The days leading up to the final goodbye are hectic, confusing, loving, busy, complicated. In short, all comes at once. You may want to introduce people to your baby, but there are also a lot of things that need to be arranged, but you also want to rest from the birth and at the same time you don’t like to be alone in bed.
It is stipulated by law that there may be six working days between the death and the funeral. Here you can see what the latest day for the funeral is.

We have listed some things here that need to be arranged and that can give you some guidance. But the most important thing is: listen to your feelings. You can only fill in these days once to create reminders.

Create Memories

Since you don’t have any memories yet, you could use these days to make memories. You dreamed of a future with your baby and those dreams have been shattered in one fell swoop. But you can still try to fill in the things that are still possible.
You can find several options on the help card to create reminders.

If you still want to read to your baby, it is nice to capture this on video. Moving images with sound have even more impact than photographs. If you already have children, they will probably find these videos very valuable later when they are a little older.
Anja Dalhuisen of Vlinderkusje has written a book especially to read to your deceased child. It’s called Bye Sweetheart. Thanks to donations from other parents who have lost a baby, we can offer the book free of charge to parents who want to read to their child in the days between the death and the funeral. Send an email with the name of your baby, the date of birth/death and the address where we can send the booklet to info@steunpuntnova.nl.
If you want to read the book after saying goodbye to your child, you can order it via the website of Vlinderkusje.

Singing songs is also a beautiful thing to do. Of course, that can be any song, but there is also a song that fits perfectly with this situation of welcoming and saying goodbye. It’s called Hands Hold You and is sung in this clip by Vanessa Leon.

Hands hold you
You know what they say

Words sing to you
You know what they say

Welcome to our lives
We’ll give you love

Here in our house
Are you at home

My hands let you go
We don’t have to say anything

Words sing to you
It’s inexplicable

We’ll let you go now
On the way to a new life

In our hearts you stay at home
Your new home

To take home or not?

Because in addition to saying goodbye, you also want to welcome your baby, many parents choose to take their child home. This way you have plenty of time to get to know your child a bit. You can go there at any time of the day, you can read or sing aloud, you can easily show the people around you your baby and you can take care of your baby yourself (e.g. bathe, rub with baby oil or put on clothes).

When you decide to take your baby home, you can transport him or her in your own car. You can do this in your arms on your lap, in the maxi-cosi or in a carrycot. You can also choose to have the ride home taken care of by the funeral director.

“In the beginning we were very nervous about taking Amy home or holding it, but we did it and this has actually helped us further. After all, you ensure that the love for your child is central to the time that your baby is with you. Looking back on such a loving period makes the mourning a lot more bearable for us.” Tessa and Joost, parents of Amy* and Yannick

Baby Cooling

Of course, your baby needs to be cooled at home. This can be done with a special cooling mattress that the funeral director can install. You can put your baby in his bed, but the changing table, playpen or basket is also possible. If you don’t want to use a cooling mattress, you can also use cooling elements. You have to replace it every few hours. The funeral director will keep an eye on your baby for the next few days and take care of it when needed. Don’t be afraid to pick him or her up, hug him or her. However, it is important to regularly put your baby back on the refrigerator.

Water Method

A completely new way is the water method. Your baby comes out of the (amniotic) fluid and therefore remains the most natural in this situation. Especially for small children who die in the first and second trimester of pregnancy, this is a great way to have your baby with you until the funeral. Your child will get a nice light color in the water and look relaxed. You can read all about it on www.watermethode.nl.

Take a look at our photo booklet here . All parents have given permission for these photos to be posted. It is not allowed to distribute the photos of this album, other than after our explicit permission.

Embalming/thanatopraxia

Internal embalming:
Thanatopraxia is a way of temporarily preserving a body. This is done by introducing a liquid into the body that in the beginning completely stops the decomposition process so that your baby remains beautiful until the funeral. This process takes about two hours and is done by professional thanatopraxeurs. This can be done at home, unless an autopsy has taken place. Then the embalming takes place at an external location, e.g. in the mortuary.
After embalming, no refrigeration is required. All/most discolorations will disappear and the baby will not feel cold and stiff. Over the course of days, the liquid will lose its effect and the natural process will continue. Thanatopraxia is only possible in babies who have died outside the womb at the end of the pregnancy.
Read the blog about how Juliette said goodbye to her Félice and her positive experience with light embalming here.

External embalming:
Unfortunately, internal thanatopraxia is not possible in premature babies and in babies who have died in the womb and whose skin is damaged, but there is also another way and that is external embalming. The baby is then placed in a bath with preservative liquid for a few hours. This is done by certified embalmers at an external location. So they will take the baby with them for a while. After this, the baby no longer needs to be cooled, can be dressed and can therefore be held all day. If the baby has spots where the skin has peeled off or is damaged, those spots will become much darker due to the embalming. With the water method, the red spots of the peeled skin will turn completely light so that you can no longer see them, but the baby will be in the cold water instead of dressed in the crib or in your arms.
Read about the positive experiences of Hailey’s parents with external embalming on this website.

Arranging a funeral director

You can choose whether or not you ask a funeral director to guide you further. Many parents who choose a funeral director want specialized funeral care. The death of a newborn baby requires a different approach and there are different options and possibilities than with a deceased adult. In the Netherlands, there are specialized funeral organizations that focus specifically on deceased children and two organizations that focus specifically on welcoming and saying goodbye to babies who have died during pregnancy or around birth. Here you will find specialized funeral organizations.

Visit

Many parents say they want to keep everything small. That’s understandable because no one knows your child anymore and so it sounds contradictory to let people say goodbye to someone they don’t know. But you can introduce people to your baby. If people have seen your child and maybe even held it, it will be easier for you to talk about it later and they will understand your feelings better. It is important to inform the people around you who you do not want to visit about what happened. This will prevent you from receiving all kinds of well-intentioned messages asking how you and the baby are doing.

Photos

Because you don’t have any photos of your baby apart from ultrasound photos, it is important to capture as much as possible. You can do this yourself, the people around you can also help with this and there are Foundations that come and take professional photos free of charge.

Videos

Moving images have a different impact than photographs. We therefore advise you to make some videos in addition to photos. You could then make a memory film of that later.

Of course, you can do that yourself with your own camera or mobile phone, but you can also leave it to professionals. Look at the links under farewell film for the possibilities.

Prints

Create hand/foot/fingerprints with ink
In many hospitals, they make hand and foot prints with ink. If this has not already been done,
you can also make them yourself or ask the (specialized) funeral director or
maternity nurse helps with this.
Making hand/foot/prints with clay/bronze/3D
A 3D print is even more real. There are several companies that offer 3D printing
make. A mold is then made from alginate from your baby’s hand or foot. If the
your baby’s skin is very fragile, this is not recommended. You can have them drained in
different materials such as plaster or bronze.
Check out the specialists here.
You can also have a 3D scan made of your baby (only hands or feet are too small for this). A 3D print can later be made from that scan. The scan does not come into contact with the baby
So this is also suitable for babies with fragile skin. We work together with Gravida for this. Take a look at their page that they have created especially for this purpose.
View the price list here.

Maternity care

You have become the mother of a beautiful child, but you are also a
woman in childbirth. It is therefore important to get the right help during this period and to continue to take good care of yourself. You are and will remain a postpartum woman for the time being and you also have an interest in the standard check-ups, rest and regularity in the coming days. The maternity nurse can also play a role in the care of brothers and sisters. Explain the situation well to the maternity care organisation so that you get an experienced maternity nurse.

The maternity nurse can not only support you mentally in the coming days, but can also take care of your baby if you decide to take him or her home. She can tell you what your baby looks like after a night, help you change or bathe and take care of the maternity visit.

In addition to standard check-ups, she can also give advice on the engorgement that can occur and she will keep a maternity book. Maternity care organizations often have a separate maternity book, which does not include the standard check-ups of the baby so that you are not confronted with these blank pages if you want to read the report of the maternity days again at a later time.

When your baby is stillborn, you automatically get a few fewer hours than
parents with a live baby. The reason for this is that the baby needs less care and you do not need to be guided in breastfeeding and caring for your baby.

“My maternity nurse kept a diary with short observations of the days that Stef was with us, from her perspective. This diary is still very valuable to read back.”Geke, mother of Eva, Stef* and Wout

Basket/box

In the days leading up to the funeral, your baby may lie in his bed, but for the funeral or cremation you will have to choose a basket, casket or shroud. There are many organizations that make baby baskets and boxes, but you can also make something yourself or buy something yourself. Any shell is good as long as the contours of the body are not visible. So you can also wrap your baby in a cloth.

Birth and funeral announcement

Many parents prefer a birth announcement card to a funeral card. Maybe you had even picked out a nice birth announcement card. Then you can customize it a bit into a birth and mourning announcement. You would like to announce the birth of your child, but unfortunately you cannot avoid mentioning that your child is no longer alive. If you hadn’t picked out a birth announcement card yet, the funeral director has many examples you could choose from.

If you are holding a farewell service and want to mention this on the ticket, then some haste is required. In this case, we advise you to use a so-called ‘mourning envelope’. This way, the cards will be with friends and family even faster. But what you can also do is invite people digitally (via e-mail or Whatsapp) to the farewell service and afterwards, when there is no more time pressure, think about the ticket.
After the farewell service, it is also nice to be able to work with your child again. The card also brings new attention and it is nice to receive a lot of cards (or messages) after saying goodbye.

You can also think about sending a thank you card.

Burial or cremation?

One of the first choices parents have to make is between burial or cremation. Read more about what it means and what the difference is here. Perhaps this explanation will help you make your choice.

Funeral details

You will also use these days to fill in the day of the funeral. Who’s going to speak, what music are you going to play? On the help card you will find more things to think about when planning the funeral. Read more about the funeral here .

Declaration

You must register the birth and death within three working days of the birth. You can do that yourself, but you don’t have to. You can have someone from the family or friends do it or your funeral director. Read more here.

Funeral insurance

With most funeral insurers, unborn children are co-insured free of charge on the policy of the expectant parents after a certain week of pregnancy. This can be either the mother’s or the father’s policy. If your baby was stillborn or died shortly after birth, you can report the death to the insurance company. They will then tell you what the insured amount is. Your funeral director can also call about this. If your baby was born alive and did not die immediately, it is important to add your baby to your policy immediately. Your baby is automatically co-insured for a while, but with some insurers this period expires after 30 days.
We list the policies of a number of major insurers:

Ardanta will reimburse the full insured amount.

Dela reimburses all costs as they are also covered by the service insurance up to a maximum amount of €2,953 (2022), regardless of the gestational age.
If you choose to have the funeral arranged by Dela yourself, the service package will be reimbursed.

Monuta reimburses from a pregnancy of 20 weeks. The payment depends on the type of policy and when it was taken out. In the case of a service package, this package expires but a percentage of package value will be paid out instead. In the case of money insurance, a percentage of the amount of money will be paid out.
For a pregnancy up to 20 weeks, there is a standard reimbursement consisting of casket, laying out and use of Monuta funeral home.

Yarden has been taken over by Dela.