Our first daughter Kenna was stillborn on August 29, 2007, after 30 weeks of pregnancy. Her death was very sudden and unexpected after an otherwise normal pregnancy. It was eventually determined that she had a malformed umbilical cord that may have contributed to her death, but her exact cause of death is unknown. She will always be our first daughter and our love for her shaped much of what our family became in the time that followed.
Kenna's Goodbye Video
Kenna's Birthday Video
I began blogging about a year after Kenna's death and I have several posts about our experiences as parents to Kenna. If you are on this journey of stillbirth, you may find some ideas for remembering and including your child in your family as the years go by. I have written posts about difficult days, family projects, and memory making. I try to label every post that references Kenna, so it might take you awhile to get through them!
The outfit we brought to the hospital for Kenna had purple butterflies on the bottom of the feet and whenever I see a purple butterfly I always think of Kenna. I love to find ways to include purple butterflies in decorations, particularly for the garden! I've heard many other parents of stillborn babies have their own symbols as well or even a specific color. I love hearing about these little signs from our babies, so please leave me a note and share how you remember your little one!
If you discovered this site in the window between discovering your child has died and delivery, I want to encourage you to do three things.
1. Take photographs and if possible, have a professional photographer come to the hospital for your delivery. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep offers free bereavement photography to families in this situation. If a professional photographer is not available, ask for help from a friend to document everything. Some of the pictures might be hard to look at depending on when your child passed, but you will not regret having them.
2. Hold your baby and invite others to hold your baby. Having people who know not just that you had a baby, but know your baby will help you in the months to come. Others may not be able to love your baby in the same way that you do, but they can share in the memories and they will understand your grief better for having come alongside you. This includes siblings and other children, even if they are too young to understand.
3. Have a funeral or memorial service of some sort. You don't have to use a church if that is not your belief system (you will notice we had a non-officiated memorial service in a city park). Do something and invite others to celebrate with you. Even if some time has passed (we waited almost an entire month), you can still have a service.
If your loss is new or happened years ago, I would love to know your baby. Feel free to share your story in the comments to this post. I will keep your family in my prayers.