Chapter 1: Experiencing loss

If you were further along in your pregnancy

When I held her, she looked just like she was sleeping. She was so perfect. It didn’t look like there was anything wrong with her; but she wouldn’t wake up.

I opted not to hold my baby in the delivery room. I needed more medication, and I was too shaky and tired to hold her.

Often, the further along you are into your pregnancy, the more confidence you have about delivering a healthy, full-term baby. This can be the case even with a high-risk pregnancy. It is likely that you continued to visualize and plan for a future that included your baby. As your pregnancy became noticeable, family and friends may also have joined in the excitement. You may have already decorated a nursery, had baby showers, and planned your baby's first outfits. It may not have occurred to you that anything would go wrong.

When something does go wrong, it is often traumatic for parents. Whether you learned that your baby died when receiving results from an ultrasound or because something happened during or after birth, it is not uncommon to experience deep sorrow. Other emotions or experiences people have described also include:

  • Feeling shocked and even numb.
  • Remembering every detail or only a few details.
  • Having difficulty remembering anything that happened.

Sometimes the physical experience of delivering your baby can complicate these feelings. It can be a very overwhelming time, and a time full of difficult decisions related to an autopsy, funeral arrangements, and memorial rituals or ceremonies.