Holding Ethan our Stillborn
Pregnancy Loss Stillbirth

Pregnancy, Infant Loss, and Stillbirth

If you’re here because you’ve experienced loss or that you just found out you’re miscarrying or having a stillborn, You are not alone.

I wanted to share what it was like for us to go through pregnancy loss and things that helped us.

**Feel free to jump to the bottom of the post for the TLDR version.
***This post contains affiliate links, I make a small commission on any purchases made through those links.

I posted about Ethan’s Birth Story and it was like to birth a stillborn.

On Tuesday April 7, 2020 our world flipped upside down. We found out our dear Ethan Theodore no longer had a heartbeat. We were extremely heartbroken.

Since I was originally planning on having Ethan at a birthing center I hadn’t seen an OB. My midwife said I could get an induction or let my body go into labor on its own. I decided to sleep on it.

We could barely sleep that night. Before we went to bed I felt in my heart that I wanted to be induced. I wanted to be able to see Ethan in his most perfect state, and knew every day after his death, he would start to deteriorate in my body.

I knew we had friends who wanted to serve us. I don’t like asking for help, but I felt with the mental/emotional state we were going to need it. We needed someone who wasn’t going to be emotional on the phone.

Though they were making the calls we still had to make every decision.

My midwife asked if there was anything she could do, and I asked if she could find an OB or hospital who would allow a bereavement doula (since this was in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic).

Our friend Kelsey was put in charge to find a mortuary and a plot to bury Ethan. She coordinated with our church women’s group (Relief Society) to get meals and babysitting set up.

We needed a mortuary who would allow us to bring Ethan home for several hours. We knew family/friends and especially Kason would want to meet Ethan, since visitors weren’t allowed in the hospital.

Another friend, Andrea, reached out to Share Parents to get hand/foot molds of Ethan. She also got a little suit gown from Heaven Bound Gowns who graciously donated a gown for Ethan. She & Kelsey set up a GoFundMe page (without us knowing) to help cover the funeral costs.

Chase’s parents were in charge of finding a headstone for Ethan. They picked some of their favorites and we decided which one we liked.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss - Ethan Theodore Palmer Headstone Orem Cemetery

Our friend, Camille, told us how to go about bringing Ethan home. My fear was that Chase and I would be the only ones to ever meet Ethan. So I’m glad we made that decision (especially during coronavirus).

If you want to bring your baby home here’s how:

  • Utah law states that you must have a permit to transport a deceased body. But it may be different where you live.
  • You can either work on getting a permit, or ask (sometimes needing to push a little) the mortuary to arrange bringing home your baby.
  • In every state in the United States it is legal to bring a deceased person home for visitation.
  • There are other states where you can bury your baby at home. You may need to do a bit of research.

From what Kelsey said, once she asked a few times stating that we really wanted to bring him home, the mortuary seemed to be okay with making that happen.

While we have felt lonely at times, we both feel that God has put people in our lives to help and guide us.

My midwife found a hospital (and doctor) who made an exception to let us have a bereavement doula. They also put me in a room far away from other laboring moms. We were also discharged within 14 hours of being admitted.

Our doula (that I was going to have at the birthing center) also offered photography services. But Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep offers free photography services at the hospital.

I recommend getting a bereavement doula. You can read more about bereavement doulas HERE. It was nice having someone who had been through the exact same thing to help and guide us in each step of labor, delivery and after. As well as offering labor support.

Once discharged from the hospital we rested and recovered and grieved until we got to bring Ethan home the following Monday. The mortuary picked Ethan up from the hospital Friday and had him embalmed before Monday.

Friday evening I spoke to Julie from Share Parents of Utah. She told me that we didn’t need to bury Ethan right away. She told me she had talked to a mom who held her stillborn baby at the funeral service. The mom said “Why not? He’s still my baby.”

I had already been searching for things to help suppress breast milk production before having Ethan. At 3pm Sunday morning (24 hours after giving birth) my milk came in and I was engorged and was in serious pain. I got my pump out and pumped for a few minutes.

Here are things to help dry up your milk:

  • Benadryl every 4-6 hours (and if I woke up in the middle of the night)
  • Ice packs (or frozen peas)
  • No More Milk Tea from Earth Mama Organics
  • Wearing a comfortable bra (do NOT bind your breasts!)
  • Sunflower Lecithin to prevent clogged ducts (and potential mastitis)
  • Acetaminophen when needed
  • Homeopathic called BYRONIA ALBA, 9C to help with engorgement
  • Praying – it may seem silly to pray to have your milk dry up, but I think it helped
  • This site was really good in giving advice to help dry up my milk

All these things helped us during the first couple of weeks. Now you can choose to take what I did, or leave it. Either way, you be your own advocate on what you want. This is your life, and you get to choose how to live it. You just need to play the cards that you’ve been dealt.

Here’s the TLDR version:

  • Ask your doctor if you can sleep on it. It helped us make necessary arrangements so Ethan wasn’t just sitting in the hospital morgue, and allowed us to process our emotions before going into Labor and Delivery.
  • Find a bereavement doula – seriously. I can’t imagine going through labor and after (with my milk coming in) without support from someone who has been through it too.
  • Bring your baby home – I know this might not be for everyone (I suggest it even if you’re cremating), but knowing we were able to bring our deceased baby home meant so much. Even if it was only for one day, we still were able to say “we got to bring Ethan home.”
  • Take ALL THE PICTURES. If you don’t take tons of pictures you may regret it later. Countless people told me they regretted not taking enough pictures. Now I lay me down to sleep will come to the hospital and take photos for free.
  • Find a support group through Share Parents, on Facebook/Instagram, or through Moms in the Making. There are SO many mamas who have experienced loss who are within arms reach to give a listening ear.
  • Get with a counselor/therapist who specializes in pregnancy loss/grief.
  • Designate a friend or family member to help make calls and make arrangements.
  • Get everything you need to dry up your milk (unless you wish to donate it on behave of your baby).
  • If burying your sweet baby, here’s a site that offers angel gowns called Emilia’s Wings.

Please reach out to me if you need any help or support. I check my email daily and it would not be an inconvenience.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Etsy Shop.

1 in 100 dandelion shirt recurrent miscarriage

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