Several months after I lost Ruby in 2010, I assisted with a mortuary escort at one of the local hospitals I was working security for. I remember being called to meet the mortuary representative at the main entrance to the hospital. My heart sank because inside, I knew they were picking up a baby. Adults and children were always released at the dock because that’s where the morgue is but babies don’t leave the labor and delivery unit unless they are sent to pathology.
When I arrived, the man introduced himself as coming from the Arch Diocese. I am Catholic so I was familiar with the Arch Diocese and asked him who he was here to pick up. He explained he was here for a baby. He walked with me to pathology where the baby’s body was located.
As we walked, I asked him questions about this baby and what he was here to do. The baby, was only 12 weeks, and would be going to Mt. Olivet for a communal burial. He went on to explain that not all babies are large enough to be buried in their own plot and cannot be cremated (due to the water content) so families can have their babies buried for free at Mt. Olivet.
Oh how I wished I knew this was an option for me. I had no idea that this even existed. I would have preferred to have Ruby buried than tossed out with hospital waste. I didn’t think much more about this until recently after I became a bereavement doula. I want all of my clients to know they have this option.
I attended the communal burial service at Mt. Olivet in May. It was a beautiful service. 26 babies were laid to rest that morning. One family came to say goodbye. Families can have their baby’s name written on the stone for the plot where there baby is buried. Not all do this but it’s an option and it can be very comforting. Full term stillbirths receive their own plot and service.
The service was short and lovely. I could tell that everyone present was there to support the loss family.
The mother was given a bear from Lily’s Gift which is a local organization founded by another bereavement doula in training.
The angel beds are hand made by Pat Padia with St. Frances of Cabrini in Denver, Colorado. I met Pat for the first time during this burial service. She has such a large heart. She also brought knitted outfits that the babies were dressed in. Smaller babies, like Ruby, would have been placed in a jar and the jar would be placed inside a knitted pouch. Pat shared a pouch with me so that I may share with others. These pouches and all the other knitted outfits were adorable. My heart was filled with Joy.
Mt. Olivet is beautiful and is a sacred place.