The tiniest of blankets for the tiniest of babies. In our continued efforts to provide support and resources to the families affected by pregnancy loss, we are putting together care packages - including wraps for the smallest of the small.
Some families will use these wraps for their babies' remains, while others might choose to add them as keepsakes to memorial boxes or books. The difficult reality for some mothers who endure first trimester loss is that they pass fetal remains at home - or even while at work or doing errands - and they are often unsure what to do. While everyone must make personal decisions, we have heard from so many who say things such as:
I wish I would have known.
I didn't even have a baby blanket picked out yet.
I didn't know what to do.
For these mothers, the flannel wraps can provide a comforting way to collect the remains before making arrangements with the funeral home. These flannel wraps have a moisture resistant liner and ribbon ties. The wraps are also small enough to tuck inside a baby book or scrapbook if parents just want to use them as reminders of their littlest angels.
We'll keep you posted with more pictures and updates of the care packages as we get ready to deliver them to care providers. A heartfelt thanks to volunteers like Patty who are helping us get all of this ready - so far 140+ of these small wraps - and 50+ for second trimester losses.
We can't go back and undo the loss. As much as we pray, beg, and plead, we can't change the road we traveled when we heard those words - "There is no heartbeat". But we can make a difference for all of the families who we know will unfortunately be the 1 in 4 who endure the loss of a child in pregnancy - and Wings of Hope needs your help!
Unfortunately, we too often hear of stories from moms and dads who said they wish they would have known... The information often comes too late, if at all, for what to expect and how to do things such as collect the remains of your child, arrange for the remains to go to the mortuary if chosen, collect keepsake information of your child, and more.
We are in the preliminary stages of putting together care packages for these families, hopefully to be distributed by medical staff, midwives, and caregivers. Examples of items we are considering adding to these packages include:
Every situation is different, and not all moms will have remains, want to consider this option, or feel comfortable doing things such as take measurements. What we want to do is let moms know that they can if they want to take these steps. We don't want to keep hearing stories of I wish I would have known...
Please help us by sharing what you wish you would have known... what resources you wish were available in a do-over.
We can't turn back the clocks on our own losses, but we can help make sure that the next mom who endures this loss has the tools and resources she needs.
Comment here on our blog, on Facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As our committee continues to plan for the Evening of Remembrance on May 11th at 6:00 pm and meet with the pastor who will lead, the musicians, and members of the community who are assisting, we carry all of you who will be attending in our hearts and thoughts.
We understand that you might have questions about what to expect from the Evening of Remembrance, especially if you are a family who will be burying or honoring a child. The following are some of the details you might be wondering about - but might not know how to ask. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
507-519-0158 (ask for Chris - Wings of Hope Chair)
As we get ready for another Evening of Remembrance and a second Design & Wine fundraiser, we want to take this time to thank everyone for the continued support of Wings of Hope. We have come so far since those painted outlines on the grass and dreams on the dry erase board in our committee meeting.
We still have much to do - and more goals to reach. This includes approximately $3000 to finish paying for the memorial, the annual costs for engraved markers with the month and year of the common burial (with one marker between two burial plots), monthly expenses for printing brochures and other materials, expenses associated with each Evening of Remembrance, candlelight vigil, and other events, and goals and projects to further the mission of Wings of Hope. These include things like donations of Cuddle Cots to the local hospitals - so families can have as much time saying hello to their little ones before they have to say a final good-bye.
How can you help Wings of Hope?
There are several ways you can help us meet our needs and reach our goals.
We are continuing to plan our next Evening of Remembrance, and want to share more of the details with you. Pastor Michael Omtvedt, from Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, will be leading our service for the evening. The service is ecumenical – and will include music, prayers, special readings, and reflection. Musicians for the service will be vocalist Amy Kuch and guitarist Pam Schultze.
We will have limited seating available at the site. You are free to bring your own lawn chairs or stand for the service (we anticipate approximately 30 minutes). Following the service we invite you to join us for light refreshments at the site.
No matter where or when pregnancy loss occurs – there are physical, mental, and emotional issues facing mothers. We have heard from so many moms who just did not feel that they understood what it was going to be like – enduring a miscarriage at home – which only made this time in their lives all the more painful.
Sometimes referred to in the medical community as expectant management, waiting for a miscarriage to occur at home after the doctor has delivered the devastating news that your child has died is like waiting on a lonely road for a deadly car crash you know will happen before your eyes. You feel helpless and out of control. Many women are sent home from medical offices with condolences and instructions to call the office after passing large clots, or prepare to experience what will feel like a heavy menstrual cycle with cramping.
Too often we just don’t know how to actually prepare – and respond.
So – let’s change that.
For mothers who choose, Wings of Hope does offer the common burial option for babies who die earlier than 20 weeks gestation. You can request a moisture-proof container from your physician for the purposes of transporting your child’s remains to the mortuary. Small, waterproof containers you might have at your home can work as well You must call the Mankato Mortuary (Riverfront Drive location) to make arrangements and this will include signing a release form to participate in the burial option.
Please let us know what questions you have - let's keep the conversation going in our efforts to provide the resources we know women in our community need!
There are many tough questions - and answers - families often face when experiencing pregnancy loss. The following are some of the most common questions we hear about the common burial program offered through Wings of Hope. Please let us know what other questions you might have about this program, or other aspects of Wings of Hope. We need your help to make this organization as beneficial as possible for families in Southern MN.
What is a common burial? The phrase common burial in terms of pregnancy loss before 20 weeks gestation refers to burying more than one set of remains together in one burial vault. Babies lost after 20 weeks gestation are not allowed in MN to be buried in the same vault.
What does it cost to participate in the common burial? Wings of Hope, in conjunction with Calvary Cemetery, Mankato Mortuary, and other supporters, help to provide the burial at no cost to families. We rely on donations, paver orders, and fundraisers to support the services of Wings of Hope.
Do I have to buy a paver if I have my child’s remains buried at the site? No. The engraved pavers do offer many families a tangible way to honor the lives of their children. The pavers are also opportunities for family, friends, and community members to help support these families and Wings of Hope.
When are the burials at the memorial site? We currently have them scheduled for twice each year – the 2nd Thursday in May and the 1st Tuesday in October – at 6:00 p.m.
Where are the common burial plots? The plots encircle the central Wings of Hope statue and walkway. They will be marked with the date (month and year) of common burial.
How are my child’s remains buried? If you choose to participate in the Wings of Hope common burial service, representatives from Mankato Mortuary will respectfully place your child’s remains into a burial vault. We have a dear volunteer who sews burial blankets that enclose remains individually. The vault is sealed and then buried after the remembrance service.
*The information presented here are not intended to provide or replace legal or medical advice or regulations.
We have rituals for many things in life - weddings, funerals, baptisms, and more - and during those times we look to our faith leaders. For families experiencing pregnancy loss, we are not always sure about what kind of ritual we need to say goodbye, we just know we need something.
We are so thankful to Fr. John Kunz of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and Pastor Brad Jackson of Crossview Covenant Church for their leadership at the Evening of Remembrance. They comforted, prayed, offered words of reflection, and helped to provide that needed way to say goodbye.
It is our hope that in the future, other faith leaders from the community will also step forward to help lead the ecumenical services at the memorial.
Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark. ~ George Iles
For a woman who experiences the heartache of a miscarriage, that heartache is often intensified when she is forced to ask herself how to care for the remains of her child. There is typically no standard path or protocol provided by the medical community, the first resource we look to when we experience a death.
When the Wings of Hope committee began to put the pieces together for the memorial site, one of the most significant pieces we knew we needed in place was a resource for these women. And when we first approached Mankato Mortuary we honestly were just not sure how our request would be received.
It was at that very first meeting, however, that Mankato Mortuary stepped forward and stepped up – agreeing to work with us in offering these services that had not yet been offered in the Greater Mankato community. Women who experience a miscarriage before 20 weeks gestation can contact the mortuary to make arrangements for the remains of the children they have lost, even for first trimester losses.
These remains will be cared for with dignity at the mortuary until the time of common burial at the Wings of Hope memorial site. For those who do want to participate in the common burial for the remains of their child, the mortuary is still available as a resource to work with them to make private arrangements.
We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Mankato Mortuary. Without their support for Wings of Hope, families across our region would still be lacking in much needed resources. Because of their support, the heartache and needs of families are met with empathy and compassion.
The members of our committee have all been on the journey of pregnancy loss, but in different ways. Learn more about why they are all so passionate about bringing awareness and comfort to families who lose a child during pregnancy.