One of the goals of the Sweet Pea Project is to help health care providers continue to grow in the
that they handle stillbirths.  Parents from all over the country have helped compile a list of
they believe should be made available to every parent who is about to deliver a stillborn child.

Many parents wish that they had
received more encouragement from
hospital staff to do the following:

  • dress their baby
  • bathe their baby
  • undress and examine baby
  • take handprints
  • take footprints
  • make clay molds of hands/feet
  • take lock of hair
  • take time to go outside, or even go home, before induction
  • have Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep to take photographs
  • have staff take portraits of baby
  • take pictures of baby themselves
  • take pictures of baby's entire body
  • take pictures of baby with parents/family members
  • take pictures without flash so that skin imperfections are less visible
  • keep blanket that baby was wrapped in
  • speak with grief counselor, chaplain, social worker
  • spend more time with baby
  • keep baby overnight
  • see baby again the next day
  • keep hospital bracelets with baby's name, just as live babies receive
  • keep baby's first diaper
  • use mirror during pushing, just as moms of live babies do
  • videotape their time with baby
  • keep tape measure that measured baby
  • keep card with baby's weight, length, name, gender
  • keep holy water used to baptize baby
  • keep hospital cap baby wore
  •  have family members come in and spend time with baby
  • have autopsy performed
  • plan own burial/funeral instead of having hospital take care of remains

Many parents regretted
or expressed dissatisfaction
about the following:

  • staff didn't call baby by name
  • staff did not encourage them to do the things on the list to the left
  • they were put on the regular recovery floor within earshot of crying newborns
  • they were wheeled past the nursery
  • the anesthesiologist seemed to be unaware of the situation
  • no sticker was put on the door, maid and food service asked about baby
  • they weren't given written information on options for final rest
  • they weren't given books/info on grieving until they were released, instead of during hospital stay
  • they hadn't been talked to about the importance of kick counts during pregnancy
  • they had to wait with happy pregnant women for follow up appointment
  • receptionist/nurse wasn't aware of situation and asked about baby/breastfeeding at follow up appointment