Saying goodbye at Memorial Hospital (South Bend, IN): what to expect when baby is born still

Here is some information about experiencing a stillbirth at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. This information came from my personal correspondence with hospital representatives and was last updated May 2021.

Photo Courtesy of Memorial Hospital

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Standard Procedures:

At Memorial Hospital, the staff will refer to a baby who has passed away by their name and carry out the newborn procedures of weights and measurements , just as though the baby were alive. The parents can help wash and measure the baby if they would like to do so.

The hospital employs a social worker whose job it is to help family navigate funeral and cemetery information and find grief support.

If the mother wants to donate breastmilk or pump for relief, the hospital ensures that she has a hospital grade pump. The hospital employs Lactation Consultants who have resources for loss moms who want to stop lactating or donate.

If baby is expected not to survive birth, visitor restrictions are eased (even in the time of covid-19).

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Timing:

The main point the representative stressed was that parents can spend as much time with their child as they would like. The hospital has CuddleCots, which are small cooled bassinets meant to help preserve the baby’s body longer so that family can spend more time with the body.

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Mementos:

The nurses take footprints and 3D plaster of Paris moulds for the parents. Also, the hospital is part of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a national program that offers free professional photography to bereaved families. The staff wraps up a memory box for the parents to take home including ID bands, hats, blankets, and grief support information.

There is a service of remembrance each year (the first Sunday in May) hosted by the hospital in honor of all children and infants who have died. Family are invited to provide pictures and mementos of their child, and to share stories about their loved ones or to write stories to be read by a hospital representatives.

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For more information about experiencing a stillbirth at Memorial Hospital, contact the Bereavement Committee at Beacon Health System.

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