If you’ve arrived at this page, having just discovered that your baby has died (or might die), you might be wondering what might help you at this difficult time. I have created this section to give you some ideas of how you could spend your time with your baby. These ideas are just that – ideas. It’s impossible for me to give you a script, or a timetable. Each situation, family and baby are individual.
These ideas are inspired by many things; our time with Finley, the extensive reading I have done, the hundreds of parents I have spoken to who have walked this sad path, from the responses of professionals on training days I have organised. I share this information, with the intention of helping you to understand what is possible, so that you can make an informed decision about what is right for your family at this time. Many parents find it sad, or frustrating to discover something they’d have liked to have done, when it is too late. It may be that you like just one idea, or that you find that you don’t need to do any of these things, that it’s not right for you.
It may be comforting to look back in the years to come, and understand that you made the right decision for your family, based on the information you have been given. It can help greatly to have few, or no regrets when you begin to heal and rebuild your lives.
Finley was born on 2nd August 2009. In the years since services, equipment, resources and products available to parents when their baby dies has greatly improved. We didn’t have the benefit of time to research what to do in our time together. I woke up from emergency surgery to discover that I had a little boy, who would never wake. We were led by the staff on duty, giving us information and ideas and capturing memories for us in photographs and video.
We spent 3 days in hospital. Finley remained with us for the whole of that time. Friends and family visited, my husband stayed. In that time we both bathed and dressed Finley, we took many photographs (including a family portrait). Staff captured his hand and footprints in ink. We took a clay cast of his feet. We photographed him in different outfits, ones we’d brought especially for him, that are now in his memory box. We read him a bedtime story.
Whilst these memories did not make it any easier at the time (although they did perhaps provide a distraction and give us something to do), they have certainly helped me to heal. I now enjoy looking at those items, I feel close to Finley and have a tangible reminder of him which will last, even when my own memory fades.
Whilst this section of the website tends to focus upon full term stillbirth, as in my own experience, I will also try to include suggestions, ideas and comments for other situations.