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Old Aug 22, '08, 10:35 pm
RTL RTL is offline
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Default What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

If you are Catholic and have a miscarriage what can you do with the remains of the fetus / baby?

Chances are you will not have much time to make decisions and even when you do your head is spinning from the devastating news that you have just had a miscarriage.

My wife found out she had miscarried and for medical reasons her doctor wanted to have a D & C the next day, God was watching out for us, she couldn’t do it the next day, so she had it scheduled for the 2nd day. We had no idea what to do, what we could or couldn’t do with the baby’s remains. The extra day gave us time to call our Parish Priest and he was very helpful in the following process.

After going through this and not knowing what to do, here are the steps I think you need to take: (There are probably better way’s to handle this but, this is what we kind of worked through. Hopefully it will help you at least know where to start).
1. Pray for guidance and strength. We found a beautiful prayer “prayer after a miscarriage” by Mother M. Angelica. You should search for this and read it and pray it (I saw it on this site).
2. Contact your parish priest ASAP (He got on the phone with a funeral home and a cemetery to find out about about our options).
3. Contact a Funeral home and tell them your situation: (You are having surgery to remove a miscarried baby etc). They will be the ones who will pick up the fetus/baby remains (they’ll refer to your baby as tissue).
4. Contact the cemetery, they will tell you your options for burial. (We were able to bury our baby in my father’s plot, right above his vault).
5. Contact your doctor and make sure they know you want to save the fetus /baby for burial. Make sure he/she will coordinate this with the surgery center.
6. When you go to the surgery center to sign in let them know you want to save the baby's remains for burial.
7. When the nurse comes in let her know you want to save the baby's remains for burial.
8. We gave the surgery center nurse a copy of the funeral director’s business card and phone number.(I believe they may have asked for this or it was suggested by the doctor or funeral director.)
9. The surgery center sent the remains of the baby for testing to a nearby hospital (I believe the hospital of the doctor’s choice) and assured us they would tell the hospital lab to give the funeral director a call to pick up the baby's remains.
10. Our funeral director asked us to call her when the baby’s remains were sent for testing. She was going to contact the hospital lab and let them know to call her when she could pick up the remains.
11. We were told the testing would take 7-10 days, but were called two days later(a Friday) by the funeral director that they were picking up the remains. They told us to take the weekend to talk with our parish priest to determine possible day and time for a private burial. We met with the funeral director on Monday to determine if we were embalming or cremating our baby's remains. Also we made an obituary and picked a prayer since the funeral home offered to make some programs.
12. Also, we met with the cemetery to set up the opening and closing of the grave, etc. They wanted 48 hours notice.

A couple of notes:
1. Your doctor and funeral director will probably refer to the baby’s remains as tissue. Our baby was approximately 11-12 weeks on the ultrasound. We could see our baby, so we figured we would have the little body of our baby. After conversations with our doctor, we figured out the baby would be removed by suction, so there would not be a body, hence their referral to the tissue.
2. The funeral home and cemetery had some reduced prices for baby funeral services and will work with you. They realize you do not have insurance for the death of a baby.
3. We did not know the sex of the baby but chose to give the baby a name.
4. If you do not have the recourses to pay for a funeral and burial some hospitals, funeral homes and cemetery’s work together to save the remains of miscarried or aborted babies and have them cremated and buried together.
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Old Aug 22, '08, 10:46 pm
yellowbird yellowbird is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

I am so sorry for the loss of your child.

This is a very informative post and I'm sure it will be helpful to those who wish to have their babies remains delt with in this manner. Thank you for posting it.
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Old Aug 23, '08, 4:17 am
conrad979 conrad979 is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting this; I am sure it will be of great use to many.
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Old Aug 23, '08, 7:00 am
queen_anne78 queen_anne78 is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

So sorry for you loss...I'm sure your little one is interceding for you in heaven.

This is a GREAT set of info..

I really think this would be a worthwhile sticky.
dang it feels good to be a Catholic

Loving our little girl, Gianna Marie, born May 3 2007

Chillin' with my little man, Dominic Vianney, Jan. 10, 2010
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Old Aug 23, '08, 12:07 pm
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monicatholic monicatholic is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

i am so sorry you lost your baby, RTL. heaven is beautiful, but here without your baby is so sad.

almost 20 years ago, my husband and i lost a baby, too. it was terribly sad. he was our first together.

around that time, i'd heard worrisome stories of our local hospital being uncaring and disrespectful of miscarrying parents. when i felt cramping and signs of miscarriage, i didn't know what to do.

really, without much of a plan, i waited at home till the baby passed. when he did, we baptised him.

my husband miraculously found a sparkling white cloth diaper (a gift from God, as our diapers were grey and threadbare and several-babies old by then and it showed). but when he immediately found that sparkling diaper, i cried because i recognized it as a gift from God to us and our baby.

my husband put the baby (who had clearly been expired for some days) in a small wood box, wrapped in the diaper, with a miraculous medal.

there ran along the back of our wooded property a lovely strip of utility-used county land. my husband burried our baby on the edge of our property and that land.

years later, when we moved, i cried to leave our baby's resting place, but i knew his real resting place was in the arms of God.

many years later, my sis carried twins. her boy baby died in utero. she carried both babies for 3 months more until she came full term.

i sent to her an early baby gift. i sent to her a little journal so she could write to and about her baby who died- whom she still carried inside her. and i sent to her a small, soft, sparkling blanket to wrap him in when they burried him.

just like you, RTL, she had time to make burial arrangements for him with the help of her parish priest. she was so grateful for the preist's help and the compassion of the hospital nurses.

she told me later that, at first, she didn't understand the blanket as so important. but she brought it to the hospital with her anyway. when he was born, and she gave the blanket for him to be wrapped in, she cried. it was a great comfort for her to know her baby was wrapped in a soft, warm, clean balnket.

RTL, our children know from heaven all the love we tried to give them in just a few days or weeks or hours. they know we would have gladly done all of that for years-- for ever-- had they stayed with us.

that's why they pray for us all the more. because they know how much our hearts are sore because we love them so much.

please bless your wife for me. tell her that her sisters in Christ understand how empty her arms feel. please tell her that God and her Blessed Mother Mary will heal her and your heart. They will.
we love because
HE first loved us.
1 John 4:19
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Old Aug 23, '08, 12:30 pm
Ridgerunner Ridgerunner is online now
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

Years ago, I was looking at headstones in an old Irish cemetery in a small town where my Irish ancestors first settled. A small stone read "Baby (my last name)". I looked around some more and found a few more headstones reading things like "Infant Carey", "Baby O'Neill" and so on.

I asked my father about it, and he told me who "Baby (my last name)" was. The child was miscarried and the old Irish used to do their best to baptize such a child, but since there was uncertainty about the timeliness, they did not put the given name on the headstone. Turns out "Baby (my last name)" was also given my first name those many years ago. A patron saint.

My children and grandchildren go to that cemetery with me every year and, among others, put flowers on the grave of "Baby (my last name)" and, for them all, say the Hail Mary in Gaelic; the only prayer they know in that language.

Not the worst of all imaginable customs.
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Old Aug 23, '08, 12:47 pm
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monicatholic monicatholic is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

there is a similar place, St. Joseph Shrine, founded by Irish missionaries and immigrants out on rt. 12 in Brooklyn, Michigan. there are similar old graves there. many babies. same stories abound.

my children, as am I, are very moved by these tiny headstones.

is there some soundfile link to a Hail Mary prayed in Gaelic? I would learn it and teach it to my children for the purpose of praying at the graves of these little Irish babies. (close to my heart as my grandmother was first gen. irish american and her husband, my grandfather, came over in utero.)
we love because
HE first loved us.
1 John 4:19
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Old Aug 25, '08, 11:24 am
smallcat smallcat is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

If the baby is less than about 12 weeks (it's different in different states), the hospital will indeed classify the baby as "tissue". As such, if you don't want to go through a funeral director, you may request the "tissue" (just as you could request your gallstones, or tonsils, or kidney stones) from the pathology department. They will release it to you (it will probably be in some kind of preservative) and you can bury it yourself. Not very ceremonial, but your baby nonetheless.
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Old Oct 8, '09, 8:49 am
gron0083 gron0083 is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

I randomly found this thread through a Google search of all things! I just wanted to thank you RTL for posting this it was extremely informative for me as a Catholic who wants to honor the very brief life my baby lived. I will be having a surgery soon to remove the baby as my body does not seem to want to do it naturally to avoid the risk of infection, and I am so glad I found all these tips of yours!

God bless you and your little angel!

"Every human being has a right to life, and that...makes all other rights of life is the foundation of all the other goods we hope to promote and enjoy within our society."
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Old Nov 7, '09, 11:42 pm
cbd2009 cbd2009 is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

I'm not sure if anyone still looks at this, but I wanted to post a reply. I am not writing this to sound righteous or anything else, it is more to give strength to people that are in the same situation as I am in.

My wife and I are both Catholic and have two daughters. The first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage as did the 4th (which ended this past week). With the first miscarriage we were so emotionally blown away that the question of what to do with the remains of our unborn child did not come up because everything happened within about a 24-48 hr period. After the fact, neither of us felt good about what happened, and never though we'd have to experience again. God certainly had different plans for us. This past week my wife began spotting. After a visit to the ER and the OB, it was confirmed that our 10 week baby was no longer alive. Needless to say we started down the terrible emotional and physical roller coaster that is still going on as of right now.

This all happened on a Thursday, and the earliest the D and C could be done was the following Monday, so we were forced to deal with the fallout over the weekend (I am writing this Sunday morning after this, so it is still an ongoing process). On Friday, my wife began bleeding uncontrollably, we went to the ER again where they treated her and sent us back home. Saturday (yesterday) the same thing happen. She began bleeding and passing "tissue" at home. Please excuse the following language. It is not meant to be vulgar, but I know other people have and will go through this and it takes alot out of you if you have nowhere else to turn.

She passed the majority of the tissue in the toilet. Because of our previous experience, we wanted to do something with the remains, but this was not going to be easy since we were not in a hospital. After our second trip to the ER where she was "treated" once again we returned home. When we got home, the toilet was still filled with the tissue. My wife was/is still sick so I searched on here for some answers and strength as to what to do.

The task of removing our child's remains was not at all apealing in some respects, but after thought and prayer I began to think about my daughters. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would do absolutely anything no matter how painful or disgusting in order to protect them and show that I loved them. This was just the same. Although we never got to meet this son or daughter, we love him or her just the same as we do our daughters and previously lost baby. I looked at this as an opportunity to show the same sort of love towards this baby.

I went to the bathroom with a towel, a utensil, a bag and a bottle of holy water. I began in prayer, saying a Hail Mary for each week the baby was with us. I then removed the remains and place them into a bag. Then I put 3 drops of Holy Water in while I said the sign of the cross. Then sealed the bag.

It has only been 30 min since I finished, but I think it was truly a healing experience. I am sure to some it sounds absoutely insane...and maybe it is. But if you only have once chance to care for the remains of your unborn child, it seems like embracing it and treating them with the same dignity and respect as any other human being is the right thing to do. We are going to pursue the Catholic burial much like what was described above.

It was by far one of the hardest things I have done, but I appreciate everyone that originally responded to this post and for all the prayers. It gave me the strength to do what I did. I certainly hope that my response can do the same for someone in pain like I am.
God Bless
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Old Nov 8, '09, 12:22 am
ipwnuathalo ipwnuathalo is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

Thank you to everyone who posted in this thread. I am humbled by your strength.
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Old Nov 8, '09, 5:45 pm
LongingForLight LongingForLight is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

Originally Posted by cbd2009 View Post
I certainly hope that my response can do the same for someone in pain like I am.
God Bless
God be with you, and your child with God.

I've never suffered a miscarraige, but it seems that many women do have this experience at some point in their lives. I find it very comforting to know that others have found ways to respect their miscarried children's remains, as I know that I would also want to honor my child if I were in such a situation. Thank you for telling us about your care for your beloved child's tiny body.
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Old Jan 20, '10, 8:32 pm
jdmurphy jdmurphy is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

I am so sorry for your losses. I am glad you were able to bury your baby with dignity. We who have lost babies to pregnancy loss truly have the right to grieve for our child. I also searched through the toilet for one of my miscarried babies and it is so frustrating and disgusting to think your baby is in your toilet or even worse a public toilet. What I found to do was to get a small (about 4 inch diameter) strainer to bring into the bathroom with each time I went after I started spotting and especially when it became heavier. This way I was able to find the sack and baby when one of my babies died at 6 weeks. My other two children were larger and my labor obvious.
I have had three miscarriages. My babies died at 6, 10, and 17 weeks. We were not able to find a suitable burial container for our babies, even the one who was 17 weeks along and 8 inches long. We felt the call to start a ministry providing burial caskets for families who have lost a child in the first or second trimester. By providing the opportunity for families to bury their child , we hope they may find closure and begin to heal. You can find us on the web at Feel free to visit our website and give us some feedback.
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Old Jan 14, '11, 11:42 pm
cerasela cerasela is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

I lost a twin pregnancy recently. I got to see one of the embryos, the first (it came out after a violent bleeding and it came out intact, it was one of the weirdest and most painful things I had to do, to stare at...). I know he had a soul already, don't ask how I know, but I do. I saved the remains and I will burry him at the property I will buy soon. I have a name for the baby. "It" might be called "tissue", but "it" is not tissue for me. He was conceived in love. The second one was too fragmented and I didn't have the strength to save it. It was (still is) a very sad time. For many reasons. It was an unexpected pregnancy and I blamed myself for everything. That I worked too much...and other things.
I cried so much that I thought I was going to make myself sick. Then I started looking for prayers. I found "Jesus in between" prayer. I prayed it for me and for the father. I woke up like a new person the next day. I am still hurting, but I will do more praying and I know it takes time to heal.
I am sorry for all of you that went through miscarriage. I understand...
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Old Jan 15, '11, 11:40 am
Marysann Marysann is offline
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Default Re: What to do with a baby's remains after a miscarriage

I lost a baby boy thirty-one years ago next week. He was baptized by the doctor, but they took his little body away for "testing," and that was it. I never saw it again. Not knowing what happened to the remains was the hardest things I have ever gone through. I am so glad that parents today have the possibility of giving their tiny children a proper burial. Our story did have a happy ending. A year and a day after we lost our little boy, our son Chris was born. He will be 30 next week, and he is getting married in February. Chris was followed by another son, so the Lord gave us three wonderful sons, our oldest son is thirty-three, plus our little saint in Heaven. My the Lord bless all of you parents who have lost little ones.
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