Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Planning for a dead baby, hoping for a live one

18 weeks 4 days, 13 days post rupture.

So preparations are coming along for a possible second dead baby. By making these preparations don't think that I'm giving up on Acorn, because I'm not. But I tend to be a realistic person and like to plan for things a head of time. Even if it means planning for a dead baby on one hand, while very much hoping for a live one on the other.

Blankets: I sent my husband on a mission to find some cute, gender neutral baby blankets for holding the baby after he or she is born. He did an awesome job. Even managed to find a cotton baby blanket with tiny little acorns all over it! I know this was hard for him as he ended up having to go to Babies R Us. Babies R Us possibly being the second to last place a possible 2nd time around dead baby dad wants to go (the worst being the maternity ward at the hospital where all the healthy babies are). We also got Acorn an 'Angel Dear' blankie from Chapters. After Aidan was born, we realized we hadn't brought a toy or a blanket to the hospital for him, so Brian ran downstairs and picked up the 'Dark Monkey' from the bookstore. I wanted to ensure Acorn would have one too, so Brian got him the 'Ducky'. Unfortunately I only found the Angel Dear website after picking up the Ducky, and I think I would have much preferred the 'Owl' (get it, Owl, Acorn, trees). Oh well. Do ducks live in trees? Something tells me they don't.

Funeral Homes: Yes, I'm looking into funeral homes. Sad but true. I wasn't entirely happy with the funeral home that we dealt with last time. See this post and this post for that debacle. So, I've found a funeral home, that while much further from our house, will cost a lot less and has agreed to pick up the baby's body and arrange for cremation even if he or she is born before 20 weeks. That's a relief.

Birth certificates: I e-mailed my colleague Lori who is the bereavement coordinator where I used to work. I was so hoping to soon be shooting her an e-mail saying "guess what??! I'm pregnant again!!", but the e-mail I actually got to write her had a much different tone. "Guess what? I'm pregnant again and possibly in need of your services". She was able to confirm for me that yes indeed, there is no official certificate at all for a birth prior to 20 weeks. If I make it to 20 weeks and the baby is stillborn I will get a 'stillbirth' certificate which substitutes for a birth and death certificate, which we had for Aidan since he was born alive and lived for 54 minutes. I don't know why this matters so much to me, to have a birth and death certificate. I suppose it pulls at my genealogist heart strings that my baby, who was very much wanted and loved, and will be named, could be no more than a footnote in my medical records. Inaccessible to the public. I want Acorn to be able to be looked up on a birth register in 100 years. I want him to count in a legal, public sense.

Pictures: Lori also told me that NILMDTS doesn't usually do photos prior to 22 weeks gestation, and even that is dependant on the baby's condition. But she urged me to contact them in any event, just in case someone would be willing to help us out. We have also charged our own camera and plan to ensure it is ready to go, just in case. If I could have just ONE perfect picture, like the photo above of Aidan, then I will be happy.

Foot/Hand moulds: I'm really hoping the hospital will be able to help us out with this one, but I'm leaving nothing to chance this time. I love Aidan's foot moulds and would like ones for Acorn. I was planning to do it even if Acorn was born big and healthy at term, just to show the size difference (or now possibly similarity). I'm hoping Lori will put together a package of mould making supplies for me and that way we will be able to make our own, just in case the NICU nurses aren't available to do them for me. I'm also really hopeful I'm in good enough shape physically to do this after the birth. I was so tired and sleep deprived after Aidan was born. If not maybe I'll have to teach Brian how to do it or have him page Lori to see if she can come and do it if it's a weekday (she's VERY good at them).

Names: This is a hard one. We have decided that yes, if Acorn is a he, and he is born somewhat healthy or at least with a possibility of being so, then we will use the boy's name I really wanted, that also belongs to a distant cousin of mine. If however, the baby is born dead, or before 24 weeks, or later but with a poor prognosis...then we will choose a 'dead baby' name that belongs to no one in the family and is distinctly the baby's. What this is going to be is still (sort of) up for debate. There is a name that I would REALLY like to use, that I feel is appropriate and goes nicely with Aidan, but my husband isn't really fond of it (although I've secretly started calling the baby that in my head). There is another name that we both like, and could probably agree on, but I'm not as fond of the meaning and to me, for a baby that isn't going to live, the meaning is important. So, this might still be up for debate. We also haven't settled on a middle name for a boy at all... Girl name however is done and will be the name we originally wanted. Although I have recently found a pretty girl name that actually means 'oak tree' (Ayla for anyone who cares) which I thought was kind of neat.

So there you have it. Plans for a dead baby while very much hoping for a live one.

Anything anyone can think of to add?


  1. If you need help with funeral costs and arrangements, there is a great organization out of ohio. it helps nationwide though. Get in contact with Kambra. ALSO, if you need a memory bag with molds and such, there is another organization called Project Sweet Peas. Depending on your state, there may be a local project in your state that can get you a memory bag OR a NICU bag when Acorn makes his/her entrance and may need some time in the NICU. Go to and look under local projects. Then you can contact your state leader, or the head of PSP directly to help. I am praying Acorn makes a healthy entrance months from now!!

  2. Wow. As crappy as it sounds, you really have your stuff together and thats awesome! I've been in your shoes before but with out any knowledge as to what might happen until hours before it did and I couldn't plan at all.
    I'm glad that during (maybe/hopefully not?!) you will have one less thing to worry about when the times comes and you'll only have to grieve.
    I still pray ever day that you'll be a miracle case and end up in all sorts of medical textbooks and whatnot about the girl that made it past the 2nd Trimester and ended up with a healthy baby. (if I'm praying then I'm going to ask God for a lot this time!)

  3. i'm hoping for a live baby for you, too!

  4. I would be making all those plans too.

    Some funeral homes do things for free. I used a funeral home in Oakville (which I know is a little too far away for you) that did everything for free (namely the cremation, picking up Jacob from the hospital, etc). They even gave me a little urn for free and planted a tree in Jacob's name. The one I used was Kopriva Taylor. I don't think they are a "chain", but that is their name, just in case.

    I can't think of anything else right now. Unfortunately you know the drill already.


  5. I know Lori (we both used to volunteer with PBSO) & she is amazing. : ) I am so glad you have her to support you. But may you never need to use what you've learned!

  6. Any chance Lori works at SickKids? If so, I think she might have been our bereavement counsellor...

  7. I think you have everything covered.. the pictures always seem to be the most important thing I would tell another mother fi the need arose.
    I hoep you don't have to put this plan in place... I know what the prognosis looks like and I hate it for you.. but nonetheless I have hope for you.. sending it your way....

  8. Tears for you :( Just a note of caution, after I learned that Oliver had passed away the first thing I did was go get the foot molds to do him and when he was born becuase we have them from Jack - we were unable to do them becuase of the condition of his little feet and hands and I had not thought that was a possibility. Hugs.

  9. I'm so proud of you. This can't have been easy to do. I guess if I had my time again, and I had some prior warning we were going to lose her, I wish I could have been this organised because I do have so many regrets about all the things we missed out on doing in our brief time together. I hope if nothing else, you can come out of this with no regrets - in terms of making memories, that is. I know you'll have an ache so deep in your heart though, and I'll never even try to comprehend that.
    I think calling NILMDTS is still a great idea. If Acorn arrives soon, hopefully you can still find a photographer sensitive enough to come out, as my friend did.

  10. I am so sorry you are even having to do these thigns again. You will continue to be in my prayers and I hope all these plans are all unneeded. (((HUGS)))

  11. It sounds like you're doing everything you can to make your time with Acorn special even if the worst happens, and I can only imagine how hard all of this planning is and has been.

    Sending love to you as you go through all of this difficult planning and hoping hard for you and Acorn.

  12. Emily, I so hope that you don't need to use all these plans, that you and Acorn can beat the odds.

    There is nothing wrong with using the lessons you learned from Aidan to help you now. As I was told by a mom who lost 2 babies, it didn't hurt any less to lose her second child but she knew what would help her get through it.