We extend to you our love and concern along with some practical help as your deal with your hurt and the rocky days ahead. On this page you will find information about:
With the death of your baby, you may experience a lot of loss, including your plans, hopes and feelings of self-confidence or control.
Support from whanau and friends is important and welcome in the hospital, and we encourage you to surround yourself with the people you need. Remember:
A post-mortem is a careful examination of your baby's body with the hope that this examination will lead to a better understanding of the cause of death. This is done gently in a quiet room.
As the baby's parents, in most cases, you will have the final say as to whether a post-mortem will be performed, and you must sign a form granting your permission before the post-mortem can begin (The exception is in the case of a Coroner's enquiry. This will be fully explained to you should the situation arise). There is no rush in making this decision.
The results of the post-mortem will be available to your hospital doctor within six to eight weeks usually, the final report may take up to 12 weeks to complete. An appointment will be offered to you to visit the obstetrician and/or paediatrician some weeks later to discuss the findings. You are welcome to your own copy of the report.
Auckland Hospital has its own baby mortuary 'The Rose Room' where babies are gently cared for. LabPLUS, situated on Level 3, also holds all placentas for up to seven days for parents who wish to take them home to bury.
An important part of a funeral involves the recognition of the life of a person who has died. And your baby did have a life, however short. A formal goodbye helps us to accept that someone we love has died.
There is no legal requirement to register your baby's birth within a set time, but after two years it can be complicated and requires that you notify the Central Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Lower Hutt, instead of your local Registrar. This could mean a delay in getting a birth certificate.
To register your baby contact the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.(external link) Your midwife or nurse will advise you of the steps that need to take place.
Being at home can make the reality of losing your baby hit hard. Take your time, and don't rush into settling into your usual routine. Give yourself time to grieve.
Your breasts may fill with milk even if your baby was born very early. This discomfort will last for a couple of days and then gradually reduce as milk production ceases. Look after yourself by:
You will have a vaginal discharge called lochia for approximately four weeks. However, each day the discharge will lessen and begin to appear brownish. If the discharge continues to be heavy, or if there are any clots or abdominal pain, fever or smelly discharge, contact your midwife or doctor.
Denial, shock, guilt, anger, feelings of failure and helplessness are all normal feelings. It is important to maintain your nutrition and sleep, and work towards acceptance. This happens when your feelings of devastation turn to sadness as your begin to recognise the loss and learn to live with it.
Time can be a great healer. In time, you will notice the intensity of your feelings fading as you adjust to your loss. Most parents slowly come to feel that it is right for them to try to enjoy life again.
You are likely to be changed in some way by this experience. It is important to recognise that you can remember, love and miss your baby without grieving continuously. You can go ahead in life without forgetting your past. It is important to remember:
It is a good idea to have a post-natal check around six weeks after birth. You can do this through your GP. You will also be given an appointment at Auckland Hospital to see an obstetrician about that time or when all the results about your baby are available.
If you need support or advice, get in touch with a bereavement service or talk to your midwife or doctor. Support services include: