We’ve always tried hard to offer affordable and beautiful baby loss jewellery. Below is some information on keeping a memento after the death of a baby, or pregnancy ends, which can be used whether you choose to order with us or another artist.
Here are some of the pieces we’ve had the honour of making for baby loss clients including miscarriage memorials and some including elements such as locks of hair, hair with vernix, fabric with newborn vernix and blood, cremation ash, umbilical cord and cord stump, feathers and flowers from a funeral and other items. Please note we aren’t offering pro bono pieces at the moment but please get in touch as we may be able to offer discount.
Acquiring Placenta and Umbilical Cord
If you are pregnant and your baby is poorly or will be born sleeping it is unlikely that the hospital will allow you to keep the whole placenta. You can usually ask to keep a walnut sized amount of placenta and/or a small 2-3ccm piece of umbilical cord for jewellery. You can take an ice block and insulated bag with you if possible (planned delivery), to put the cord in and give it to a loved one to take home that/the next day. They may need to check the entire placenta first but ask them not to use chemicals on the piece you are keeping. You must promise not to consume this (such as a placenta smoothie) as this is not recommended if your baby has been poorly.
It can be left at room temperature but too long and it might not be pleasant to dry or work with. Please ask a midwife to help and perhaps show them this page so they can help preserve a piece. If you’re about to or have just delivered you’re welcome to call me, Nikki on 0117 329 2197
Do not allow the piece to have any chemicals on it, please
Cord/placenta Preservation for Baby Loss Jewellery*
It can be placed in your freezer where it can stay until you are physically well enough to do the next stage, if you aren’t emotionally ready please ask a friend or midwife to read this to help you. If you are near Bristol, UK, I will come myself to help.
Keep the raw placenta/cord out of the fridge no more than 5 hours, and in the fridge no more than 4 days. You can freeze it any length of time for making keepsakes so this is best. Once frozen it can be kept there until you are ready for the next stage. Please do not send them to us raw.
Instructions for drying umbilical cord
1. Defrost the cord somewhere safe away from pets, perhaps in a little bowl on a high shelf
2. Put your oven on the lowest setting it will go, perhaps 50 degrees celsius. Leave the door open a little bit so it’s not too hot (if it opens down you can prop it open with a wooden spoon)
3. Rinse your baby’s cord and pat it dry and cut it into pieces if you like. Then put it on some baking parchment on a shelf in the oven and leave to dry for 4 to 8 hours. It will still be a little bendy because of the Wharton’s jelly inside it but it but it will be very light and dry.
4. Keep half in a safe place and send the other half in the kit, which will arrive a week or so after you order. Follow the rest of the Sending Elements instructions when you have your order number so we can make your keepsake.
If you aren’t able to get the cord to a freezer then you can pack it in salt or cover it completely in alcohol. A small bottle of vodka would work, although this could post a fire risk when dehydrating. Please don’t use any chemicals on it because it could be hazardous when drying the piece.
Acquiring Baby’s Hair
If your baby is with you still you can ask a midwife to help you. If they are being cared for ready to be laid to rest or cremated then mortuary workers, we’ve found, are wonderful at collecting the right amount without it being visible. We understand how important it is that their skin isn’t damaged by it and we can work with very small amounts. When you send in the hair in a sending kit we’ll need you to keep half back, and what we receive we try to only use half of, before sending photos of the pieces to check you like the colours etc. It really does make our work a lot easier and less stressful if you can provide a good amount if possible.
Baby’s Cremation Ashes
The crematorium may have a special way to cremate small babies, although this will be more expensive. For an early loss, like Nikki’s, there may not be enough to keep or your baby may be cremated with others. Sometimes you may be allowed to keep some of the ashes from a joint cremation, so it is worth asking. We weren’t allowed, and came to peace with this knowledge and accepted we couldn’t have changed it.
For a second trimester loss you may be given the option to include some items with your baby such as clothes, stuffed animals and photographs. This can help give you a little more ashes if you wanted to spread some or give other family members some ash. Some families like to put some ash in when planting a rose, some people choose ash teddy bears, some choose beautiful urns or make them themselves and some people put the ashes somewhere safe. How you choose to keep them is as unique as your baby.
We had one client whose dog passed away where the pet crematorium sealed the urn but we haven’t heard of this being done with human ashes. If you’d like to keep some for a memento from us you can ask the crematorium to separate some out or you can do it yourself any time afterwards. We only need, at most, half a teaspoon which is more than enough for a family order (several pieces). I’ve worked with just seven grains of cremation ashes and find that less is sometimes more. The resin will magnify the ash. Some companies ask for several tablespoons full which is not necessary, and some resin artists mix the ash into resin before pouring but we pour the resin into the mould first then add ashes as necessary.
Other Keepsakes From Stillborn Babies
Midwives are usually able to help take photos, footprints and handprints, casts etc. Please ask what they have available. If you have a few days available you can order from Amazon with Prime delivery.
We are always happy to offer discounts on pieces for disabled and low-income families, NHS staff, charity trustees and we will always do discounts on family memorial orders.
*These instructions are not intended to preserve the umbilical cord or placenta for consumption. They are only for preservation to be made into keepsakes.