Sunday, June 17, 2007

Burying Miscarried Babies

I promised myself that this blog would share all the things I couldn't find information about online, even though sometimes it's really hard. This is one of those times. I really want to be open about what I can so that others will have a path to follow.

The night I passed the babies, we wrapped the placentas and all in some pretty fabric out of my sewing basket, then placed them in ziplock bags in the freezer. We knew there was no way I would be able to travel for some time after my hemorrhage, so this is the only thing we could think of to do. In retrospect, I would place the fabric-wrapped bundles in a small bag, wrap them in more fabric, and put in another bag.

For the burial, we placed them just like that in a lovely soft blanket inside a waterproof safe about 12" by 12" by 5" that I bought at Wal-mart. I did that so that if the land were ever sold and we needed to move the site, the box could easily be moved.

In case it were found many years later by our descendents, or by anyone else, Hal wrote a letter to place inside it, telling the circumstances and who we were and pointing the reader to the Lord.

Our relatives questioned what were the legalities of the situation. Here's the deal: in most states, a miscarriage before 20 weeks does not receieve a birth certificate or a stillborn or death certificate, so is not considered human remains (I know - what do they think they are??). The good thing is, this means you do not have to go through a funeral home or bury your miscarried child in a cemetary, but are free to bury them on your own property.

After 20 weeks (or a week or so either way, depending on the state) then health regulations come into play. I understand though, that some funeral homes may donate their services in such cases.

Regardless of the circumstances, I encourage you to memorialize your little ones in some way. If you had a natural miscarriage at home, then find a special place to bury them. If you had a D&C and the hospital wouldn't release the remains, or you didn't even know to ask, do remember that our Father in heaven knows exactly where every atom belonging to every person is and will bring forth His people with new bodies that are not subject to corruption! If you don't have anything to bury, you can still plant a tree, or a flowering shrub or a little garden to remember them by. Create something beautiful as a reflection of your faith in the resurrection to come when we will meet our loved ones in the air!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

God bless you for sharing. Some of my family, who never calls or cares about anything else in our lives, thought we were so strange to save the remains of our son for burial that they had the nerve to imply that we were having real psychiatric problems handling the miscarriage and need professional help and that it was "just wrong" to keep our child for burial. All, simply because I couldn't let them dump the child I had lost at home in the bathroom into a biohazard bag and incinerate it with all kinds of medical waste. I am glad to know there are others who feel called to bury (or do a memorial of some kind for) their children and acknowledge them as human beings that we loved, even for their short time here, and wish to respect their remains as such. I talked to my child in the womb every day and no one is going to tell me he was just a bunch of cells and that I am wrong to love him as my lost child. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I buried my second tiny baby today. I sewed a little cloth bag to place it in and then placed it into a small wooden box that we then sealed in an air tight container. We buried it in the same large tree planter where we buried another baby 6 years ago. I couldn't imagine ever leaving it behind in the ground if we ever moved. It was hard to come inside and leave her out there tonight, but I lit a candle beside the tree and one here in the house to bring a little light. It is so imoortant for women to be able to bury their babies and have a place to visit and set flowers or pray. Thank you for sharing your story.

Melanie said...

Dear Friend,

I am so sorry that you are having to go through this once again - How heartbreaking! I just prayed for you - may the Lord comfort your heart and remind you of the eternity in which we will never part from our loved ones again.

Much love and sympathy,
Melanie

Christa said...

Thank you so much, I p***ed my baby today, and I was searching for answers to what would be "normal." The doctors of course wanted me to bring it in, but I just don't want them to poke and prod my baby's body. I am glad I read this becasue I would have never thought of writing a letter in case it was found later. Thank you so much, may our Father in Heaven bless you.

Melanie said...

I'm so sorry about your miscarriage, Christa! Losing a child is one of the hardest things in the world. I will pray that the Lord would give you true comfort.

With much love,
Melanie

unknown said...

what do you do with a miscarried baby that was 17 weeks?

Anonymous said...

Although I haven't been through such things. Many of the wonderful people in my life have gone through this devistating situation...i'm almost 15, this friday, and i have already had many traggic things happen to me, yet i don't see how any of them could compare to this. Yesterday, my Best Friend since 3rd. grade called me, she was studdering, hesitant, and histarical as she began to say what she had to say. "I lost her", immeadeatly my heart broke, for her; her boyfriend; this Already, inspiring and character filled baby, and then myself... Continuing on the phone, her still crying and could barely speak, Me in a state of shock with tears filling my eyes just trying to grasp what happened. I told her to come over. Neither of us knew where her boyfriend was so I tracked him down so that they could take the first step being united in this grieving state, so the start of the relief could begin. As it should be. We headed to her house contemplating the travisty in full thought... I can no longer hold back tears. I feel as though I am an hollow shell of what used to be somewhat filled. And, I can only imagine what she was feeling at night all alone...I am now trying to let myself grieve in front of the others to release my hidden feelings about this situation....adn i guess i am asking for a little advice as to how to make her think of the positives (being in that she is only 16) and enjoy life again without doing something unessisary..if you have any ideas let me know, please?

Melanie said...

Dear Young Friend,

I am so sorry I didn't see this sooner -- my entire family has been sick with the flu and I just haven't been online as much.

Suffering doesn't know any age limits, does it? I have been thinking about your post and how I would advise you to minister to your friend. Really, my only comfort when I lost the twins was that I knew I would see them again in heaven. I would point your friend toward God -- He delights to forgive sin (that's why Jesus died on the cross, he took the punishment for our sin so that we could be forgiven) and He promises to comfort His people. There are many passages from the Bible that talk about that comfort on this blog - maybe some of them would speak to your friend's heart.

I wish I could do a better job explaining how heartbroken I am for your friend. To have to go through a miscarriage without a husband would be just devastating. Why is a husband different from a boyfriend? A boyfriend promises nothing except to focus on you while it is still fun. A husband promises to stay with you and love you "through sickness and health"; through every sort of trouble. It is really different when you have a covenant with each other. I wish I could give you and your friend a big hug and be there for you. I pray that you and she will both seek out God - who binds up the broken-hearted - and can comfort you far more effectively than I can. {{{hugs}}} With much love, Melanie

Anonymous said...

Someone informed me of this site: http://www.heavensgain.com/index.html

They sell caskets, vaults and other memorial items for those grieving the loss of a child via miscarriage, stillbirth or other newborn death. They have many beautiful items and can accommodate twins as well if a family wishes to keep twins in the same casket. You can bury the babies on your own or even in a cemetery as long as you have a fetal death certificate. Some cemeteries offer free services and burial for miscarried babies. Just another resource for grieving families.

Jen

Rachel said...

sorry for everyones losses.. i miscarried my baby today and i put the baby inside my daughters socks from when she was a newborn (somethink for the baby to remeber his/her big sister by) and wrote a letter to the baby and some things about god, we burried the baby in our near by park underneather a tree and put a candle on top (this is were we always go for picnics) so i thought it would be special as we go there everyday as a family.. one day well all meet our little ones in heaven.. x

Melanie said...

Rachel,

I am so sorry you are going through this! I think you did the right thing to pick a place you love to bury your little one.

May the Lord wrap you tight in His arms and comfort all of you!!

Much love,
Melanie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this site. Last night I went to the ER because I had some bleeding. I'm 10 weeks pregnant. They kept reassuring me that it was probably nothing as I wasn't cramping and my doctor had done a pap the day before. At 7 weeks we had seen a wonderful heartbeat on the ultrasound, so I thought we were fine. They did an ultrasound again last night, and told me that my baby had died. We had just finally told everyone about the baby 2 weeks ago. It was the last thing I told my grandmother before she slipped into death. As we have 7 children and I am 41, the rest of my "family" made it quite clear that they thought I should have the doctor "get rid of it all" when I have the baby anyway. They've never been able to understand why I've left it to the Lord. They've been less then supportive now. I've heard "we're praying for you" right after lectures about how I should have known better and hopefully I've learned my lesson now. My husband and I have clung to each other, but some outside support would be nice. I too have been treated like I have some mental problem for wanting to remember my BABY and hoping to be able to bury him. The ER told me that there wouldn't be anything to bury because at 10 weeks he's too small, but they also want me to keep any "tissues" and bring them in. I have found solace in knowing that I'm not alone and that others have managed to bury their little ones. My husband and I finally decided on his name today. We have 2 girls and 5 boys - the last 4 children all being boys, so we've been pretty sure the baby is a boy. I know we'll never be able to know for sure though. It's helped the other children, especially as we just buried my grandmother 3 days ago; to help me plan a tree and memorial stone for Jonathan in our yard in the spring. Thank you all for sharing your experiances with me. It's been very comforting.

Melanie said...

Dear Friend,

I am so sorry you lost your little one. I know how hard it is. I had people say, "Well, at least you have seven others," but they didn't understand that when you have that many children, a new baby is *more* precious because you understand just exactly what you are missing!

Don't pay any mind to folks who would discourage you from having more. Our little Katie was born when I was 45, after I lost the twins to miscarriage, and she has been an absolute joy and delight to us! So thankful for her!

May the Lord wrap you tight in His arms and wipe away your tears.

Much love,
Melanie

luvdeternally said...

Thank you for sharing even though your post was many years ago, it's still applicable today. The last paragraph, well, it made me cry. I thought I was all cried out from my miscarriage this morning, but I guess not. I left my baby at home before going to the ER because I didn't want them to take my child. They were not too pleased with me. I still have to go spend time with my baby, but I'm scared. I know God is with me, but of course it still hurts.

Melanie said...

Good for you, luvdeternally! I'm glad you did what you needed to.

It does change everything to realize we will see our little ones again, doesn't it? I am so thankful the Word of God explains that!

May the Lord wrap you tight in His arm and wipe away every tear.

Much love,
Melanie

Corey Gilmore said...

I found your article helpful but I was wondering if you had a link to where it says which states don't require you to go thru a funeral home before 20 weeks.
We recently had a miscarriage, 9 weeks and 2 days. We had plans on burying the remains today but a couple hours before we could we got a knock on the door from the cops due to them receiving a call that someone said we had a dead baby in a container in our house. They then had someone from the funeral home come and take the remains and we are supposed to meet them tomorrow to arrange things.
We were wanting to do a private burial without the state or funeral home being involved, so we were hoping you could give us some information that we could take to them tomorrow that will let us take our baby and do the burial we had planned.

Melanie said...

Oh Corey! How traumatic! Wow.

I think this is what you are looking for: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/itop97.pdf If there is no requirement to report the death, the remains are not considered human remains (I know, but in this case, it works in your favor), and no requirement for certain disposition. I'm so sorry you are going through this on top of losing your little one. We'll be praying for you today!

Much love,
Melanie