d been growing her inside me for the last 21weeks, of course I wanted to see her, but I know that for others, facing their baby can be hard, but you’ll almost certainly regret it if you don’t. Up until around 30weeks your baby won’t look like the newborn you were planning on meeting, the word ‘alien’ crossed my mind when I met my daughter, be prepared for that, and depending how long ago your baby passed away there may be signs of this, however as much as you have to be prepared for that, please don’t let it put you off. Your baby is going to be beautiful, with little hands and feet, perfectly formed nails on their fingers and little lips. You will be blown away with how your body created all of this.

Take photos. Even if you choose not to see your baby, PLEASE get someone to take photos for you, even if you don’t think you’ll ever want to see them, it’s better to have those photos sealed in a box and never look at them than it is to want to see them and not have them. You only get one chance. There is a charity called Remember My Baby who have volunteer photographers all over the country to take professional quality photos of your baby just contact them and if they can help you they will. As I said, you only get one chance at this so a professional photographer will create you lasting memories. If they are unable to help you try and get a private  professional photographer to come and take some, and I mean a professional not a friend with a good camera. There’s a big difference and you only get one chance at this. But equally, take your own. Professional photographs are lovely, but there’s feeling in photos you take yourself. Think of poses you want to have a photo of. Wedding rings on toes taking inspiration from Kim and Kanye, or hands clutching a necklace or a finger. I regret not having a photo of my little girls feet. They were so perfect.

Hand and Footprints. Nothing preserves their perfect little size better than prints. I was lucky that my hospital offered this service, I hadn’t thought about anything before I went into the hospital, so was very grateful that after she was taken from me the hospital made these and provided them for me, but yours may not, so if you get a chance, preferably take an inkless kit, or some ink and paper. If you are able to, a casting kit may be nice to enable you to have plaster casts of their limbs, but I don’t think my little girls skin would have been strong enough to withstand this, so be prepared that it may not be possible.

A Teddy. Choose your baby a teddy. Do some research into what size your baby will be by the gestation you are so you don’t get a teddy too big. Buy two. This may sound silly but you will want to keep one in a memory box, you can cuddle yours to feel close to your little one, and it will be a connection. I didn’t think to buy a second at the time but went back to the shop by chance a few months later and found an exact copy at the back of the shelf. I nearly burst into tears in relief there in the shop.

Clothes. I chose not to dress my little girl, but I did knit her a blanket in the week between leaving her at the hospital and seeing her at the funeral director. Clothes are a tough one, finding something the right size could be tough, but there are charities out there that sew and knit clothes for little angels, so a bit of online research might come in handy, or dolls clothes may also work. Some research into what size your baby will be will help you choose what will fit. Try not to pick anything too tight fitting that needs to be pulled over heads and arms as their skin can be very fragile. I recommend a hat if nothing else. Many hospitals do provide these, but mine did not and I regret that I never got to see her swaddled up in a wooly hat like the newborn I should have had.

People. Decide who may want to see your baby and make sure they do get to meet your little one. I will always regret that my dad never got to see her the day she was born, he wasn’t at the birth and when he came to pick me up and asked if he could see her she had already been taken away. Unfortunately they change in the time before you see them again, so he did see her at the funeral directors, but she didn’t look like the baby I remembered by then.

Jewellery. This isn’t something I did personally, but I know some people get matching jewellery and give one to their baby and keep one themselves to wear, either that or something along the lines of a best friends necklace where you leave half with them and you keep half. Either idea is beautiful, I would just constantly worry about losing my half, but I can really see how it would bring massive comfort.

I think that is all for the day of the birth. I am aware that I was lucky in a sense that I had a few days to research and organise things, and that for some people they may not have seen this until after the birth, that maybe things were rushed and some things weren’t done. Most things can still be done up until the day of the funeral though, so if there is something you haven’t done, hand and footprints for example, you can always phone your funeral director and arrange to do this or for it to be done.

Then you have to decide whether or not to have a funeral at all, whether to bury or cremate, on their own or in with other babies from the hospital. There is no right or wrong answer here it is very personal to you. Normally this will be discussed with you at the hospital, but your mind can be changed right up to the last minute.

I decided on a funeral and a burial. Arranging the funeral was easy for me, my funeral directors were great, I chose the cemetery and they did the rest really. I chose a small funeral, just parents and grandparents, at the cemetery, nothing was said and only I bought flowers, and just a small bunch of carnations at that. At the time I couldn’t see past the fact that she hadn’t lived a life to be celebrated, and in my mind that was what funerals were about. I have since seen some amazing funerals for babies, teddy shaped wreaths, and lovely readings. Neither is right. Choose what feels right for you at the time. Decide who you want to come and where you want it to be. It is all very personal and you will know what works for you.

All that I can say now is stay strong and life does go on, I promise, however much it doesn’t seem like it now. Remember your little one however you need to, have days where you don’t get out of bed (5 years on I still need these days) talk about your little one as much or as little as you need to, and know there is a community of us out here, online and probably in your every day life who know exactly what you are going through and all you need to do is reach out and we will all be here for you.

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  1. I am so sorry to read of your loss ❤️



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  • An 'Angel Baby' is a baby lost during pregnancy or early childhood, who sleeps in the clouds instead of our arms.

    A 'Rainbow Baby' is a baby born following the loss of an 'Angel Baby', a beacon of hope after a storm, while not denying the storm happened.

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