The "Over the Rainbow" series is a series for, and from, mothers who have lost their little ones or experienced infertility. We know this can be a very sensitive subject, and sometimes hard to talk about. We hope we are able to help others through these tough experiences as we share our stories with you.
As parents, we rarely know what to expect and often look back at our parenting experiences and think, “I wish I had known that before...!” And whether we have one child or five, we’re all in the same boat. We all learn as we go and make decisions based on our child’s age and personality, our own personalities, and the circumstances of our life at the time. As we continue to learn about our child, and ourselves, we use this knowledge to prepare (as much as we can) for the parenting curveballs life (or our children) will inevitably throw at us.
When I was twelve weeks pregnant with our daughter, we found ourselves facing the biggest parenting curveball of our lives when the doctors told us something was wrong with our baby. That day, and so many other times throughout my pregnancy and our time with her, we definitely had many of those, “I wish I had known that
before...!” moments. We knew very early in my pregnancy that our time with her would be short, and that it was even a possibility that we wouldn’t have any time at all because her condition increased her risk of being stillborn. Because of this, I wanted and needed so badly to be prepared to capture any memory or collect any keepsake I had the opportunity to, so that I could hold onto them after she was gone. In the months leading up to her birth, I “nested” in a much different way than I had with our son. Instead of planning the perfect nursery and stocking up on diapers and clothes to fit him as he grew, we focused on researching and purchasing the few items we wanted to have at her birth. Because the list of things we would buy for her was relatively short when compared to the list of things you usually buy for a new baby, each item mattered SO
much. These are the items we found most important to have in those few short hours with our daughter and as we’ve remembered her over the last couple of years:
Journal for Your Thoughts – I’m not usually the best at keeping a consistent journal, but during my pregnancy and the months after our daughter’s birth, writing in a journal became extremely therapeutic for me. It was a place for me to go to write all of my thoughts and feelings, and now I love going back and reading about her life and remembering the little details I had forgotten.
Pictures of Every Moment – All parents know that the birth of a baby is an overwhelming experience, and that it’s hard to remember all the little details. Especially when time with your baby is short, it’s so important to have beautiful pictures to remember this special time with your little one. I’m so glad a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer (a volunteer organization which provides the gift of remembrance photography for angel babies) was at the hospital shortly after our daughter’s birth! I’m also glad we took pictures of every single moment on our own cameras, because some of those pictures we took in the operating room right after she was born are my most precious.
The Perfect Outfit – Next to pictures of our angel baby, the dress she wore in those photos was the most important thing we had for our daughter, at least to me. When we couldn’t find a dress that would perfectly fit our baby’s tiny body, my sweet mom actually made a beautiful dress for our daughter. It was extra special to have her wear something made by her grandma.
Soft Blankets to Snuggle In – As we prepared for our daughter’s birth, one of our top priorities was making sure she would feel safe and comfortable during each and every moment she spent with us. A huge part of this was making sure we had soft blankets to wrap her in as we held her for every minute of her life.
Handprints & Footprints – When our son was born, I bought a kit to do clay handprints and footprints, so I made sure to buy a couple for our daughter as well and put them in our hospital bag. Because I knew we would only have one chance to get the perfect prints, I actually bought two kits...just in case. These tiny handprints and footprints are one of my favorite things to pull out of our daughter’s memory box!
Just before 33 weeks, my doctor said that we needed to schedule a C-section for the following afternoon. I was so glad we had these special items packed in our hospital bag already and were prepared for what was to come. Even though she arrived much earlier than we expected, we were able to make the most of our time with her. We also got to take so many sweet little memories home with us. I’m so glad we were able to capture as many memories as we could in those short moments with our angel. I hope my tips will help if you or someone you love is preparing for the birth of an angel baby!
Featured Image PC: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep