Experiences from parents and health care professionals.
Wonderful, personal stories.
Because they are personal, we ask you not to share them online.
"10 fingers, 10 toes.. I counted them all, and I admired them"
I was over 9 weeks pregnant with our 3rd child when I came across this website by accident. I didn’t want to see it somewhere, but something caught my curiosity. I was very impressed with the method, in a way I even liked it. Although of course I never hoped to experience it, I liked the fact that there was such a thing for people who did meet this fate. It moved me.
What I could not suspect at the time was that I would become one of these fellow sufferers a week later. I went to the gynecologist for something small and he decided to do an ultrasound to see the term of the pregnancy. I will never forget the silence that fell…
Unfortunately, our child had died very recently. They also saw some small deviations on the ultrasound. The first thing such a doctor says to you as a mother is: there was nothing you could do about this … there was something wrong with your baby and nature intervened. I thought this statement was such an incredible clincher at the time. I was intensely sad … how could this be?
It was a miscarriage and the doctor gave me the choice to wait it out, generate it with pills or go straight for a curettage given the term. I didn’t have to decide right away and I really liked that. I decided to get over the first shock first and wait for the start of the delivery (I think miscarriage is a bad word). It seemed nice to get our baby, like the other 2 children, at home and to be able to say goodbye. Because I had seen this site this did not seem scary to me and I dared to do this. That week I regularly checked this website to prepare myself emotionally for what was to come, what I was going to see. After a week, I was ready and asked the doctor for the pills to induce labor. I asked the gynecologist on duty (not my own) what I could do best: bear in water or not. And she indicated that I had better keep her like this, she would perish in water…
The next day early in the morning a little angel was born at our home. How sad and proud I was at the same time. Proud that it all went well and we got the chance to say goodbye. And how small she was (I think it was a girl) I think she was just 3 cm tall and so very delicate. She was on my hand and it was no more than a little dark mess. You saw 2 eyes and a hand and much more was not recognizable. I decided to hold her for a while and then put her in the bowl of water that was already ready. I was convinced by this site that it was the best and I couldn’t regret it.
I left her for a few hours to calmly get into shape. In the afternoon I went to see her and I was so moved. It had really become a mini baby! So beautiful to see… completely light pink, everything was visible. 10 fingers, 10 toes. I counted and admired them all. My husband also liked to watch. What immediately struck me is that our baby deviated from the photos I had seen. I had the impression that she had a cleft lip (cleft lip) because her face was not closed, her belly was not closed and there was a hole in her head.
Seeing this, the words of the gynecologist: “There was something wrong with your baby and nature has intervened” suddenly became so much more valuable. I saw with my own eyes how wrong it was, and that we were spared an impossible choice. We have taken beautiful pictures of our child extensively and one is even just on our cupboard.
Two days after birth I had a follow-up check-up with the gynecologist. I had taken our baby because I wanted to show her to the doctor, see if he could confirm my suspicions.
He was very impressed. He informed his assistant that he rarely saw the children so well preserved, then started thinking deeply and said: I think I read something about this recently! He immediately confirmed that there were visible abnormalities and offered to send our baby for examination. However, the idea that I would no longer see or be able to bury her bothered me. He then offered to make an appointment with the Clinical Geneticist and asked me to take good, detailed pictures of the baby and take them with me.
We had our child up for 4.5 days in water. Those days she was in the fridge. 4.5 days I could say goodbye, count fingers and toes and talk to her. She even went to see grandpa and grandma, and even her great-grandmother saw her. The older sisters have also seen the baby. Everyone liked that this was possible. Because they too were all looking forward to a grandchild / brother / sister. On the 4th day we made a nice final resting place for her and buried her, along with her placenta.
A few weeks later, we received the call from the Clinical Geneticist and were allowed to consult with the photos. They took the time for us to indicate that our baby may have Trisomy 13 based on the findings. This made us eligible for a chromosome study.
We now have the results of this and luckily they were good. Both of us are not carriers of a chromosome abnormality. So we really couldn’t do anything about it. Because there is a slight chance of recurrence, we are eligible for more tests in the event of a subsequent pregnancy.
Without the watermethod, we might never have figured out why things went wrong. We were also able to say goodbye. All this has given me so much peace that I have endured the loss of our baby well and have been able to process it and give it a place.
The grief will have to wear out, but fortunately I still have her photos.
Our baby is presumably deceased at 9 weeks 4 days, born at 11 weeks 4 days.
"We were really able to keep the children with us this way and took beautiful pictures"
It was Thursday March 12, 2015, I was over 16 weeks pregnant and I didn’t feel very well. Not that I was bothered by anything specifically, but it just didn’t feel right. I called the gynecology clinic to discuss my concerns and they could reassure me, I did not have to come over because I had a check-up appointment again on Monday. So we went into the weekend and my unrest ebbed away. That Monday we drove to the hospital and I said that I could finally enjoy it a bit, the idea that we would have two children at the same time. Until then I found it especially exciting, such a high-risk pregnancy, but at last I was able to let that go a bit.
The moment the sonographer placed the head of the ultrasound machine on my stomach and she said, “Are you watching?” to her collegue, I already felt and saw that it was wrong. Our two children were still in my stomach, no heartbeat and no more movement. The moment after that, we experienced it in a daze. We were taken care of by a gynecologist on duty who asked me when I wanted to give birth. “In August …” I said, because if I had reached August I would have passed the 37 weeks …
The birth took place on Wednesday March 18 and in hindsight we couldn’t have made a better choice. The delivery was induced with tablets and we spent that day mainly waiting in the delivery room. It could take longer than 24 hours if we were unlucky. During the afternoon there was a change of shift, the evening shift of nurse and midwife came to introduce themselves. We had a brief introduction chat when the new midwife told us about the watermethod and asked if we wanted to see some pictures. We were deeply impressed, it looked beautiful…
Our two boys were finally born that evening around 7:30 PM. We did indeed put them in containers of water and were therefore able to view them well and keep them with us. The onset of the eyebrows, the nails … everything was already there. They were completely complete and only had to grow. We could touch them, rest their hands on our finger and see them up close. The nurse suggested that they put them together in one bowl of water, as they had been sitting in my stomach. We were really able to keep the children with us this way and took beautiful pictures.
During the day we had already chosen a heart-shaped box to put the boys in together. When we lifted them out of the water and placed them in the box, it suddenly became clear that they were far from viable. As perfect as they looked in the water, they faded and deformed so quickly when they were in the box. And the special thing was: that was not so bad. We had had wonderful hours together admiring them from the water and that is the memory that has remained.
We went home feeling very peaceful and warm. What a beautiful way we could have done this and how lucky we were that we “happened” to be confronted with the watermethod. We were able to show nice pictures of those children that we were proud of and wanted to talk about to caring family and friends. That also supported us so much. Everyone was deeply impressed by the photos, they were loved and that is good to hear if you gave birth to these children.
We can already say for a long time that this loss has been given a place and in my opinion the watermethod has played a very important role in this. On the day itself, but also in the period after that, the beautiful images of the children in water really supported me. Those are also the memories I have of this farewell. I am deeply grateful to have such beautiful images on my mind when I think back to this sad event.
Chrissy van Rijn
You can find the pictures of Chrissy’s twins here.
"His arms and hands for his little face, just as we saw on the ultrasounds"
Thijs in the water, our experience with the watermethod
We, as parents, are very happy to share our experience with the water method, with which we were able to say goodbye to our son Thijs in a beautiful way, together with our son Faas of almost 3 years old and our family. Born June 17, 2017, after 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Thijs, who we then called “the baby”, had a beautiful heartbeat with all the ultrasounds and looked good. But was not viable with this period outside the uterus … Because the membranes were broken and there was almost no amniotic fluid, Thijs could no longer grow and his organs could not develop.
We had several days to think. What do we want, what don’t we want? How do we want that? And is that possible? One of the nurses also mentioned the watermethod. A method in which you put your deceased baby in the cold water after birth. There was no experience with this method at the Maasziekenhuis Pantein in the Netherlands, but there was enthusiasm among a number of people to give it a try. On the basis of knowledge from a number of articles and the website www.watermethod.nl, we eventually applied the method together.
Thijs was born and we wanted nothing more than to keep him with us as soon as possible. We held him close to us in the somewhat clumsy large cloth and saw his chest move. The feeling and the thought that he has been ‘really’ with us for a few hours is very beautiful. After he was weighed and measured and that the midwife and nurse made plaster casts of his hands and feet, we put him, together in our room, in a glass round vase with ice-cold water. It was so special to see how quickly his dark red, brown color changed to a very natural baby pink. It’s wonderful how his body immediately returned to the fetal position in the water. His arms and hands for his little face, just as we saw on the ultrasounds. His body suddenly became even stronger and firmer in the water. It was not strange to see. Sometimes I thought, it’s a bit scientific, “a biology teacher would be jealous of it,” we joked. But for me that was really a difference between mind and feeling. Your own child in a beautiful water bath very close to you, there is nothing scientific about that, that is pure feeling. It even felt very natural and beautiful. Thijs had the amniotic fluid he had lost in my stomach back a little bit, a feeling of safety. His little toes and fingers with real nails on it were so beautiful to see in the water.
Through the glass vase we were able to view and touch Thijs very well from all sides. We marveled at how strong we were. Despite the emotional and intense situation, we still managed to eat. With Thijs very close to us, in our room in the water. Shortly after birth, we took many photos of our beautiful male. The pictures we made after the birth were very beautiful to us, but maybe less pleasant for others, such as family members or friends. Then we looked at the pictures of Thijs in the water. That looked so beautiful and natural. We dared to share these photos with family and friends.
Soon we made the decision that we really wanted to show Thijs to our son, our parents, brother, sisters, grandmother and friends who wanted to. There is a photo we took of Thijs; his hands in front of his face, on which you can see the fingers and nails very nicely. If you didn’t know better, you might think Thijs just sleeps well and will wake up again. We used this photo a lot and also sent it to people shortly after his birth via whatsapp or email. It feels very good to show your beautiful child to others in this way. And to show that an 18-week-old child is already a complete child. Those little nails illustrate that very nicely.
On the day Thijs was born our parents and our son Faas came to watch in the evening. We received many tips from the nurses on how to deal with this. Faas first met his brother Thijs. He looked at Thijs in the water and asked if Thijs would go swimming. He tapped the glass playfully. That level-headed toddler logic is very nice at such a moment. The three of us sat around the vase with our son and brother in it. We as parents were already a little used to this image and for Faas it seemed the most normal thing in the world, a brother in the water. After a minute of watching, he asked “are we going to play again, Mommy?” Grandpa and the grandmothers thought it was very nice to be able to see and touch Thijs. Ten fingers with nails, ten toes, eyebrows, everything is there. A beautifully intact and so complete child.
That evening we sit on the couch with Thijs. The beauty of this method is that you can easily pick up your child and keep it with you. Because of the water, the skin no longer sticks and you can hug, kiss and when you want, you can put your baby back in the water. I kept the cloth in which we held Thijs with me for weeks. Now this cloth has a special place in our house. Outside it was thirty degrees that week. We thought it wise to opt for extra cooling at night. The first night, Thijs was cooled in the ward. That morning a nurse brought Thijs back to us, in the water. Together with her, we replaced the large blue belly button clamp with a string, making Thijs even more natural in the water.
We were allowed to go home and took Thijs home in our own car. Just out of the water but in the vase. On a cold compress in a sheet and at home immediately back in the cold water. We regularly switched to practical mode this week, even when we got home. I immediately filled five spring water bottles with water and put them in the refrigerator on the coldest setting. We took cooling elements from the freezer to put under the vase. In the middle of our living room we gave Thijs a very nice spot. Exciting in many ways, but especially the practical side was exciting. During this heat wave, how long could we keep Thijs with us like this? That was something no one could tell us. What was certain was that we should say goodbye this week. A few times a day we changed the water by taking Thijs out of the vase and putting new cold water in the vase. At night we put Thijs in the basement after a long doubt. We did not feel comfortable with the refrigerator. And although the basement also sounds very crude, that was a good solution for us, because it was the coolest place in the house.
It was nice to have Thijs very close to us and to be able to cuddle. To spend as much time as possible with Thijs in our midst. Everyone who has seen Thijs, both in the hospital and at our home, was amazed at the beautiful effect of the water. The same day one of my friends informed her colleagues from the hospital where she works about this method. A few weeks later, a protocol was also ready there for the use of water with stillborn children and this beautiful method was also used in this hospital.
In those days at home, Faas experienced it as normal that Thijs was with us in the water. I regularly took Thijs out of the water to cuddle or “sniff” as we did together. Also in the morning Faas asked if we were going to get Thijs. Faas showed Thijs his motorcycle toys and still sang “we will, we will rock you!” with passion, while he was standing next to Thijs. He also stroked Thijs once when I was sitting on the couch with our two boys. We bought a bear together with Faas in the shop. One for Faas and one for Thijs. However, the bears were not very interesting to Faas, he preferred to buy a car for Thijs. So we did that too. That one bear and that car are still in our living room. Thijs has the other bear and car with him. Faas occasionally takes the bear to cuddle. We have made a lot of photos and also videos with Thijs and Faas. Beautiful to see now, probably invaluable later. How nice that we were also allowed to use maternity care in this situation. This was also a special experience for our maternity nurse. She had never seen a child lying in water before. Just like our midwives. They took photos of Thijs to show colleagues how beautiful this watermethod is. It did and does us good to see the wonder of the beautiful effect of water, also among the professionals, family and friends. Where a maternity nurse usually takes care of a baby and maternity woman, that was a bit different in our case. It was nice to be able to talk to the maternity nurse about various matters and to leave the practical matters at home to her.
On Tuesday we decided that that evening, the two of us, would bury Thijs in our own garden. That night we buried Thijs, under a beautiful starry sky. The place where Thijs was in the water in our room is still a beautiful memorial. With the plaster casts, birth announcement and of course the beautiful photo of Thijs in the water.
This experience story was written by Maartje Kunen for the website www.watermethod.nl. Would you like to use my experience story in a different way, please feel free to contact me by email to the contact page.
"I could watch it for hours and I often wondered how small and complete our little one was"
In my midwifery training, I once got the tip to keep everything you lose in a miscarriage in the water so that you can better see what you have lost and whether it is complete.
So when our little one was born ( I was around 8 weeks gestational age) over 3 years ago, I put it directly in the water. I knew it would dry out very quickly otherwise, and I didn’t want it to. Our little one was so very welcome that I wanted to take the time to say goodbye consciously (this was our 3rd miscarriage) and the water method helped us a lot. I was amazed that our little one developed so beautifully in the water and that it was and remained so beautifully visible. Even after 3 days it was still admirable. I could watch it for hours and I often wondered how small and complete our little one was. And still I occasionally grab the photos, and in retrospect I am very happy with the watermethod. The most important thing about going through our 3rd miscarriage is that I was able to do it “my way”. That’s why, when I look back on it, I can weirdly say: I found the time so special that I would do it again!
In my work as a midwife I also advise others, both colleagues and clients, to put the baby in the water after a miscarriage. Unfortunately, so far I have not met many people who actually use the watermethod. It is, of course, everyone’s own choice, but it certainly helped us with the processing of the miscarriage. I am therefore very happy that the watermethod is becoming increasingly known! Long ago, I unexpectedly accompanied a woman who gave birth to a very small 20 week old child. I advised her to use the water method. But the hospital where she was under control did not think it was necessary. Later in the week I saw pictures of the baby in the basket and then I thought, what a shame that this baby was not in the water. Then it would have looked much nicer!
As far as I’m concerned, the watermethod may become widely known!!! And especially in hospitals, because I think it is definitely a great added value!
"So beautiful, we could show the baby to the other children"
How beautiful it was. The five of us expected a baby. Because the older children (14, 11 and 8) were very involved in the pregnancy, the shock that the child was no longer alive was also a shock for the five of us.
When I was in the hospital to give birth to this baby, I very much hoped that we could show the baby to the other children. But it had to be beautiful. It shouldn’t be a shock. When it was born it turned out to be a very beautiful undamaged child. How we admired this. And so beautiful, we could show the little one to the other children.
A day later, the baby appeared to have become even more beautiful. And when the children came home and we could show it, they also watched the child with admiration. Certainly the oldest, a boy of 14 was so impressed that he still says that he is so happy to have seen this. We know with our children that we have done well.
The feeling of pride for this baby was an unexpected feeling, but even the children had this feeling. Either way, this was a sibling (the gender was not entirely clear) of theirs.
You can find photos of Hanneke’s child here (13+5).
"Changing the water for us is like changing his bed"
After his birth he was really a corpse. By placing him in the water, he automatically went into the fetal position
and he became beautiful again. He looked much nicer. We have good memories. Changing the water for us is like changing his bed. And it is also good that the water changes color and starts to smell after some time. That helps to say goodbye. And that is good.
Now he is in our room forever in his butterfly urn. He belongs to us.
Angela and Ferry about their son Fynn
"Fenna was stillborn after 35 weeks of pregnancy"
Fenna was stillbornl after 35 weeks of pregnancy. Unfortunately, I could not find much information about the watermethod in full-term children, but I would like to tell our experience.
Because Fenna died a few days before her birth, there was a high risk of maceration and thus damage to her skin. After birth, her skin was indeed severely damaged, making her extremely fragile.
After her birth, Fenna was placed on my stomach, where she lay for more than two hours until the pediatrician came to examine her. At the time on my stomach, her skin was very sticky and the areas where her skin was damaged became very dark. Her head was very deformed, because the fontanels were all loose. This made it very difficult to touch or move her.
After the pediatrician examined her, a photographer of the make a memory foundation made pictures. We wrapped Fenna in a cloth before, where only her face was visible. Her mouth was open and the lips were dark.
At the end of the photo shoot we put Fenna in the water. We had bought a glass aquarium before, because in the hospital there were only trays for smaller children. In the water we immediately saw that the shape of her head came back and that her mouth closed. The dark spots also disappeared and she turned pink. She seemed to be sleeping… Fortunately we could touch her in the water without fear of damaging her skin.
Once at home we were able to have Fenna with us for another 5 days. In the water we could see her from all sides and her big brother helped to fill the bowl with fresh water every morning. For the nights we filled the tummytub with water and put it in a refrigerator. On the day of her funeral, we dressed her and placed her in the box. Then it was clear how good the water was, because once out of the water, Fenna’s body deteriorated. Her nails and lips darkened and her skin waxy white.
In the hospital they had some experiences with the watermethod and this was also encouraged, but parents of a full-term child always chose traditional methods. Our funeral director also had no experience with water storage. That is why we would like to increase awareness of the use of the watermethod in full-term children.
Hanneke and Marc
Click here for the pictures of Fenna (35 weeks)
"So special what water does to a baby ". Experiences of a mother and funeral caregiver.
Our daughters were born at 20 weeks and 5 days in the LUMC in Leiden, which meant they were not viable.
Denise, the photographer, said that we can lay our girls in water to keep them as beautiful as possible until the funeral.
Until we were in Apeldoorn, the girls lay in a basket (not in water).
The skin became a bit sticky and you saw with one of the girls that the skull already changed shape.
We discussed our idea about a keeping them in water with our funeral director Miranda. She had already lectured about it but had not yet applied this method herself. She went to find out for us how this worked in practice. She bought a simple plastic container, added ice cold tap water and put our girls in it. This tray was on a cooling with a cloth over it. A very natural, beautiful sight.
At first I found it very difficult to touch the girls in the water. My boyfriend did this pretty quickly.
Miranda went to our girls to change the water twice a day and see how they looked.
My wish was to keep the girls on my lap again, to hug them, what every mother would like to do with her baby. I asked Miranda if this was possible and she agreed. Together with her I then took our girls out of the water and I could hug them. Touching them was wonderful. Even the color of the girls improved a bit.
It gave me a lot of peace that this was still possible. Wow, how I enjoyed this!
The days after I dared to do this alone and was glad I asked this question. This was not only possible due to the water, but the touch of them also felt very pleasant. I think that if we had not opted for this watermethod, the skin would have been much more fragile and the holding / hugging would have been a completely different experience.
When people get into this sad situation, I definitely recommend them. This method should become much more widely known!
Funeral caregiver blog with link to the photos:
"A world of difference for parents ". Experience photographer.
I am Anneleen, midwife and co-founder of vzw Boven De Wolken (photographers of stillborn children). We are now almost 3 years old and photographing our little ones in Flanders has improved spectacularly since we convinced the midwives to use your method. It takes us a while in every hospital to convince the midwives but only 1 baby is needed and everyone can immediately see what the added value is! Just yesterday I photographed a 26 week baby in my own hospital who looked 10x better after a night in cold water! All stains had disappeared and the lips were nicely full again! So thank you! A world of difference for the parents.
"When welcoming and saying goodbye comes together. "Experiences of a funeral caregiver.
On February 7, 2017 we met Ilona during a training evening in Eerbeek, who talked about the water method. At that time, with IMA farewell care, we had been busy for three years welcoming and saying goodbye to babies who die during pregnancy or around birth. For the parents we help, this is a great opportunity to be able to say goodbye to their child.
It all sounded very valuable, but who would we dare ask? Shortly afterwards, a birth care worker lost her baby and we dared to ask her to consider the watermethod. She was immediately impressed and put her child in the water after birth. We were very moved by what we saw. A beautiful girl who turned lighter every day and became even more beautiful.
We have now guided many parents who have opted for the water method. The gestational age of the babies ranged from 14 to 35 weeks.
The frequently heard objections in advance were:
- I would like to be able to hold my baby. Is that possible in the water?
- I don’t want my baby in the fridge.
- I’m afraid our other child will have unpleasant feelings about this.
- Isn’t it going to look like fetuses on strong water?
The reactions during and after the water method were:
- I loved being able to view my child from all sides
- My baby was born very red and became increasingly pink
- When my baby was born the head was “dented”. That disappeared after a few days.
- Thanks to the water method, we were able to show our daughter to everyone because she became more beautiful by the day. This is so valuable. I couldn’t imagine this beforehand.
- We took our son out several times a day to hold and cuddle. We also took a lot of photos.
- Since our children were already in the water, it made sense to bathe them the last day. We then replaced the cold water with warm water and added some soap to the water. After their bath we wrapped them in their wipes and put them in their baskets.
- Our other son was coloring while the baby was on the table in his bowl of water. He could immediately show all drawings to his brother.
- The cooling elements and the changing of cold water (which we had put in the fridge beforehand) meant that the baby did not have to go in the fridge. That didn’t fit and I didn’t like the idea.
- The transition from the amniotic fluid to the bowl of water was so natural. Our daughter lay exactly as she was in the stomach.
We only found a container a bit chilly so we searched until we found a container that fit exactly in the basket. That looked very safe.
When welcoming and saying goodbye come together, it is very important to pay attention to both aspects. The water method is a very valuable way to welcome and get to know your child. In premature babies and babies who have died in the abdomen, the skin is often very fragile and dark in color. When these children are on a cooling, the skin often only darkens and dries quickly, making these children look somewhat sunken. Because the skin is so fragile, these babies are difficult to hold. The water method ensures that you can easily touch and hold your baby without damaging the skin. Parents often prefer to see their child pink instead of red. It is also nice to see that your child does not shrink a bit but rather becomes fuller.
Ruth van den Ijssel, Ima farewell care
"An empty stomach and a broken heart". Experience from 15 years ago, before the watermethod was known.
For years I have thought how this can be done differently. How I could make other parents’ grief more bearable. Parents are already having such a hard time. Unbearable to have to let go of your baby, especially in such a way.
Of course, in 15 years there has been a lot of positive change in how one as a professional should deal with this great grief of parents. Hand and foot prints are made, photos, special baskets, etc. Tangible, very valuable memory that benefits the processing of the loss.
Then I read the story about the watermethod. In a word fantastic! This must be applied everywhere, every hospital, every midwife, every maternity assistant must know this.
"She stayed so beautiful in the water, it felt pure but also dignified". Experience funeral director.
I attended your meeting on the water method a while ago and I am very impressed.
Earlier I was somewhat reluctant to advise parents because I had no experience with it.
Still, I was recently allowed to accompany a family to carry out the watermethod and although I found it very exciting, I was also very impressed.
A beautiful girl who was born at 23 weeks of pregnancy. She stayed so beautiful in the water, it felt pure but also dignified, because she was beautiful to look at instead of difficult to show to others… .the parents were so proud of their beautiful baby.
I have now experienced how beautiful the water method is and would like to let everyone know.
Marise den Oudsten, Fender funeral
"What a great option." Experience maternity nurse.
As aunt of a nephew who was born at 23 weeks, was put in a cardboard box with all the consequences, it is a pity that I did not know this 5 years earlier. As a maternity nurse (both at home and in hospital) I will certainly share this information!
What a great option (for a sad experience)…
Hopefully many more people will know about this soon!
Mariëlle Olyerhoek, maternity nurse