Good Friend Lost Her Baby at 38 Wks

Updated on December 30, 2012
T.F. asks from Vista, CA
18 answers

I sit here in tears wondering how anyone could possible deal with the pain of losing a child. I am at a complete loss for words. My friend was 38 wks today and went into hospital because the baby was not moving. They did an ultrasound and were unable to find a heart beat. She is in surgery now getting her beautiful baby girl removed.

I am at a lose on how to handle everything. I don't know what to say or do. We have been friends for about 8 yrs now. I have spoken to her husband twice on the phone today. I told him that what ever they need I am there for them anytime of the day. They have two children 7yrs and 2 1/2yrs. They are being watched by the grandparents right now. My friend isn't the type to ask for help but I also don't want to be pushy either.

Waiting to talk to her husband after surgery to see if she wants visitors.

Has anyone been through this type a experience? What did your friends do to help you out? There is a group of about 7 that all have been friends for several years that are willing to come together and do whatever is nessary to help her and her family through this terrible experience.

Thank you

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answers from New York on

Let her be. Do not be Wonder Woman to the rescue, as she may need that, but not necessarily from you. She will go through a multitude of emotions and you cannot read them, nor help her through them. She will tell you what she needs, should she need it from you. This is a very private time between husband and wife and whomever she would like to let in. Communicate through her husband, do not overstep or be pushy as you say, with her. Regardless of how close you all are, this may be something very private, so handle with much care. Good Luck.

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12 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Follow their lead. The hard part, IMO, is later. When people go home. When the due date passes. When the first anniversary comes up, etc. Just be her friend, talk to her, and be supportive.

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answers from Washington DC on

I lost my Alexis at 22 weeks. The pain is crushing. The best thing you can do is let her lead. Tell her you are there for her - ANYTIME (and mean it). EVERYONE handles loss differently...

she may be sad, angry, laugh uncontrollably one moment and break down in tears the next.

Since she was so close to delivery, they may opt to have a burial. If they do. Support her.

What did people do for me? They let me be - they let me cry, laugh and be angry. I was VERY's part of the grieving process and everyone processes and grieves differently...they made dinners for us...they brought over things that went into our freezer and was easy to heat up....

I DID NOT WANT flowers...they just die. That's just another thing dead and another reminder of my loss.

I will tell you the pain NEVER goes away. EVER. You learn to deal with it. Baby steps. We had a autopsy done because we were far enough gave us answers. But I was STILL angry. As I type this - I am crying. All the pain is brought up again...and that will happen. You can't stop it.

JUST BE THERE FOR HER...I will say a prayer for and her family...

God Bless

14 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think the best things to do in this situation is to be there and let her talk as she wishes. Bring over food, take the kids, ect. Do not say, "What can I do". Say, "I would like to take the kids to the park this afternoon, does that work for you?". Same with "I am going to make lasagna this week, can I bring over some for you guys"? I have never lost a child but I can tell you that if I did, I would be devestated. The last thing I would want is some crappy keepsake or some stuffed animal for my dead baby. What I would need is time and maybe when I am feeling a little better, a lunch date.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Between you and your friends, you should be able to arrange meals so the family doesn't have to cook for a few weeks while she recovers physically.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My son died when he was 17 days old. The last thing I felt like doing was cooking. Luckily we were able to afford to go out to dinner every night (for about 1 year) but gift cards to restaurants would have been very much appreciated. I also really appreciated getting "Thinking of you"cards after the sympathy cards stopped coming. The best thing of all however was something I bought for myself and have since bought for many others when they experience a death. Buy them a book on stillbirths, miscarriages and early infant death. Although it is heartbreaking to read others stories it made me feel less alone. Give her a gift receipt though.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I had a friend that lost her baby the day she was born after complications during delivery. I was 3 states away so there wasn't a whole lot I could physically do since I wasn't there. Thankfuly she has a lot of family around.
Best thing you can do is wait until they are ready to talk. You've done the first step that you can. You've offered your condolences and offered any help they may want from you.
Offering to help get her cleaning done, make meals to bring over, offer to baby sit if they want the other children to have a break from the house.
You may need to phrase your offers more direct. Like specifically ask if they would like you to come over and help with their laundry. Asking a blanket "can I help with anything" may be met with them saying no because they are so overwhelmed that they can't think of anything, even if they need it.
You can get a gift like a pendant with the baby's birth stone or something else personal for the family and mother to keep.
This is the website my friend started, as well as the charity group she started. It has some great things written about infant loss if you want to look at it
So sorry for her loss. It is always heartbreaking.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Be there for her emotionally and follow her cues on what to talk about and what to avoid. Don't say you understand or I am sorry for your loss. It hurts more when someone doesnt' acknowledge that this was your baby and their existence. Also be very careful about what you say---Look at the do's and don'ts of infant loss. You will find good resources there to help you. Definitely love on her and her family. Offer to take her kids for a few hours to go play while she rests or spends alone time with her husband. Be prepared for unexpected outbursts of strong emotion or a big variance.

The best way you can help her is :

Tell her you love her.
You are so sorry her baby passed away(if you know the name, you can say it)
You are there to listen or do anything they need.
Follow through with it. If she doesn't want help now or doesn't know what would be helpful, offer to do laundry, make meals for the family, be there physically to support her and listen. I would encourage the other friends to get a meal system going for the family--also housework and help with the children. is a good free resource to arrange help for meals.

I am so sorry your friend's baby passed. I have an angel baby and I understand what heartwrenching pain she is in. The pain never goes away, you just learn to cope with it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

She needs time to grieve. Let her know you are there but give her family some time together. This happened to a friend of mine. There are no words. Arrangements will probably need to be made. Cook some meals
Does she have a supportive family? This is one situation where you feel helpless. Just go one day at a time. So sorry. Prayers for the family.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

There is an organization called "now i lay me down to sleep". The hospital may even already contacted them. When my nephew passed away at 21 days, they came and took very tasteful pictures (she may want a nice outfit and blanket). They also took plaster molds of his feet and a name card from Things Remembered with his name and dates. I also had a Christmas ornament made with his name on it last year (hard to believe its been a year already). She told me when she got out the ornaments she was so glad to have it (i get my girls and nephews ornaments each Christmas).

There is no manual on how to deal with this and every one deals differently....just be open and take her queues. My brother and sil like to talk about the baby, he was real and here for only a short time (he was hospitalized at 5 days so we didn't get to know him)....they like to know he wasn't forgotten.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Oh my gosh...
At least you are in communication with the Husband.
For as much as he can communicate or tell you things... being in this situation.

One thing to watch out for is: if Depression due to grief, is occurring. I don't know if you can, but give the Husband a head's up, he will need to look out for himself and his Wife, per her well being.

Grief, is a multistage process.
When my Dad died, my Mom, found a "Grief Support Group" which was for ANYONE going through a loss of any kind. It helped her immensely because everyone there was going through the same thing, and thus, they could commiserate and grieve, without feeling they had to put on a "brave face." It offered my Mom, needed support, which was beyond what me or my family could do for her. So that is one tip.

Also, they may not want visitors at all.
At all.
It is a very lonely and sad time. A person does not even know how... to "grieve." They have to find their way. But yes, offer them whatever support they want/need/can manage to ask for. Many in this position don't even know... what help to ask for. Or they may not ask for help because it is a very lonely and sad thing. But yet, they may want to be alone. Just as a couple and need "privacy."

Helping with their kids, will probably be nice. But they have their Grandparents too. And the kids may want to be with their family, too.

My friend, lost a baby in the last trimester too. She had to, go through the "birth" process despite her baby being not alive. But she didn't tell anyone, until much later and until then she and her Husband just did not socialize for a bit. It was hard.

My own Mom, lost a baby at birth. It was stillborn. The Doc, did not know. In those days well, medical knowledge was not like it is today. She went through a lot of emotional trauma during that time, blaming herself etc. But it was not her fault, of course. And she also had to put up with relatives/people, being "nosy" about it and telling her what she should have done different etc. while pregnant. Which of course, they thought they were being "helpful" but is in actuality very rude and cruel to a woman who lost her baby. Every Mom does the best they can and know how, while pregnant. But a woman may go through stages of blaming, herself.

I had a miscarriage once. But that cannot compare to what your friend has lost. But even for me, I did not want to talk to anyone about it. I had to, meander through it by myself, with my Husband, only. I did not want anyone telling me anything or doing anything "for" me. That was my, way. Even my Husband, had a very difficult time... talking about it and dealing with it. But it took months, to adjust to and to feel "normal" again.

I would think, that after your friend's surgery... they would want to be by themselves. Calling people about it... would probably be a very hard thing for them to do... and they will call or the Husband will call... when he is up to it.

Grief is a very hard thing. Especially for a baby that was lost at this stage.

Tread carefully... go by their... cues.
Listen to their cues... carefully. Because in this situation, people are not real articulate nor succinct in their communication. They may not want to be "rude" and say "no" to people who offer them help, but so they may just accept and go along with it, even if they are uncomfortable with it. I was like that. For example.

See what the Husband says. Then proceed.

The best thing you can do is to let them be.
But say you are there for them. But don't push.
And be observant to if any depression is occurring.

One thing I might add: When I had a miscarriage... the LAST thing I wanted to do was to be around people, even my closest friends. Why? Because, being around people meant, that I had to talk about it, or remember it... over and over and over and over and over and over again... repeatedly, each time I was around a friend or on the phone with someone, or in the company of others. And that was not something I needed nor wanted to do. For me, I had to just be by myself. Only with my Husband. The last thing I wanted was to be on the phone. I needed quietude etc.
Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm so sorry, I can't imagine the pain she is going through.

I've not been in this situation... However, when my daughter was 4 and active in preschool, her best friend died of a brain anyurism and all of us in the tight knit group were crushed.

All I can say is to be there to listen, not push and just let her know you are there for her.

This is something that's lasts forever with your friendship. We are stil friends... But it still hurts like crazy because we all realize that her daughter is not here today and we other moms who have been great friends have children who will graduate from high school in June of 2013.

We celebrate our children's upcoming graduation, senior year , etc but we also feel an empty spot in our heart for the little girl we all lost that day. hard. Just be there for I can't imagine the pain I have witnessed and felt for this family.

Just let this mom know you love her unconditionally and you can get through it, but you'll never forget.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I feel so sorry for your friend and her family, and am so grateful that she has a friends like you and your group! I haven't experienced exactly what your friend has experienced, but I have had several miscarriages, my niece died of SIDS, and a close friend of mine lost her baby at 25 week.

Each person grieves differently so really follow her cues and there is nothing wrong with saying something like you don't know what to do but are there for her. Making meals, cleaning and keeping up w the laundry, and volunteering to take her kid's are a huge help. What my sister said was so NOT helpful and condescending was people telling her that it was "God's will," or he's in a better place, or that you understand how hard this is. We all can only imagine how hard this is, but we are not her so cannot begin to understand how she is feeling. Also, lots of people are afraid of silence so they say not helpful and silly stuff just to fill the silence and thing they are being supportive.

There are support groups that are helpful with dealing with loss of a child.

Empty Cradle is a organization that I went to after my last miscarriage. It is in San Diego but there used to be a support group somewhere in the North County.

Compassionate Friend's in another one that I know.

Sending love and prayers your way....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Leave meals.
sympathy cards
continue to let them know you are there.
brush up on things not to say to those grieving a loss. Things that invalidate the grief: "God needed another angel" and " this is God's plan" and "at least you have other children".

Learn the right things to say to validate what they feel:
"this is not okay"
"this is not fair"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I had a work friend who went through this. They asked everyone to respect their privacy and that is what we did.

My dear friends, very close, lost a baby through a failed adoption. They were at the hospital awaiting delivery when the mother changed her mind. I know this isn't the same as a death, but for my friends it felt exactly like a still birth. I sent them a gift certificate for a local nursery and wrote a note hoping they would plant a tree to remember this child that was not to be. They planted the tree and it has really given them a way to reflect on this loss and that helped.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Reno on

Maybe each of you in your group could make her family a meal so that's one thing she won't have to worry about.
You can also offer to take her kids for an afternoon or evening over the next couple of weeks.
You can sit and cry with her. Sometimes no words are necessary.
She is lucky to have friends who care so much about her and her family.



answers from Los Angeles on

That exact thing happened to me--I lost a baby girl at
38 weeks. I have lots of advice for you, as a friend. I would be happy to talk to you, as it is too much to write. Could you give me your email address, where I could email you my phone number.



answers from Los Angeles on

The best thing to do is listen. Do nothing. Say nothing. Just listen.

I have a friend who went to the hospital in labor and within an hour, there was no heartbeat. She was sad, obviously, but is now 15 years past that and there is no saddness, just matter of fact discussion.

I also have another friend whose son died suddenly in the middle of the night. He was 7 years old.

All I ever do in situations like this is just hug them and tell them that there are no words. I explain that my silence is not me being uncaring, rather just me wanting to be whatever they need at that moment....and that so many well-meaning people say really stupid things.

There are local photographers who donate their time for parents with newborns who haven't survived.

I am soooo sorry.

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