Baby Loss Memory Book
In Memory Of You, a baby loss memory book
If you're anything like me, you didn't spend your pregnancy thinking it would result in your baby being born still. Therefore, we conducted no research before those awful words, "there is no heartbeat." I tend to wonder if talking about stillborn babies is taboo because you may "catch it" if you don't only speak positivity into your life. Would so many babies be saved if we all were a little more educated?
I am 1 in 100. I didn't realize that was the statistic while I was pregnant. I knew a few people with stillborns, but it felt so far away from something I would ever experience myself. I know as pregnant women, we question every little thing. We eat as healthy as possible, lower our caffeine intake, and take our prenatals. We feel like we are in the safe zone when we follow the rules. It doesn't feel so safe to me anymore.
Since the possibility of me having a stillborn was zero (in my mind), nothing about the subject was on my radar. I had never heard of a CuddleCot before my hospital stay. I was even more baffled to find out that I'm one of the lucky ones that had the opportunity to use one. Some parents don't have a CuddleCot when they give birth to their stillborn. They don't get so many hours with their baby as I did. Some moms and dads only get a few minutes to one hour. Some parents choose not to see their baby because they don't know what to expect or nurses don't encourage it. The shock doesn't put you, as the parent, in the right decision-making mindset. Sadly, this is our only chance with our babies, so these decisions are vital.
My twelve hours with baby Bastion consisted of me napping next to him, holding him occasionally, and taking as many pictures of him as possible (which was a few & I wish I had taken more). My husband felt guilty for any sleep that we got while with our baby. But for me, that was the only time I could wake up next to him. It gave me peace. Brandon played the video his big sister made for him. We FaceTimed with family (because they were across the country and we were in the beginning stages of the safer-at-home order for COVID-19). We did what we thought was right at the time, and it was enough at that moment.
As a new parent of a stillborn, it's hard to make the right choices while in the hospital. We don't know what to expect; we don't know what's normal; we don't know what to ask for. For example, some parents were encouraged to bathe their baby to get to know them better. We didn't even know this was something people did until we were home and forever apart from baby Bash. I never saw him without a onesie on. I barely thought to look and see if he had any hair. Thanks to my mom being curious, I finally took off the hat that the nurse had put on. It turns out he had even more hair than my daughter when she was born. So many parents face regret after leaving their still baby. It's because we aren't prepared. We are thrown into this so fast without warning.
Every moment with your stillborn baby is the most valuable moment of your life. Bereaved parents don't get any more moments once they leave the hospital—just a lifetime of grief and what-ifs. By providing a CuddleCot in every hospital, we are giving all bereaved parents these special moments. The one thing these parents need, above all else, is time with their baby. I am so thankful I spent half a day with my baby. It was what I needed at the time. Maybe I would have asked for more if we hadn't been enduring a pandemic. But it gave me a chance to say goodbye. I did what I thought was right at the time, and I wasn't rushed.
If you are a friend or family member with a loved one in the hospital, please help encourage them to cherish their baby in all sorts of ways. Be the voice they need to hear and respect their choices. Read here for more ideas on what to do while with your stillborn baby.
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