If your baby is over 20 weeks gestation and weighs more than 350 grams, he or she will have to go through a funeral home. There are many local funeral homes who have offered very compassionate care to Empty Arms families in the past, and many will waive many of the costs for families experiencing infant loss. Please let us help if you are struggling to determine which home to use, or if the cost is feeling prohibitive.
Also, please note, that while you must make arrangements for a funeral home to transport your baby, it is your right to take your baby home for a short while if you wish. Historically, people held wakes at home. If this is your choice, do ask your funeral director how to make it happen.
If your baby is less than 20 weeks and under 350 grams, what happens to your baby is up to you. Legally, the baby is yours. You have several options:
Usually, the hospital will offer the option to "take care" of the remains for you. Unfortunately, here in Western Massachusetts there are no hospitals that have burial plots in which to bury all miscarried babies. Typically remains are cremated, and you should know that it’s possible they will be cremated alongside of (and I cringe to write the words) medical waste. If it's important to you to know, find out what happens at your hospital.
You can use a funeral home and choose to cremate or bury the baby. You would proceed just as you would for any death.
You can take your baby's remains home with you. Legally, this is your right. If you've sent your baby to the lab to be tested, you may have to jump through some hoops to make this happen. Please, let us help you with any obstacles you may come across. Hospital policies can and have been changed to make this happen.
Depending on where you live, there are likely several funeral homes available for you. Empty Arms is more than happy to recommend homes that have demonstrated compassion for our families in the past, and we're also available to help you with any aspects of the arrangements that seem overwhelming to you.
Burial and Cremation Fund
Sometimes our families struggle with the unexpected costs of laying their child to rest. We maintain a list of funeral homes that offer reduced cost cremations; please reach out if that would be helpful. Even still, the financial cost can still be overwhelming. We have a specific donor-backed fund for this purpose. Please email Carol at email@example.com if you would like additional information about this program.