Each October, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station hosts a remembrance ceremony honoring those who have experienced perinatal loss.
“We want to make sure every child is celebrated,” says Ashley Cox, registered nurse, assistant manager of labor and delivery and couplet care at Baylor Scott & White. “Whether they’re living in this world or not, that child was still a part of their life. It’s so important that they feel like someone else remembers that as well.”
Cox remembers each fetal demises she’s experienced in her 10 years of nursing. But every fetal demise is different.
“Those are the children you will never forget,” says Cox. “You know those children by name.”
The hospital uses butterflies as a symbol for perinatal loss. A butterfly is hung on the door of the hospital room when a perinatal loss occurs and is sent home with parents.
The staff tries to make sure parents have something to help them remember their child by. To Crystal Conner, RN, BSN, labor and delivery and couplet care at Baylor Scott & White, making this effort is personal.
“I have lost a baby at 21 weeks. I remember feeling like such a failure as a woman,” says Conner. “I remember how much it meant to me to have someone just give me a certificate of life to recognize that I did lose a baby.”
The nurses get together and paint personalized boxes to send home with parents who experience this perinatal loss. The boxes include a stuffed animal, a blanket, a bracelet with the baby’s name, and often handprints and footprints. If the parents want photos with their child, the staff will take those as well.
These gifts are meant to help the parent feel their child’s life is recognized. The October event gives staff members and parents the opportunity to continue to feel that support. Some parents even make friends with others who have experienced similar losses.
The ceremony is in the healing garden and features a short reading of scripture, a poem, and a song. Attendees can put their thumbprints on a large canvas, which will later be turned into butterflies. Windmills are stuck in the ground as a reminder of the children lost whose spirit and memory remains.
The ceremony, which is open to the public, is at 6pm Sunday, Oct. 15, in the Baylor Scott & White Healing Garden.
For more information on the perinatal loss remembrance ceremony, visit www.events.bswhealth.com.