Most stillborn moms I know have many regrets after leaving the hospital. We often think we are making the right decision at the time, only to leave and realize we missed some key moments.

Please consider this list if you are currently in the hospital to deliver your stillborn or if your infant passed away shortly after birth. Please pass this along if you are reading this in honor of a loved one in the hospital.

Note that some of these ideas are based on a 5lb, third-trimester infant

1. Bathe your angel

I didn't even realize parents did this with their stillborn babies. It is a great bonding experience and the only bath you can ever give your angel. Remember to take pictures of baby before, during, and after bath time.

2. Take pictures

Even when you feel like you've taken enough, TAKE MORE! Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is a free photography service in many hospitals and may take photos for you. Be sure to still take pictures of your own. My hospital stay didn't have a photographer because of the COVID-19 rules. Luckily, my husband was able to be with me during that time.

Be sure to take pictures of the following:

  • Close-ups of head, hair, feet, & hands
  • Family members with baby, individually and all together
  • Mom holding baby, kissing baby, hugging baby
  • Dad holding baby, kissing baby, hugging baby
  • Outfit changes
  • Swaddled in a blanket
  • With and without a hat
  • Holding mom and dads wedding rings
  • Next to a baby announcement board

Even if you think you have taken enough, take more, and back up those pictures!! You do not want your phone to break on you, keeping you from the most precious photos you've ever taken.

A quick way to back these up is to post in a Facebook album and set it to private.

3. Focus on the hands and feet

This all depends on what your hospital offers or what friends and family can bring to you in time. Hand and feet prints are standard. Get as many as you can! I don't have a hand/foot mold from my son. Castings are essential; if you can cast your baby's hands and feet, do it! This allows you to feel your baby after they are long gone.

4. Dress baby in a few different outfits

Do it yourself as a bonding moment. You will get home and find yourself nitpicking every little thing about these photos. If you have a variety of photos, you can pick out favorites rather than being stuck with what you've got. For instance, I have found myself not liking the beanie my son was wearing in 99% of his photos. I like his hair showing so much more. Unfortunately, the only picture I took of him without his hat was with terrible lighting. It's one that I can't plaster all over my walls.

5. Sing and talk to your angel

Make sure you film this too! This is your baby, and your time to tell baby everything you were hoping to do. Tell baby how cute their nursery was going to be. Sing the songs you sang while pregnant. Comfort your baby because, in turn, you may even comfort yourself.

6. Give your baby a comfort object

We kept a small teddy bear near our son. It was his bear, the only toy he got to hold in this world. It just looks so cute with him. It adds a smile to his photos. We then took this bear home and placed it next to his urn. Forever his buddy.

7. Write down all of your thoughts

Describe everything you see surrounding you. The time you spend at the hospital will be a blur once you get home. You can write things like...

  • what has happened every few hours
  • your feelings throughout your stay
  • what you love about your baby
  • your talks with your partner and family
  • nice things your nurses have said

8. Cut pieces of hair

If there is enough, keep it for a shadow box or baby book.

9. Record videos

Much like the photos, you will want to relive every moment you spent with your baby. Take multiple videos of baby and then of everyone holding baby and talking to baby. If you change the clothes or swaddle the baby, have your spouse film you doing so. You can always delete anything you don't like later. But you most likely will never find yourself doing so.

10. Spend LOTS of time with baby

Above all else, spend as much time as possible with your angel. You won't ever get this chance again. Do simple things like watching a movie together. Show your baby videos of their siblings. Take a nap together. Find peace in being with your little angel for this small but mighty amount of time.

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