We are so sorry. . . .
You have just received the terrible news that your pregnancy is ending. The dream of bringing this baby home to join your family will not become a reality. No matter how far along you were in your pregnancy, we understand that this is a hard time for you. You may be overwhelmed with feelings, or feel numb and in shock.
We hope this booklet will help you understand what is happening, what your options are and where you can find more support.
In this booklet
Although this is a difficult time, there are important decisions that you must make while you are in the hospital. We urge you to talk to your care provider so that you understand your options.
You may have the option to wait until your body labors on its own. This gives you time to prepare emotionally and decide how you will tell family and friends. Some people use this time to plan rituals and mementos.
Even in early pregnancy, labor brings some pain and bleeding. Your provider will tell you what to do during and after labor.
If your baby died in early to mid-pregnancy, you may have surgery to remove the fetus. Usually, you can schedule outpatient surgery within a few days. You will have anesthesia for the surgery and receive pain medicine afterward. It is important to know, however, that the fetus will not be whole after the surgery. So, you may not be able to see or hold the remains. You may still ask for rituals and mementos.
If you are in mid- to late pregnancy, your provider may have you come to the hospital for a special procedure to start labor. You will stay in the hospital until after delivery. If your body is not ready to give birth, the process can take many hours. After delivery, many parents find it helpful to spend time with the baby and gather mementos.
The choice to see your baby, or to have photos taken, is a personal one. It may depend on how far along you were in your pregnancy. Few parents feel ready to make this decision, so our staff is here to help.
We honor the cultures and faiths of all our patients. You may perform any rituals you like during your hospital stay, either in your room or in the hospital chapel. We urge you to discuss your ideas with our chaplain or your own family clergy.
Your care provider may ask the hospital to do a surgical exam, autopsy or tests. This may help determine why your baby died. We will talk to you about the tests, and may ask you to fill out a consent form for certain tests. If you have had repeated pregnancy loss or have chromosome problems, your care provider may request genetic testing.
Our hearts go out to you at this difficult time. It may be hard to make important decisions. We want to make sure you know all of your options.
In Minnesota, any remains from a pregnancy loss or newborn death must receive a proper burial or cremation.
You may choose individual burial or cremation, no matter how early or how far along you were in your pregnancy.
Most people choose a funeral home to help make individual arrangements. Costs vary, and in some cases services are free.
Let us know if you would like help finding a funeral home. Or you may want to ask your faith or community leader for help. You will need to compare services to decide what is right for you.
If you choose burial, your funeral home may provide a small casket, or we can help you find one.
If you choose cremation, the remains (called cremains) are returned to you. There is only a tiny amount. Many families buy a jewelry or gift box to hold the cremains. You may also request a container from Fairview.
If you were less than 20 weeks pregnant and your baby died before or during birth, Fairview will include your baby in our group memorial and burial service unless you make individual private arrangements.
The burial takes place every three months in the baby section of a local cemetery. You are receiving the details on a card enclosed with this booklet. While you cannot mark the gravesite with your baby's name, you may visit and lay flowers or mementos.
Some families have their baby's remains tested to try to find the cause of death. In some cases, there are no remains left for burial after this exam.
Your county may offer financial assistance to help pay funeral costs. If you'd like more information about this, let us know. Our social workers or your funeral director can help you.
If your baby was born alive, the hospital will send birth information to the State of Minnesota. You must arrange for individual burial or cremation. Death information is reported to the State of Minnesota by the licensed funeral home. You may claim your baby as a dependent on your tax form in that year. For a small fee, you may order legal copies of the birth and death certificates. Contact:
Minnesota Department of Health
Office of the State Registrar
phone: 651-201-5970, fax: 651-201-5740
If you were pregnant for 16 weeks or longer and your baby died before birth, the hospital will send a Report of Fetal Death to the State of Minnesota.
If you request it, the hospital will make a special record of birth for you to keep as a memento. Or, for a small fee, you may order a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth from the State Registrar (see address on page 7.) You may not claim your baby on your tax return.
If you were pregnant for less than 16 weeks and your baby was not born alive, the State of Minnesota does not require a Report of Fetal Death. However, you may still ask that a Report of Fetal Death be filed, and you may order a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth from the State Registrar (see address on page 7.) If you request it, the hospital will make a special record of birth for you to keep as a memento.
Unless the father is listed on the hospital birth and death forms, only the mother can get a copy of a birth or death certificate.
Be assured that there is no right way to find comfort and support. It may take you several tries to find out what works best for you.
Several agencies in the Twin Cities and around the state offer facilitated support groups for families who are grieving the loss of their baby. They provide a chance to learn and to share personal stories. Some families find it helpful to join a group right away after a loss. Others find it more helpful to wait a few months. We encourage you to do whatever is right for you.
There are also groups for the following:
Grandparents, extended family and friends
Pregnancy after a loss
Sudden and unexpected infant death
Death of a child of any age
Support for depression or anxiety after a pregnancy or birth
For current information about support groups and resources in the Twin Cities and outstate Minnesota, call 612-672-7452.
A Place to Remember
1885 University Ave., Suite 110
St. Paul, MN 55104
651-645-7045 or 800-631-0973
Bereavement Services, RTS
1910 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601
608-791-4747 or 800-362-9567, ext. 4747
P.O. Box 4600
Omaha, NE 68104
402-553-1200 or 866-218-0101
2116 NE 18th Avenue
Portland, OR 97212
A Heartbreaking Choice
Support after a tragic prenatal diagnosis or pregnancy termination for medical reasons
Retreat center and programming for parents and families coping with serious illness or the death of a child. Financial assistance is available to Fairview patients.
Minnesota Sudden Infant Death Center
Information, counseling, and support for sudden and unexpected infant death from any cause
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota
Helpline, resource lists and community information for mothers, fathers and families during and after a pregnancy, including resources and referrals for pregnancy and infant loss and pregnancy after a loss.
Pregnancy Loss and Infant Dealth Alliance (PLIDA)
Union of professional groups, institutions, and individuals who offer care and support to families who experience a pregnancy or infant loss
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
Support groups and resources for women and men living with infertility
High-risk pregnancy support
Su Familia Multicultural Counseling
Culture-based counseling services in English, Spanish and Hmong
Subsequent Pregnancy After a Loss Support (SPALS)
Email support group for pregnancy after a loss
The Compassionate Friends
Support groups and resources for families after the death of a child of any age
The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination (INCIID)
Information and forums about infertility, pregnancy loss and adoption
Our staff is specially trained to understand the needs of parents who have suffered a pregnancy loss. Please don't hesitate to ask for support or information from our nurses, social workers, chaplains or psychologists.
After you leave the hospital, if you need help finding support resources, please call 612 672-7452.
For informational purposes only. Not to replace the advice of your health care provider. Copyright © 2014 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved. SMARTworks 521880en REV 06/16.