Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Input needed

Just had a question for those of you who are willing to share. One of the big comforts I had after Aidan died was that we kept his ashes. Initially I thought we would eventually bury them, but I have since changed my mind and hope to keep them with us until either Brian or I die, when our ashes will be buried with Aidan's. Sort of 'whoever dies first wins an eternal resting place with our son!'

But is it even possible to have a funeral home collect the body of a 'miscarriage' (assuming I deliver prior to 20 weeks)? Did those of you out there who delivered 'a miscarriage' have your baby cremated? Were you able to get the cremains back? Did you take photos? I know NILMDTS doesn't do photos before 20 weeks gestation so I'm wondering if we should prepare by ensuring our own camera is ready if in fact I go into labour within the next short while. The few things that I have of Aidan's are so precious to me, and I'm trying to figure out how to preserve anything of Acorn's, given that he may be 'younger', less developed and therefore less 'deserving' of memory preservation in the eyes of medical personnel who eventually deal with us.

I feel somehow like it would be a disservice to Acorn not to do the things for him that I did for his brother. For Aidan we got a pretty wooden urn and a silver necklace with his ashes. It wasn't cheap, but since we didn't have a service or a burial I felt those were the things we did to remember and honour his short life. I cannot imagine not doing it for Acorn if (when?) he dies. I'm trying to be a fair mommy to both my children, even though neither of them really cares.

Any help from moms who have had a 'late miscarriage'? Thanks in advance.


  1. Emily, from my past work as a volunteer support group leader, I know we had a few people at our groups who had miscarriages & arranged for burial/cremation. It is not common, but is becoming more so. I don't think the problem will be with getting a funeral home to collect the body, but with ensuring that your dr & hospital comply with your wishes. Protocol is that you HAVE to arrange for burial or cremation after 19? weeks -- but before that it's a grey area. It's common practice for the hospital to "take care" of things after a miscarriage, so you need to make it absolutely clear what your wishes are, so that they don't just unthinkingly follow standard practice. It's your baby, it doesn't seem right that you would have to fight to be able to claim his/her body, but you may have to do that.

    But I hope it doesn't come to that for you. Many (((HUGS))).

  2. Our loss was about the same gestation as Aidan's so I can't speak from experience, but as Lori said I'm sure if you made your wishes known to the hospital they would honor them. I'm just so incredibly sorry you're in this place & being faced with these awful questions. Thinking of you ((hugs))

  3. I delivered Dash at 17 weeks. We brought a camera with us to L&D and I took a lot of pictures and do not regret it for a moment. We had Dash cremated with his little blankie and we were able to pick up his ashes a week later. I think different states are different but I hope you can find someone that will advocate for you and your little acorn if the time comes where you do need to make those decisions. I'm thinking of you!

  4. I'm sorry you're even having to think about such a horrible thing, but I know it's important to feel as prepared as possible. My first loss was at 21 weeks and the nurses took some nice pictures of him for us and gave us a memory box. We had him buried with my sister. My second loss was at 18 weeks. We got no pictures except one really bad one we took ourselves. We got no memory box. I don't know if it was because we had him at a different hospital or because he hadn't made it to 20 weeks. Either way, it made a devastating time even worse. Babies born before 20 weeks absolutely can be cremated and returned to the parents! That is what we did, and later we buried his remains with his brother. We felt it would be very wrong to treat our babies differently just because they fell on different sides of the 20 week line.

    Praying for you and your little Acorn!

  5. I delivered living, breathing children at 16w, 17w, and 18w. They lived up to an hour; they were issued birth certificates. NILMDTS did come and take their pictures at the hospital afterwards. They were cremated and we placed them, together, in a marble box. We had funerals for them.

  6. Hi, I stumbled upon your blog while trying to find comfort in my loss. My husband and I lost our twin sons Easton and Parker just four months ago, on November 20, 2010. I was a little over 19 weeks when my water broke due to twin to twin transfusion. I just wanted to let you know that the social worker brought our babies to us the next morning and we were able to spend about an hour with them. We decided to do a funeral for the babies because we didn't know how else to handle this situation. The funeral home picked our babies up from the hospital and when I got out the next day we went and made arrangements as far as picking out caskets etc. The hospital gave us a choice to "dispose" of Easton and Parker but we told them that was not an option. The social worker offered to take pics but we declined. You would be surprised how well fromed babies are at this stage. Ours weighed eight and nine ounces and were nine inches long. They were perfect just small but completely formed. We are so glad we chose to spend time with our babies. I am so sorry for everything you are going through. I can't understand your pain at all. You are such a strong person and I will pray that your days get brighter. I will keep prayers going up for you. If you have any questions you can contact me on my blog or by email.

  7. I'm going to email a friend for you who has just been through something very similar. She lost a baby just shy of 20 weeks and did have a NILMDTS photographer there (it was also not her first loss). I know they took some "family portraits" and I'm not sure how much emphasis was on her baby, but they did come out and were really sympathetic to her situation. Hopefully someone can be flexible for you if/when the worst comes to pass. I also know of girls who've had their babies cremated prior to 20 weeks, so it is possible.
    Much love mama and I'll get back to you.

  8. My losses have all been earlier in pregnancy, but I just wanted to give you my support, such as it is. My heart hurts for you making these decisions that should never have to be made. I would hire a photographer who specializes in premature births, and talk to the hospital about what you want IF your Acorn comes too early. Praying for your miracle.

  9. We had a several choices when I miscarried at 17 weeks, including cremation and sending him to a funeral home. I would be surprised if your hospital didn't offer this.

    We ultimately chose to have him tested first, to ensure there was nothing genetically wrong (which there wasn't), then he will be cremated and we'll receive his ashes back. The latter has yet to happen as we just got the test results back. To go into more detail: a local funeral home picked up our son from the hospital and took him to a university for testing. We will be getting a form in the mail shortly to confirm our wishes now that the testing is done - cremation and 'cremains' sent to our home.

    I would definitely suggest to bring your camera. My hospital took a few pictures but they are so blurry I can't make out his features. I regret not bringing my camera and taking some of my own.

    Ask the hospital to do the same things for Acorn as they did for Aidan. Have them give him/her a knit hat, hospital bracelet, anything.. We received a little memory "envelope" with the blurry pictures, hospital bracelet, a few certifcates, bookmark, and hand- and footprints.

    Still thinking good thoughts for you and Acorn. Don't give up.

  10. I didn't have a late miscarriage (I was over 20 weeks and cremation or burial was mandatory...we would have done it anyway). I do know someone who lost a baby at 16 weeks and she had him cremated and has his ashes.

    I would definitely bring my own camera with me, and a blanket to wrap Acorn in while you hold him that you can keep after, and one to wrap him in when you give him to the nurse for the last time. You probably already know things like that tough, unfortunately.

    I am so sorry you are going through this.

  11. there was an article in the globe and mail in the last couple of years on this topic. i will try to find you a link, but the main point was that funeral homes are willing to treat your loved one as you wish.
    speak to your healthcare providers to make sure they will help out.
    MSH genetics dept is knowlegeable about this and the SPP OBs should be.
    Lori from the SK NICU should also be able to help.
    email me if I can help.

    Emily I am so so very sorry you have to endure this

  12. I have heard that hospitals toss lost pre-term babies as "medical waste" and callously dispose of them in the trash like garbage UNLESS you request that the baby be saved and call a funeral home to pick up the body. I am so sorry you even have to be thinking about this possibility.I am sad even typing this. ((hugs.))

  13. i delivered cadynce at 19wk 6d. the hospital took pictures for us because it wasnt something we had any warning about, they took footprints and handprints and gave the a little dress they had taken a coiuple of pictures of her in.

    they asked me what we wanted to do, either hae her buried in a mass grave type thing for early losses, have them take care of her or have her cremated. i knew immediately that i wanted her cremated because we were in a different state more than 5 hours from home. they gave us the name of a funeral home close by and my husband was able to arrange the cremation.

    everyone was so incredibly kind to us. you just speak up and tell them exactly what you want and make then do what you want. that's your baby no matter if he's born too soon or not!

    if you have any questions please feel free to email me

  14. I didn't mention in my last comment but like the comment above, the hospital gave us little gowns to bury the boys in and also gave us their foot prints in clay and with ink. There is a program through the hospital call Threads of Love that makes blankets for preemie babies and we were given blankets with a cross monogrammed on each of them. We were given the measuring tape used to measure them and a memory box. The whoe situation was made as easy as possible as I hope your's will be. I am praying for a healthy baby for you and for a miracle for your family. God Bless

  15. I just started to read your blog and I'm soo sorry for what you are going through right now. I lost a little girl this past October at 21 weeks (I just barely cleared the crappy title of miscarriage and made it to stillbirth). We lost her when my water broke early and infection set in. Sadly we received the diagnosis and delivered her on the same day.
    We were given several options since she was of an old enough gestation BUT not enough in weight. We fell into the catagory of the hospital could dispose (umm not gonna happen), she could come home in a box with us (still not gonna happen) or we could call a funeral home. Here in the state of Texas when they are under a year old they usually do it for free. We were able to have the funeral home pick her up and she was cremated for us. I would imagine that any funeral home would pick up any baby of any gestation and do as you wished.
    I would also advise to take your own camara just in case.
    I'm hoping that you are currently up to your eyeballs in antibiotics with your legs in the air to keep all the fluid in!
    I'm praying so hard for you!!!


  16. A copy of an email from my friend, I have just removed names for privacy. She was 18 weeks along:

    I am so sorry... I hate that this just happens and happens and happens.

    "Baby was only 18 weeks. X arranged everything, and the photographer was truly amazing. We looked at the photographs just this week and she did such a beautiful job. While there, she was gentle, loving, gracious, sensitive, and said several times how honored she was to be able to be there. Perhaps it would help for the area coordinator where this family is to know that, in Cincinnati, Ohio, a NILMDTS photographer was willing to come for an 18-week baby who had already died, and that the photographer being there and the gift of those photos helped to make the experience of loss just a little easier and more meaningful...
    If I can help in any way, please let me know. I am happy to make that call too."

    So just letting you know that it is possible for NILMDTS to come out, even though they do say from 25 weeks, and it will hopefully be such a gentle and loving experience for you all.

    I'm still so dreadfully sorry you find yourself here and am finding it so hard to believe.


  17. Hi Emily,

    When I delivered Oliver at 18 weeks I held him through the night, took lots of photos and then they performed an autopsy on him and sent him to a funeral home to be creamated with a little blanket that we sent with him. It is definitely possible, if heaven forbid this happens please speak up and let everyone know what you need.

    Many hugs.