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Difficult Decisions

Decisions you may face

The decisions below are difficult, and you may want to discuss your options with your family before making final decisions. We hope that providing you with this information will assist you in making these decisions without pressure.

Because each situation is different, these questions may or may not relate to your situation. If your baby is alive but expected to die, there are other decisions you need to consider.

If your baby has died in the womb, you have likely come to the hospital to have labor induced. This can be a long process, and you have some time to discuss your decisions with your family and your nurse. The first two questions indicated here should have been discussed with you by your provider before you arrived at the hospital.

If you need more information about your induction and pain relief options, please ask.

On admission

1. What induction process have you and your provider discussed?

2. What pain relief options do you want for your labor?

At delivery

After giving birth, you may choose to hold your baby until he or she dies. If you are not sure that you want to do so, we can have a nurse, or a family member of your preference hold and rock your baby in our bereavement nursery. We understand how difficult it may be to hold your baby, and we are here to help you in any way possible.

We encourage all parents to see and hold their baby. This short time in the hospital is irreplaceable. It is your only time alone with your baby. Holding and bonding with your baby will help create cherished memories that are therapeutic in the grieving process. Some grieving parents in our support group have said they regret not taking advantage of this moment.

Please keep this in mind while you consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to immediately hold and see your baby?
  • Would you prefer to wait and have the nurse bathe and dress your baby before you see him or her?
  • Do you want to bathe and dress your baby with assistance from your nurse or family?
  • Do you want a family member to purchase a special outfit and blanket for your baby? If not, we have beautiful gowns and blankets that are made and donated by local church groups.
  • Do you want to take special pictures of your baby? You will be asked if you would like pictures to be taken of your baby and mementos gathered (such as footprints, bracelets, clothes appearing in the pictures) for a memory box.
  • Do you want the baby to stay with you in your room? You may keep the baby with you as long as you want. If you would prefer, the baby can be kept in our bereavement nursery at any point.
  • Do you want your pastor or a hospital chaplain to bless and/or baptize your baby?
  • Do you want your family to see and hold your baby?

After delivery

  • Do you want to have a memorial service?
  • Do you want to have your baby buried or cremated? If so, which mortuary do you want to care for your baby? We have a list of mortuaries if you need it. (Some mortuaries will work with you if you need financial assistance.) The hospital offers cremation for babies born still. However, the hospital has no way of returning your baby’s ashes to you.
  • Do you want lab tests such as an autopsy or genetic studies performed? If so, discuss this with your provider.

If you have any questions, please ask any member of your healthcare team.