The grief of losing Daniel is something that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. However, we are developing ways to cope with his passing. What we have done may not work for everyone but I want to share our ideas in hopes they will help someone else.
One of the most comforting ways we deal with our grief is through pictures of him. At the hospital was took hundreds of photos of Daniel. Having these photos allows us to reflect on his birth and remember the time we spent with him at the hospital. We had one of the nurses in the delivery room taking photos of our delivery and that gives us a way to look back at our son while he was alive. We also had a non-profit company (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep) take maternity photos several weeks before our delivery and family moments after birth. There information can be found below and on our Resources Page. We also had other family members take photos of Daniel so we would have as many photos as possible to look back on. We cherish our photos of our son.
At the hospital my husband and one of the nurses made dozens of Daniel's hand and footprints on several sheets of paper. This allowed us to make frames and ornaments for us and family of his prints. We used the hospital ink pads and several sheets of cardstock and scrapbooking paper for his hand and footprints. This also allowed my husband to make a memory with our son after his passing while I was still limited with movement.
Make a Plan and Take Time:
We met with our doctor and one of our delivery nurses a day prior to our delivery to go over our birth plan. I typed a basic birth plan that included our wishes of how we wanted the staff to organize things. We requested that our son be given directly to us after his birth so we could hold him for whatever time God granted us. Our plan also described how we wished to keep our son with us from the time he was born until we left the hospital. Having a plan in writing and reviewing it with the staff helped make sure our wishes were met. Also, by giving ourselves time to spend with Daniel after birth, we were able to make memories that have helped us through the grieving process. We were able to hold him, let family hold him, sing to him, read to him, and kiss him for the days we were there before being discharged. My husband was able to watch a football game while holding his son and we were able to celebrate Sunday mass via television holding him. We have some peace in knowing that we were able to make some memories with our son after his passing by spending those three short days with him before leaving the hospital to bury him.
We have found the most helpful way for us to cope with our grief is to do things that memorialize Daniel. We purchased memory ornaments for our delivering hospital to give to families who suffer a stillbirth or neonatal death. With the ornament we attached a card to let them know they are receiving the gift in memory of our son. Our hope is for other parents to feel comfort in knowing they are not alone in losing a child. We have also decided to keep Daniel's memory alive by sharing his story and beginning an annual scholarship in his name. The more we say his name and share his story, the more we feel him here and are able to cope with his passing. Not all parents want to share their story, but I think it's an important part of the healing process to do something personal to keep your child's memory alive. Even if it's something private such as saying their name each morning or praying to them at night. Every parent should do what helps them heal, we are all different in handling our grief.
• Take as many as possible, you can always delete extras
• Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
• Try to get photos taken during your delivery
• Make sure to capture all the details of your baby
• Make several so you make as many as you want
• Ask a nurse or your partner to do them if you don't feel up to it
• Make sets of your baby's hands and feet (you'll want both the left and right to look at later on)
• Have a plan in writing and give it to the staff ahead of delivery if possible
• Be specific with what you expect (this is your baby and your wishes)
• Make sure you and your partner agree with the plan
• The time at the hospital will be all you get in this life so take it
• Use your time to make memories that are important to you
• Hold and kiss your baby as much as you can
• Keep the room cool to help your baby stay cool