Preparing for your baby...

Support for a Fatal Diagnosis

Our hearts are with you as you prepare and anticipate the birth of your baby.  We have compiled a list of ideas and ways to create memories with your little one.  This list came from bereaved moms that wanted to provide suggestions and hope for families who will have limited time with their child.  Please do not feel that this is a “must do” checklist, but rather a list of things to think about as you plan. 

Every baby is precious and we believe that creating as many memories as you can will help you cherish and remember them forever.

Work with your Doctor and hospital to schedule a tour to meet the bereavement team and a few of the medical professionals that might be there for the birth of your child. Being familiar with where you will be delivering and having a plan can help ease anxiousness. Also, seeing a familiar face when you do arrive in labor, can be comforting.

Think about who you would like to have with you at the hospital. Some families choose to have all of their family and friends, while others are more private. It is good to talk about this beforehand, so you can anticipate who will be your support during labor and after delivery.

Think about scheduling a maternity photoshoot to document the pregnancy and baby.

Try to visit places during your pregnancy that you hoped to take your baby to as he/she grew up (with doctor’s approval). For instance, some families will go to the beach, a special park, a favorite city, their favorite restaurant, a special church, back to their high school /college, etc. One family went to Build a Bear to create a special stuffed animal just for their baby. Take pictures being in that place and document it. For those that were able to do this, they have expressed that it is a happy memory that they shared with their baby. And in years to come, when they visit that place they think of their little one.

For some families, naming the baby during the pregnancy was helpful. Some moms said that it helped them connect with their little one.

Keep a journal. Write Everything. Your feelings, thoughts, dreams, wishes, frustrations, sadness etc. Getting these emotions out will help.

If you’re able, take time to walk and exercise. (With doctors approval) Sometimes, just being in nature and feeling the sunshine on your face is comforting and uplifting.

If you are religious, ask for prayers and connect with your church family. Maybe you would like prayers for strength, or guidance, or support. Some moms and families find it hard to pray and attend church when they are carrying a baby that might not survive. But knowing that someone is praying for you, can be comforting.

 As you are comfortable sharing, inform those around you on what you need and ways they can support you and your family.  Even if that is something as simple as helping you with yard work, or asking for dinners, or having them pick up an older child from school etc.  People around you want to help, but might not know what to do.  

Consider a birth plan with your doctor. Talk about what will happen when your child is born and how they can help you be with your little one as much as possible.

Consider having a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer come to the birth or shortly after. For more information on NILMDTS visit their website. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for another ultrasound. Just another way to see your baby and have more pictures of him/her.

Consider going to Little Star Ultrasound (or a non-medical ultrasound facility in your area) for additional ultrasound photos.  These pictures are done just to view the baby and are not covered by insurance.  These types of studios have a bunch of different packages at all different price points. For example, many offer recording the baby’s heartbeat and place it in a stuffed animal for you to keep.  They also have the capability to do 3D ultrasounds.  

Pack your hospital bag earlier than normal to ensure that you have a bunch of items ready to go.  

Consider packing the following:

  • a special garment for your baby to be blessed/ baptized/ photographed in, such as an angel gown or christening gown. 
  • a washcloth set to give your baby a bath if the opportunity presents itself
  • a book or two to read to your baby
  • create a playlist of songs that you might want to play.  Whether you want to sing to your baby or dance with them, it would give you the opportunity to share in a special moment with your child. 
  • bring a handprint/footprint mold (These kits are sold at Walmart) to get the baby’s prints
  • pack a few smaller pieces of cardstock to get a bunch of prints of the baby’s hands and feet
  • a special hat
  • an outfit or two
  • a stuffed animal for them (some families will bring two, so that when the funeral home will come to pick up the baby, the stuffed animal will go with baby and the other one will stay with the family)  
  • a blanket (more of a solid color works great, so that it is nice background for photos)
  • a nicer outfit for you and your partner to put on for photos with the baby (even if that is a nicer nightgown).  So many moms look back at their photos of them with their baby and hate that they didn’t change out of the hospital gown.  Take a minute to change if you are able. Even if you just gave birth, ask the nurses to help you change.  
  • Many husbands/fathers will pack a black tee shirt to change into as well.  That way a photo can be taken of them holding their baby against their chest and the baby shows up so beautifully. Especially if you turn the photo into black and white.
  • If you have living children and you are planning on them being there to meet their sibling, consider a special gift for them.  A stuffed animal, big sister/ brother tee shirt.  Even a balloon.
  • Pack an item in your bag that represents strength and love.  For instance, if you have a picture of your grandmother and she was a pillar of strength for you, bring it.  When you are in labor you can look at it for comfort.  It can be used to focus on during labor and even after.
  • If you are religious, some families will watch a church service together.  
  • Other families have shared a meal together and wanted to do so, to have time with their baby. 

Remember, take all of the time you need and don’t feel rushed.  Cherish every part of your little one and take photos.  Even if you never want to look at them, you will have them.  So many families regret not having a picture.

Again, everything listed are just suggestions and ideas. We wish you comfort and strength as you continue on carrying your beautiful baby.

May you feel the love coming from us. 

Resource for Fatal Diagnosis:
String of Pearls -