5 April 2016

Rumer's Story, part 14

Getting organised!

Tuesday 23rd to Wednesday 24th June 2015
25 weeks pregnant

So we arrived back from Berlin with motivation and a better sense of how to move forward: making a stillbirth plan had clarified some of the things we needed to get on with. Our 'to do' list went:
  1. Practical arrangements for a home stillbirth
  2. Buy clothes and things for the baby
  3. Contact photography charities regarding photographs of the baby
  4. Discuss what family would want in the event of a stillbirth
  5. Explore the practicalities and legalities of home burial
  6. Look for a doula
  7. Prepare a birth bag

This involved quite a lot of things!

Home stillbirth

We'd decided that if Rumer died before labour, we wanted to have the birth at home, as would have been our plan under normal circumstances. This was an unusual choice, and one that, in the end, we would decide didn't matter enough to us to argue strongly for it. However, we'd explored the option already with the hospital team, and at this point, we were under the impression they were in favour.

We wanted to arrange a birth pool but knew that, due to our wide range of possible birth dates, this would be difficult. Hired pools are generally available for the normal birth period, since premature babies are usually born in the hospital. We could have bought one, but they're not amazingly cheap and we didn't particularly want a birth pool hanging around if we ended up in hospital anyway.

We'd discussed the practicalities of keeping a body cold at home, and the bereavement midwife had suggested a Moses basket with ice packs. We'd had no particular plans to buy a Moses basket before that, but we knew we needed to look into baskets. My mother had offered us my old one, and for this purpose we thought it might be nice. We needed to consider ice packs (we had a bunch of Lakeland vouchers, so hoped they'd sell them).

We also wanted to get a TENS machine for labour.

Buying baby stuff

We had no intention of buying very much for the baby, as we didn't want lots of baby things hanging round at home when we most likely wouldn't have a live baby (or not for long), but we did like the idea of having some suitably-sized clothing for her in case she was born now. We planned to buy new clothes each time the scan suggested she'd gone up a size. I'd also wanted to buy her a rainbow blanket from early on in pregnancy, and had had one I'd had my eye on, on Etsy, so we planned to buy her that.

A tiny premature-size babygrow and two vests alongside a hairbrush for size comparison, on a couple of chests of drawers.
Rumer's first, tiny, clothes!
We hoped she'd never wear them

Photography charities

I'd heard of the work of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep in the US, a charity that provides free professional photography of babies that have died. They had a limited number of photographers in the UK. There is also a UK charity, Remember My Baby, which did the same. We wanted to contact some photographers and see what we could arrange.


We simply wanted to find out whether family would want to see Rumer if she was stillborn and what their preferences would be so we could include them in our stillbirth plan. We weren't sure at this stage what our wishes were be in this regard, but we wanted the relevant people's preferences to inform our choice.

Home burial

We wanted to find out the legal requirements for burial in the garden. We also knew that we needed to find an undertaker, look into coffins, look into what we would do if we moved house. In addition, we needed to prepare our garden for a burial as it was a mess. So calling landscapers was added into the jobs.

Our garden in its current messy state: cracked concrete, dying grass, weeds in the flower beds, a flower-bed stub with a scaffolding-pole 'cross' structure blocking easy access to the back of the garden.
Messy garden!


We'd decided that we'd like a doula at the birth, regardless of whether it was a stillbirth or a live birth, as we thought we'd need support, and research shows that you're more likely to avoid high-end pain relief (which was my plan) with a doula present at your labour. Finding one, however, again because we had a much wider possible birth period than normal, might prove difficult. We decided to speak to the yoga teacher, Nelly Lister, as we knew she used to work as a doula and might have some contacts.

Birth Bag

Again, with the imminent threat of a possible stillbirth, we knew we needed to pack a birth bag.

So there we were, back home and ready to go...

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