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At the time of loss...

I'm sorry, there is no heartbeat...

Yes, it is as impossible as it sounds. We are so, so sorry. Whether you are experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of your baby after birth, we are here for you. Take a few minutes to just breathe. Chances are you feel like you are in shock. Or that you are numb. Or that you want to cry but physically can’t. Take a few moments to sit and breathe.


What’s next? The next few hours may feel really scary…like it is spinning but time is standing still. Your body is now in fight or flight mode as you are processing the news that your baby has or will pass away. Some have said it feels like an “out of body” experience. Other say, they couldn’t feel anything. This is normal.

Please remember…

  • Be kind to yourself and understand that grief can be overwhelming and confusing. Time can help that fog clear.

  • You are free to change your mind about meeting, bonding or making memories with your baby…most families decline when asked during the first few hours of their experience. If it is possible to meet your baby, we encourage you to do so. However, if the thought is overwhelming right now, that is ok too. We understand.

  • You can request a change in care providers if you do not feel your physician, nurse or support staff are supportive of your decisions or needs.

  • You and your partner may be reacting to the news differently or in unexpected ways. Be patient. You are both experiencing trauma and no one is equipped with the coping tools to manage or protect you and themselves from what is going on. Give everyone space to breathe.


Notify those who need to know

Right now, there is not much else you can do, especially if your experience is being impacted by a medical crisis. We suggest notifying:

  • Your immediate support system (spouse/partner, childcare providers, immediate family/friends)

  • Your employer (notify HR directly who will then notify your supervisors)

  • A trusted friend to support you through the next few hours…even if they are far away you can still video chat or text but having someone present/bedside can be more beneficial.


Discuss your options with your birth team

Depending on your personal medical circumstances, there could be a variety of reasons a care provider may recommend one birth option over another. Birth options that might b e considerable include D&C/D&E, natural labor or caesarean, though that is only usually used in emergencies. We encourage you to ask your care team the risks of each as it relates to your specific needs. Click here to download a free birth planning worksheet to help you through the process.


What you do not need to worry about

You may be overwhelmed with the barrage of questions from the care team and your own family and friends. Please know, all you have to focus on right now is birthing and meeting your precious baby. If a medical professional is pressuring you into talking about autopsy considerations, burial/cremation options or even pressuring you to make a decision that aren’t necessary until after your baby is born, tell them you would like to wait to discuss those options and would like to focus on birthing your baby.

Understanding pregnancy and infant loss...

The loss of a pregnancy/baby is one of the most horrific and traumatic life experiences a human can go through. Unfortunately, one in every four families face similar circumstances and are left to navigate a new normal in life while mourning the loss of a much-wanted baby. It is believed that one in every four families experience loss in their family building journeys.


We are so sorry. You are not alone.

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss that affects the entire person. It includes physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and occupational elements. As you navigate your life after loss,  you will probably be feeling many things at once. Please know, first and foremost, that the loss of a baby is one of the most traumatic experiences a parent will go through, and the journey to healing is life long. Below are some normal grief reactions you and your family may experience:


  • Shock – How is this happening? This can’t be real.

  • Denial – This can’t be happening? I know they are wrong.

  • Guilt/Blame – How could I let this happen?

  • Anger – I am so mad this has happened!

  • Anxiety – How can I make sure this never happens again?

  • Loss of self-image – Am I still a mom/dad?

  • Confusion – How is this all really happening?

  • Sadness – My heart is broken because this is happening!

  • Isolation – I feel like the only person in the world this is happening to.


It is important to remember

  • You can experience one or more of these feelings at the same time, which can be confusing. This is normal.

  • You and your partner may be experiencing the same feelings but having different reactions. This is normal.

  • It may feel like you can’t think or remember what you are being told. It is as if your brain and heart are broken. This is normal.

  • You may be terrified to meet your baby but a part of you may still want to, even if no one else in your family wants to. This is normal.

  • You are a parent and you still can have an opportunity to parent your baby through memory making and bonding.

  • Your baby is beautiful and they matter! They deserve to be loved and honored. Even if there are physical blemishes, we promise you, they won’t be as harsh as you anticipate.


Questions for your care team

We are sure you have a million questions and most of the answers, you may be afraid of hearing. This is normal. Below are some things to consider as you are laboring:


  • Requesting a Cuddle Cot or Caring Cradle – Many hospitals have cooling beds that are designed for your baby so that they can comfortably be kept bedside immediately after birth all the way through discharge. This unit will allow you to rest, time for family to come visit and for memory making/photography.

  • Requesting clergy or spiritual support – Most hospitals have universal life ministers or clergy of all faiths on-call that can support death rituals/sacraments and other support. Let them know if you would potentially like their support, or, if you have a preferred person or house of worship to call, their contact information so they can be available when the time is right.

  • Request the support of a volunteer advocate – If available, a Three Little Birds Bereavement Doula can come bedside to support you through the process. Click here to request our services.

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