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March 31, 2014

You’re Not Alone

Dr. Ivy Margulies has founded Angels Born Still to offer grieving families a place for grief support with a profound approach to healing so that emotional closure after a stillbirth can be possible.

Dr. Margulies is first dedicated to improving the care and information families need at the hospital. The heightened emotional moments after stillbirth, or miscarriage, compel families who are in shock to make profound decisions they may later regret. Hospitals are often impersonal and rush families into action affording them only a few hours to spend with their deceased infant. The policy of some hospitals is to take the baby to the morgue right away and the first time a parent actually sees their baby is in the cold and impersonal experience of the morgue. Although others will allow the baby to stay with its parents for a limited amount of time, some will also allow as much time as you need. There is little consistency to draw on and Angels Born Still is available to help you navigate these difficult moments that honor the baby, the family and this sad event.

Dr. Margulies is a certified death midwife. Death midwifery is an ancient practice yet the term “death midwife” is relatively new. Just as a birth midwife assists the family in the transition of bringing a new life into the world a death midwife assists and helps educate the family on processes associated with the transition of life into death, at any age.

The work Ivy does is designed to create a sacred space for parents who have lost their newborn for reasons that are unknown and make no sense. She interacts with the mother and her partner to offer council and loving attention around their loss and guides the family in after death care of the infant body; empowering families to create personal and deeply meaningful funerals, wakes and memorials at home that can honor the life that has been tragically and suddenly taken from them.

Up until a century ago, home funerals were the norm. The modern business of the funeral industry often creates an impersonal experience for a family. The goal of Angels Born Still is to reclaim the ritual and offer an understanding of death as something to be revered, not feared.

Ivy will help you to make the right decision for your family as relates to the final disposition of the body and whether to do a traditional burial, cremate or explore the option of a ‘green’ burial. The work Ivy does elevates the traditional funeral home because of its personalization and empathy. When there is a stillbirth, or an infant dies in the hospital, parents are not aware of their legal rights; that they can take their baby home for three days and conduct a memorial that allows them the time to fully say their loving goodbyes.

Our culture today is conditioned to being death phobic, grief illiterate and fearful of death. We often fear seeing it, holding it, touching it and being with it. Death can often be viewed as morbid and not part of the circle of life that it is. Angels Born Still believes in the sanctity of the life cycle and helps to reconnect us to the natural rituals associated with death and dying. No matter what stage a life is taken; an embryo, an infant, a child, a young person or an adult, death is a universal connection.

It is not fair in a modern world like ours to have stillbirths, yet there is one every 21 minutes in the United States. With every one of those tragic events there is a mother who needs loving guidance and support during those dark hours, days and months following this unbearable heart wrenching experience. Mothers and their families need death support, grief support and compassion. They need to be held emotionally and physically and to know they are loved because although their child may have been stillborn, they are still born and they matter.

Infant Home Funeral


A stillborn’s Home Funeral allows the parents to have intimate, quality time with their son, giving them time to accept and to let go. Running time 4 mins.

Graciously shared by Rev. Olivia Bareham, death midwife and founder of Sacred Crossings. She believes we need to reclaim the lost art and healing ritual of a home funeral, as do I. This is a quote taken from Emma, the mother who experienced a stillbirth, and decided to have a home funeral for her son, Darrius. “Livvi (Olivia Bareham) helped us to do everything we could have done to send our son in peace and with our blessings and love. We formed the beginning and the end of the circle around him, and in a way that we have no regrets; nothing was left undone, and even though I still feel his loss as much as I did that first moment, I have peace, because everything we did with and for him was of love and sacredness. The value of that is beyond words, a treasure I can recall every time I remember that very special day.”


stillbirthday

Things to consider when you are told your baby has died or will die:

  • TAKE YOUR TIME
  • Hold your baby.
  • Call your family and friends.
  • Ask to room in with the baby away from any rooms where you will hear other baby’s crying.
  • Call Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep for photographs 720-283-3339 www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org
  • Call Dr. Ivy Margulies 310-850-1330 or another specialist in your area for support and guidance.
  • Ask for a memory box, foot print and hand print, lock of hair, baby blanket, baby hat, etc.
  • You probably have also named your baby by now. Be sure to tell the hospital staff as soon as possible so all documents can have your baby’s name listed.
  • You can give your baby a bath and dress them in a special outfit.
  • It may seem odd at first but you can read a story or sing a lullaby to your baby.
  • You can have your baby christened or blessed while in the hospital.
  • Ask for a “comfort cot” if the hospital offers them, they help keep the infant’s body cool.
  • Ask for ice packs, if there are no comfort cots, to keep the baby cool if you plan to spend over 24 hours in the hospital.
  • Consider taking the baby home for a home funeral, keep ice packs around and under the infant’s body at home. This can still be done if you ask for an autopsy. The hospital can put a onesie or onepiece on the baby and you will not see anything that has been done.
  • Plan memorial service.
  • Send out ‘born still’ announcements.
  • Seek a support group in person and/or online.

 

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