Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Creating memories when you don't know if your baby will come home from the hospital

*I modified the below entry & GAVE it to a local hospital to hand out to parents who have lost a little one while in the hospital*

Before the hospital we:
* started a baby book
* started writing in a journal
* gathered some ultrasound pictures
* had Owen's brother choose a stuffed animal that he would give to Owen in the hospital (I bought 2... one for big bro to 'give' to Owen & the other for inside Owen's casket). we also secretly got a different stuffed animal that we packed in our suitcase & gave this other animal to Owen's brother - from Owen - in the hospital.
* purchased two (identical) super soft blankets. one for owen in the hospital and one for in his casket.
* put together call lists & scripts for family members to make calls for us
* purchased grave spaces (so we will all be together)
* I put together a CD of music (this is what we played at Owen's funeral)
* maternity photos (hired a photographer through nilmdts)
* videotaped some ultrasounds. these are priceless to me - I love seeing Owen dancing around while in utero.
* received an approx quote on our custom birth announcements (we only had to send Owen's footprints in & modify some wording, but changed very little - see it HERE. This is the lady that did THEM. We slipped in a small paper we made ourselves that invited people to Owen's funeral service)
* printed out address labels for the birth announcements

We took a big bag to the hospital & gathered:
* pictures (nilmdts & personal)
* video
* we brought an extra large ink pad & paper to get lots of foot prints and hand prints
* small seal-top bag for hair clippings
* small seal-top bag for nail clippings (+ put a nail clipper inside the bag)
* Precious Impressions (to make one foot and one hand mold)
(+measuring cups, spatula, disposable container for mixing)
* the newspaper from the day Owen was born
* Owen's comb, aspirator, information/isolette card
* hospital ID bracelets
* hats, blankets and clothes for Owen. these were all brought from home, not ones typically provided by the hospital. clothes were all 'premie' sized. (we also brought a couple baby toys and a picture of our family - for Owen's NICU room)
* umbilical cord clip

I ended up with a c-section & my husband also kept the disposable 'cover-all' clothes.

We also brought an extra copy of our birth plan to the hospital, which really came in handy (there was a small mix-up).

A very sweet nurse made a bracelet for owen. It turned out to be a great thing that we named him owen - a longer name might not have fit on the bracelet!

After the hospital, we kept the newspaper from Owen's death notice and his obituary. We also kept all cards (even the ones from flowers that were sent). We have several things from the funeral home (guest book, folders, clothes, etc).

I wanted to minimize any later regrets, so in the hospital I wanted either my husband or I to:
* caress his soft skin (I really had forgotten how soft a baby's skin and hair are!)
* rock owen
* kiss owen
* tell owen how much we love him
* sing to owen ('wheels on the bus' or 'twinkle, twinkle' anyone?)
* bathe owen (later smelling the soap really reminds me of him)
* put lotion on owen (later smelling the lotion really reminds me of him)
* diaper and dress owen
* carefully study all of his adorable baby parts
* comb owen's hair
* hold owen all night
* walk outside and feel the sun or rain or wind or warmth or cold
* read a book to owen (yes, I packed Green Eggs And Ham in our suitcase!)
* had owen been alive for longer, I would have really liked to try to nurse him
* if I'd had a girl, I would have also brought fingernail polish to the hospital & painted all ten toes!

Recently, I bought a necklace for both my husband and I from THIS local woman. They just arrived yesterday & are really great keepsakes!

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