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Friend just lost prem baby - don't know what to say / do, can't stop crying

(10 Posts)
nikkid21 Thu 10-Jul-08 21:48:12

Close friend gave birth last week at 25 weeks. He weighed 14oz.

Was doing really well - on vent but with min oxygen but died this afternoon with no warning. Just 10 days old. They hadn't even registered his birth yet and now they must do his death at the same time.

just feeling distraught for her & the family. Desparatley trying to keep it together when she told be but now at home alone and can't stop crying. I want to help her in any way that I can but just don't know what to do. I've said that I will look after their other child for the funeral etc (our kids are best friends).

If anyone has experienced the same thing could you let me know if a friend did anything esp useful. She has lots of family to do the hand holding etc but was there practical stuff that needed doing. Sorry if not articulating properly

georgiemama Thu 10-Jul-08 21:50:42


would suggest you make a casserole and take it round - she may not feel like it but she's got to eat.

myredcardigan Thu 10-Jul-08 23:55:20

I have no personal experience of such a loss but I think it's important to acknowledge his birth. Send her a card (not a birth card but a blank one with water lillies or some such) saying 'congratulations on the birth of... and my deepest sympathy at his loss'
Thinking of you...

I also think it's important to be available to listen over the coming months if she wants to talk about him. Also, you should always refer to him by his name and continue to make reference to him sometimes. This will help her feel that he has not been forgotten. Never look bored or uncomfortable when she talks about him; She needs to do this.

Make a note of his birthday in your diary and send her a card every year saying something like 'in memory of your darling ...'s birthday'.

As he was prem, she may also be dreading his due date. Perhaps a week before you could text her or something saying you understand this week will be hard for her and you're here if she needs you.

Sorry,you asked for practical stuff. Perhaps offer to have her older child to allow her time to wallow in her grief. People really do need the opportunity to do this,if only for a little while, despite it being considered unhealthy.

youcannotbeserious Fri 11-Jul-08 00:01:01

Oh, myredcardigan - that's a really thoughtful thing... the due date is going to be a difficult date....

Def. think of her then.

nikkid21 Fri 11-Jul-08 07:58:16

Thanks for that. I expect that I will be looking after har older one a lot over the summer hols.

Just had to tell ds6 and dd4 that he had died. Both are very concerned for their friend. Have explained that she won't be at school this week.

charleymouse Fri 11-Jul-08 13:32:07

Hi Nikki
so sorry for your friend. Don't worry about keeping it together for her, she will appreciate you feeling a loss as well.

Don't say "It was for the best" "It was gods will" "I know what you are going through" (unless you do). But do be their when she needs a shoulder to cry on and please talk about her little boy, mention his name, how beautiful he is.

A memory box is a nice gift for her other child and her & DH to fill with congratulations/sympathy cards and pictures etc.

If you have not already buy a small gift to go with him, or for her to keep, ask about flowers at the funeral as some people have them some don't.

Don't assume her child will not be at the funeral, she must make a judgement call on this as to how her DD will handle it. My DD came to her brothers funeral as I felt it important for her to have closure and realise he was not coming back. I also cry in front of DD but explain why I am sad and how I miss Benjamin and how happy she makes me.

Tread carefully re the funeral she may wish to have only immediate family or she may want friends as well let her guide you but you may need to ask.

Also second the practical issues of eating you do not feel like it and cooking seems like such an effort. You feel like your world has ended and how can people go on doing normal things when this has happened. Don't they realise your baby is dead. Just be there for her and don't just say get in touch if you want something because it is unlikely she will. Suggest things like "I am popping to the shops I will pick you up xyz whilst I am there do you need anything else?" It really is difficult as what is right for some people is not for others. I loved having flowers some people don't.

Her due date will also be difficult, a phone call would probably be appreciated. Further down the line I feel his birthday is a day to remember rather than the day he died.

On a practical note she is entitled to claim child benefit and therefore her child trust fund which she may not realise or may not want initially. Only now do I wish I had claimed for Bens so that his twin could receive the benefit of it. Also many places charge a reduced rate for childrens funerals.

You can give her some websites which might be useful lots are listed on some of the other threads, sorry do not have chance to search.

The best advice I can give is talk to her and her DH and DD and guage what they want.

You sound like a caring friend and she is lucky to have you.

HTH Charley

feedmenow Fri 11-Jul-08 18:43:07

Nikki, it's lovely of you to be such a thoughtful friend, to be asking the things you are asking.

My dd2 was stillborn 4 months ago. The things I appreciated from friends were cards to let me know they were thinking of me, text messages to tell me they were there for me when I was ready (I wouldn't talk to anyone on the phone for a while) and an opportunity to have a few drinks and talk non-stop about my daughter, blub my eyes out, etc.

As time has gone on, I feel that my friends have moved on a little from my loss on the whole, apart from one who still gives me a hug for me and for dd2 every time she sees me, and who talks about things to do with dd2. Little tokens over the weeks and months that follow the initial death, that show that someone is still thinking of you and your lost one mean a lot - at least they do to me.

The thing is, I know my other friends would listen if I started talking, but the emotions are so uncontrollable that the sadness and grief pops up at the most inopportune time. So someone asking after you and the baby often, and bringing the baby up in conversation gives the opportunity to talk when you need to, cry when you need to or not talk when you are too numb.

I hope this makes a bit of sense! As someone else said, everyone needs different things so you'll need to be really in tune to your friend in the months ahead if you are too give her the support she needs in the way she needs it.

Good luck to you, and lots of love to your friend. xx

monkeysmama Wed 16-Jul-08 21:41:39

I agree with everyone else's comments. Remembering dates - her due date etc is important or was for me. Taking food is a major help - some close friends of ours dropped shopping off literally at the front door because they knew we didn't want to see anyone. Lots of ready meals and easy to cook stuff and some comfort food.

On a pratical level my mum came over and left sanitary towels and breast pads in the bathroom without saying a word to me. It broke my heart when I saw them but saved me having to buy them. Walking into Boots with all their baby stuff (including "Are you a mum? Join our Baby Club." sign) was hard months later let alone days.

I'd just make repeatedly but not invasively sure she knows you're there. My dp and I shut ourselves away - quite literally in bed for the first 8 days but I checked my phone every day and the ^thinking of you^ texts meant so much. Be prepared for her not to want to talk on the phone. For me actually talking felt far too real - I'd have to say things out loud that I didn't want to acknowledge and it made me start pretending everything was okay when it so wasn't.

Be there with her when she has to go and buy a new bra, at the next baby's christening / birthday party / announcement of a friend's pregnancy etc.

If you think a keepsake is appropriate a close friend bought me something from which I still wear.

For later on, I get flowers every mother's day - no message just flowers - from a friend. And I go out with my partner on her birthday every year for a meal. I acknowledge her due date too. I feel incredibly touched when other people remember. For me it was months later, when everyone expected me to be over it that I really needed friends and for someone to say every now and then that they remembered.

Good luck.

nikkid21 Fri 18-Jul-08 17:26:45

Thanks all of you. Haven't been on much due to chaos in real life at the moment.
The funeral was today. I stayed home and helped get drinks/foood ready for afterwards.
Thought that my heart would break for them when the car pulled up with the tiny white box.

I've found that i've become a sounding board for both parents when they do the school run. They offload with moans about the various inlaws/ beavement counsellors etc. Think that all I can do is be there and listen when they need me. Am also helping them plan a holiday to Florida (i've been lots!). They want something positive and very involved to focus on and plan to be away on the due date.

Thanks again

minster Fri 18-Jul-08 20:43:49

You feel completely isolated when your baby dies - things I've found helpful are a friend who brings me food without asking (& arranges to do things with my kids), another who asks me about T & wants to see his photos and another who emails me everyday - nothing needing a response or much thought - not even related to baby half the time but it keeps me connected with life & lets me know someone remembers me.

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