My name is Mel. On the 24th May 2013 we had our Third Beautiful Daughter Florence, who was sadly Born Sleeping. She had a very rare condition called Dandy Walker Syndrome, where her Cerebellum, a part of her Brain had not formed properly. Her outcome was bleak and broke our hearts. After having Two Healthy Girls already, we never imagined this could happen to us. For the next Five weeks I carried Florence, knowing what was to come. I cant even begin to explain how I felt. I will never forget being asked ‘When are you Due?’ ‘You must be so Excited?’ ‘Do you know if its a Boy or a Girl?’ I don’t blame people for asking, I was a heavily pregnant Mum to Be. But those questions will ring in my ears and haunt me forever. But we carried on with every day life, we had little choice what with having her Two big Sisters Lily and Lacey to run around after.
Planning your Babies Funeral before they are Born has to be the most Heart Breaking and Gut Wrenching thing imaginable! We bought her a Horse Teddy, Little Pink Baby Grow and an Ink less Print Kit so that we could take her Hand and Foot Prints. It then sat in my hospital bag waiting. Replacing the lovely Newborn Outfits, Nappies and Baby Grows that had previously filled it.
Those Five weeks past in a blur. On the 22nd of May our Little Girls Heart stopped beating. I carried her for Two more very long days before going into Hospital to be induced. Up until this point, Id done a good job. Id been strong and somehow managed to mask my broken heart. I will never forget walking onto the Labour Ward at Exeter. Id done it Twice before, but we had left with a Perfect little Bundle each time. Hearing the New Born Babies cry crushed me a little more, because I knew id never get to hear my Baby cry. After 6hrs of Labour Florence finally arrived. I think I felt every conceivable emotion during those 6hrs that it is possible to feel. Our Midwives were fantastic, we were very lucky. They were Strong but Compassionate. Professional yet Emotional enough to show they cared. They wrapped her up and it was finally time for us to meet our Daughter. She was Perfect. She looked just like her Biggest Sister Lily! We Held her, Cuddled and Kissed her and told her just how much we Loved her. The Midwives took her Hand and Foot Prints for us, we took lots of Pictures and her Nana also came to meet her. We gave her the Little Horse that id chosen and wrapped her in a Blanket. She looked so perfect and peaceful. The following morning we said Good Bye and Kissed our Angel for the very last time.
13 days later we arrived at the Church, surrounded by our Family and Friends. Once I’d seen her Tiny Little White Coffin, it took every ounce of strength I had to even stand up, let alone walk. I thought I was going to crumble. But I got strength from Martin. He carried our Baby Girl in his arms through the Church, when really he should have been walking her down the aisle in twenty years time. We didn’t sing any Hymns, but instead played a beautiful song that’s words meant so much. Some how I managed to read a Poem that I had written as well. It was the very least I could do for our Baby Girl.
Although it was incredibly difficult, we were actually very lucky. We had the chance to prepare. To get her a Special Teddy, Blanket, Outfit and to sort out the Hand and Foot Print Kits. This has allowed me to have physical things to cherish. I have her Finger Print on a Pandora Charm and a Beautiful Necklace of her little Hand and Foot Print that is always close to my heart.
Most new parents of Babies born sleeping don’t get this chance to prepare. SANDS leave Memory Boxes at Hospitals so that these new Mummy’s have an outfit for their Baby and the Foot Print kits so that they have something to hold once their Baby has gone. Providing these Boxes is such a small part of what SANDS do, yet in my mind probably the most invaluable. They also offer Support, Guidance and a friendly understanding ear when it is very much needed. Whether through their Phone Line or Face to Face at one of the SANDS Local Meetings. Another important part of what they do is Research. Sadly 17 Babies are born Stillborn or Die shortly after birth every single day! Increasingly evidence is emerging that many of these deaths could be prevented. This level of Baby loss is completely unacceptable! SANDS work hard to raise awareness of Stillbirth and Neonatal Death with both the General Public and Health Care Professionals, to help make improvements in Maternity Services to reduce the unnecessary loss of Babies lives.
So to show my appreciation for the fantastic work that they do, I have got a Team together to do Rock Solid at Escot Park. It is a serious 5k Obstacle Course, sure to test the Strength and Stamina of even the Strongest! We’re all participating to raise money for SANDS. If you can help in any way, whether by giving £1 or £100 it will make so much difference.
The Link is: https://www.justgiving.com/