options in New Zealand
Because your baby died before 20 weeks gestation, there are no legal requirements governing what you can or can not do. Neither the birth nor the death need registering, unless your baby weighs more than 400 grams or was born alive. Loss after 20 weeks is referred to as a 'still-birth' (SANDS.org.nz the support group) and in New Zealand requires registering as a birth and having a death certificate issued.
Hospital policies differ widely so when you wish to have your baby’s remains kept for taking home, if you are not offered paperwork covering this, as is usually done in major hospitals, you will need to request them before passing your baby or they may be cremated along with others. Sometimes staff do not understand the reasoning behind your request and could try and put you off, but it is your choice. You can bury your baby's remains wherever you choose. In about 60% of miscarriages the baby never develops and unfortunately can be so small it cannot be seen so there is often little left.
Some parents choose a corner of their garden that is already special and bury everything without any particular marker others plant something to commemorate the spot. Consider choosing a plant or shrub you could take cuttings from should you ever move. If you live in a rental property or apartment, you can put a plant in a large pot suitable for a deck or balcony. Many choose a Peace Lily. It is worth considering that any plant may not thrive, which could add to your grief however, if you are happy with the idea of a plant it is your choice. Alternatively, a garden seat or water feature would be a peaceful commemoration.
For those who would prefer a permanent place to visit in case
their circumstances change, most New Zealand cemeteries have a
special burial area dedicated to miscarriages, stillbirths and
babies under 12 months. If
relatives are already buried at a cemetery a request could be made
to have your baby interred (buried) in the same grave. One cemetery
suggested a maximum size of around 610x800 for a container but check
that out. Most funeral homes offer containers or if there is a Sands group in your area they may have some also. You could always make your
own. A firm base would be required in an adequately constructed
and sealed container with perhaps a lining of plastic. It would need
to be of wood or burnable material for a cremation. (Wood required
for the most ashes.) For a formal burial, there is usually a
standard cost for the plot, internment and sometimes a one-off maintenance
fee. We have quoted prices to give an idea of what is involved
however we recommend an update any time after March 2012. Search
in yellowpages.co.nz. for ‘Cemeteries’ or 'Funeral Directors'
for other regions.
You may choose to have your baby's remains cremated. Funeral directors usually have helpful information. Most cemeteries charge a crematorium fee. If you had an early miscarriage unfortunately there will only be around a tablespoon of ashes left after the heat of the cremation and most of that will be the wooden container. These ashes could be placed in an urn set in a niche memorial wall, if available, or be buried. Most cemeteries have a garden area dedicated for the scattering of ashes. Alternatively they could be scattered at a place that is meaningful to you and your family along with a service as suggested in ‘Saying Goodbye’.
N.B. If you can't decide what to do, put everything in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer or, if that is not acceptable, take it to a funeral parlour and ask if they could cool store it for you until you have made up your mind.
Some cemeteries have memorial walls, remembrance trees and/or a ‘Book of Remembrance’. Manukau has a statue.
Miscarriage Support Auckland Inc. New Zealand have recently bought a seat at Eden Garden, 24 Omana Ave., Epsom (Ph 09 638 8395 & www.edengarden.co.nz) which was blessed on the 25th March, 2012 and is specifically for those of us who have nowhere to go to commemorate and remember our babies. Please feel welcome to visit and take time to honour the memory of you lost babies in a way that feels right for you.
The Memory garden was opened on September the 4th 2004. It was built in consultation with National Women’s staff and interested community groups such as Sands, Miscarriage Support Auckland Inc. and Twin Loss. Craig Scott from Twin Loss designed and built the garden.
The Garden was developed to provide a place for families to remember the women and babies who died at National Women’s. As National Women’s was leaving the Greenlane site it was considered important for the community groups and National Women’s staff that a garden for remembrance be left behind.
The plaque also commemorates 'The life of National Women’s hospital 1964-2004, as the place where thousands of babies began their lives’.
The Memory Garden is located under the large walnut tree, which is situated between Greenlane Clinical centre and old National Women’s hospital. The garden has a number of private seats with a view through Cornwall Park up to Maungakiekie. It is bordered by the Cornwall park cricket club on the east side and the public car park on the west.
Auckland Cemetery Information (All prices as at March 2012)
Ph: 09 279 8232 Fax: 09 250 0070 (operated by Auckland City Council) They have a ‘Tree of Memories’ which is made of bronze set on a brick wall which has bronze leaves that holds basic information, e.g. baby’s name and date; cost $385. The total for a plot and internment on a lawn cemetery (no maintenance costs) during the week is $740. For a decorated plot it is $920 and there is an extra weekend charge of $455 on both. A cremation is $175 for a wooden container. A wall plaque with up to 80 letters is $600. There is a scatter area called ‘The Oaks’ and the fee for that is $45.
Ph: 09 275 4822 Fax: 09 275 5459 (Trust Board owned, established 1890) The managerial staff have a lovely caring, supportive attitude. There is an ‘Oak Tree Garden’ which is sprinkled with babies ashes that were in the past from National Women’s Hospital - others on request. Soft toys can be left attached to the Oak Tree. There is a memorial wall as well at another location within the cemetery grounds where a little ceramic plaque can be attached that can be purchased from the cemetery office for $150. Cremations on request are $30. There is also a burial location, which is called the Koha area, the plots are a ‘gift’ to the family, but an interment fee of $200 is charged. These burials are in identified plots, and a ‘Koha Stone’ memorial is permitted. Poem on memorial wall: A love in our hearts that time cannot sever, they remain, but, as children, forever and ever.
Ph: 09 528 5599 Fax: 09 528 5589 (Anglican Church Trust.) There are no current charges for the cremation of a miscarried or stillborn baby. Because there are so few, normally miscarried baby ashes are taken home. There is a special area set aside for the burial of miscarriages, stillbirths and babies lost up to the age of 12 months and the cost of a plot is $506 and internment (burial) is $126:50. Adequately constructed containers are acceptable (i.e. as in home made) as long as they are sealed properly. There is a ‘Memorial Wall’ available down in the cemetery for a bronze plaque for $977.50 and outside the chapel with a seat in front of it is a ‘Granite Memorial Book’ for a granite plaque which is $609:50 and $1:70 per engraved letter. There is also an angel figure where flowers can be left for those who may have had a miscarried or stillbirth baby buried there in the past and for those too who perhaps do not know where their babies were buried/cremated or were unable to save them for either.
Ph: 09 818 5615 Fax: 09 818 8656 (operated by Auckland City Council, New Zealandl) They have a ‘Wall of Remembrance’, space only cost of $175, plaque extra at $345 and will require attachment as staff do not do that. There is also a ‘Niche Wall’ which holds 2 urns of ashes for $1,115 - interring ashes is $175 extra. There is a place for the scattering of ashes available at their ‘Eucalyptus Glade’ for $45 and a ‘Book of Memories’ which costs $100 for 2 lines and $190 for 4 lines. It is in front of the second chapel and is opened each day at the appropriate page for visitors.
Ph: 09 415 9646 Ext. 8020 Fax: 09 415 8609 (operated by Auckland City Council) There is a special children’s area set aside for miscarried, stillborn and up to 12 month-old babies. A sealed container is required and a plot costs $265 an internment is $175 with a one-off plot maintenance fee of $210. Ashes can be scattered on request for $45. There is a ‘Memorial Wall’ where a space can be purchased for $320. A plaque supplied separately will be attached by the staff.
Ph: 09 636 7054 (operated by Auckland City Council) This has a garden cemetery of baby plots for miscarriage, stillbirth and up to 12 month-old babies which are $270 and internment is $135. They do not have cremations but do accept babies to be buried in a current family grave.
Ph: 09 426 9383 or 0800 006688 (Privately owned) This park is a work in progress however a plot & plaque can be purchased for $1,155 (price negotiable for miscarriages, stillbirths and babies under 12 months-old).
Ph: 09 836 0029. (Privately owned) Cremation only and for a miscarried baby it is $250.