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Remembering Ethan

Ethan was a much longed for baby who was alive ready to be born, then gone before we were ever able to get to know him.  Ethan was stillborn on the 2nd of August 2016.

The day before, when we found out our baby had died, our world collapsed around us and our life since then and moving forward will always be a bit different from the one it should have been.

Ethan died quite unexpectedly, suddenly and quietly.  We got through our labour and welcomed Ethan into the world.  We held him and cried.  Cried that we would never see his eyes open.  Cried that he would never grip our fingers or cry, or smile or giggle, or play with his big brother who was so excited about being a big brother and having someone to play with.  I cried that I would never be able to feed him and we cried because we couldn’t keep him warm.  That was one of the hardest things of all.  For nine months, I had kept him safe, kept him secure and kept him warm and there with him in our arms we couldn’t do that any more.  No matter how much we cuddled him and wrapped him up we couldn’t keep him warm.  We were able to bring him home, take him to places he should have seen and spend time just being together before we had to say goodbye.

On that difficult day, Ruth from Remember My Baby came into our messed up world with such compassion and kindness, there was no fuss and no decisions to make.  Ruth did what she did with dignity and respect.  She took photographs and captured moments that will always help us to remember not just our son, but our emotions, our surroundings and most importantly our love for a little boy that we will never see grow up and for that we will be eternally grateful.

Throughout this incredibly sad time, we have had wonderful support from Daryl, a bereavement support midwife based in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.  Daryl has spent time with us, supporting not just Ian and myself, but our son Callum too, in all aspects of our lives as we move forward in our grief.  Daryl is part of a Tayside team that shares our story and other families stories to help with training other healthcare staff, who in turn support families going through the trauma of losing a baby.

Since Ethan died, we are so grateful to have been blessed with love and support from many different people and while he misses his little brother, Callum’s enthusiasm for life has kept us going and saved us.  The other thing that saved us was swimming.  I have always known that exercise is good for mental health but have never had my mental health compromised in such a huge way as it has been these last few months and so we found ourselves everyday at the gym, swimming.

Daryl’s work and the wonderful work of Remember My Baby is invaluable and that is why we decided to do something to support them.  Since swimming was and continues to be such a huge part of our lives, and to try and bring something positive out of our grief, along with some family and friends we took place in the Dundee Rotary Club Swimarathon in February.  We were one of 42 teams who took part in the event and as a team we were tasked with swimming as many lengths as we could in 25 minutes and raising money for the Rotary Club and our own charities.  We trained hard and spread the word of what we were doing and why we were doing it.

As the Rotary Club organised the event, some of the money also went to their locally supported charities and the Rotary End Polio Now Campaign.  We were overwhelmed and blown away by the love and support we received.  Our team, Splash Gordon swam 59 lengths in the 25 minutes and raised a phenomenal £6,343, which went well beyond our £600 target.  The whole event itself raised around £30,000 and it was awesome to be part of it all.

It was an amazing thing to have come from something so awful and to have raised the money remembering Ethan for the Maternity and Neonatal Bereavement Support Team in Dundee and Remember My Baby makes it all the more special.

Ian and Morag Hambleton

Baby Ethan with Dad Ian (Image courtesy of ©RMB)

Family and friends we took place in the Dundee Rotary Club Swimarathon in February

Image below taken during the civic reception when the cheque was handed over.

Left to right ~ Daryl, Morag, Ian and Ruth.

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***Special Announcement ~ RMB expands it’s coverage***

RMB are pleased to announce that as of today, we have opened up recruiting in Northern Ireland and this evening we accepted our first NI volunteer photographer applicant!

If you are a skilled/professional photographer living in NI please do consider applying to become a RMB volunteer photographer.

We look forward to welcoming a NI team on board in the coming weeks and months, and also to beginning to work with health professionals there for the benefit of the families in their care.

#teamRMB #remembrance #photography #makingadifference #stillbirth #babyloss

If you wish to apply to become a RMB volunteer photographer please click here to be taken to our photographer’s application.

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Quiz night held in aid of RMB

On Monday 30th January, Karen Read and Alison Bryan hosted a fundraising quiz night for their friends, family and colleagues, in order to raise money for Remember My Baby.

It took place at the Crumpled Horn pub in Upminster, Essex. The pub were very accommodating, as the sisters sold over 150 tickets for the event.

Staff of Hall Mead School and RJ Mitchell School (where the hosts work) made up tables of quizzers, ready to battle for the prize title of winner. Family and friends also supported the event.

It was a close competition, with only 1 point sealing the victory for the winners.

All prizes for the raffle were donated by friends and local businesses. It was a fun filled evening for all with a grand total of £1,465 being raised by the end of the night in aid of Remember My Baby.

Karen and Alison would like to thank everyone that attended the event, or supported it in any way. We would also like to give a special mention to the stranger that kindly donated £100 at the bar.

Thank you everyone.

Alison (Co-founder and Treasurer of RMB.)

Images courtesy of Cheryl Jane Johnson (Co-founder and Chair Person of Remember My Baby)

Fundraising organisers Alison Bryan and Karen Read.

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Special Announcement – The Jude Brady Foundation kindly donate three SIBs to RMB

RMB are very delighted to announce that the Jude Brady Foundation has presented the charity with three StandInBaby™ (SIBs) posing and training aids that it has generously sponsored following Brendon and Sandra Moffatt, the developers and founders of StandInBaby™ kindly offering the JBF the opportunity to purchase the three SIBs at the discounted price of £1,200. We are truly grateful to the JBF for their kind generosity.

Meet the RMB SIBs

The SIBs will be used at RMB training workshops around the UK to further educate its volunteer photographers in undertaking baby remembrance photography sessions and supporting bereaved families during a session. They will also be used to help promote RMB at health care conferences as well as at Photography Shows.

A little more about our kind sponsor…

The Jude Brady Foundation

The Jude Brady Foundation was set up in 2008 in memory of Peter and Lynn Brady’s second son Jude who was unfortunately born asleep on the 16th June 2006. The JBF exists to create a lasting legacy to a son that very few people got the chance to meet, but who has made a huge difference to so many already.

After Jude’s death, Peter and Lynn were taken aback by the fact that on average, 17 babies die every day in the UK. Understandably, they desperately wanted to do something to help prevent more families going through the pain of losing a child.

The foundation’s main priorities are to raise awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death and funds for child related good causes, the charity SANDS and also help reduce the number of babies dying each year.

For more information about the Jude Brady Foundation please click here

Please also follow the Jude Brady Foundation on Facebook and Twitter via the following link:

www.facebook.com/JudeBradyFoundation/

twitter.com/JudeBrady_JBF

You can also help the Jude Brady Foundation with their fundraising efforts by donating via their JustGiving page by clicking here.

 

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Our most treasured possessions

Below is a beautiful blog post written by bereaved Mum Jenni after RMB helped capture memories of  her son baby Thomas David.

Thank you to RMB volunteer photographer Fiona for being there for the family, and thank you to Jenni and Thomas for sharing their experience.

Pictures have always been important to me. Growing up my Mum would always have a camera in her hand to take pictures of my brother and I at all family outings, events and special occasions. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate why my Mum wanted to take all of these pictures but now that I am a Mum I understand this better. You want to capture the moments with your children and never forget them. My husband and I had only a day and a half to capture these moments with our son, However we were able to capture them thanks to an amazing charity – Remember My Baby.

On the day Thomas David was born my sister in law told me about Remember My Baby – a charity made up of professional photographers who volunteer their services. These photographers take pictures of babies who have passed away. After sending a message to Remember My Baby we were notified that a photographer called Fiona would come to the hospital later that day to take pictures of Thomas David. At the time I couldn’t believe they were able to provide a photographer at such short notice.

I must admit I was a little anxious about a stranger meeting Thomas David and then taking pictures of him. These anxieties disappeared when I met Fiona who was very understanding of our circumstances. She did not arrive and jump straight into taking pictures. Instead she spoke to us and took time to look at Thomas David and remark on how beautiful he was. She then asked if it would be okay to begin taking the pictures.

Fiona took pictures of him in his cot. She asked us if there was anything we would like to be in the pictures with Thomas David. My husband and I wanted a picture of him with his teddy and his friendship stone from his big cousin David. We also asked for some pictures of the book we read to him – “Guess how much I love you”

We then had some pictures taken of my husband and I holding Thomas David. I was upset and crying. Fiona again was very sensitive and stopped taking pictures to touch my hand and reassure me. She checked throughout if we were okay and if we were happy for her to continue.

The support from Fiona and Remember My Baby did not end when she left the hospital room. The week after we left the hospital she sent me a very kind message to ask how we were doing and to say she was thinking of us. Also that day she sent us some of the pictures she had edited. A few weeks later she sent us our USB stick with all of the photos of Thomas David. Along with the photos Fiona sent a card with a personal message for my husband and I.

The pictures we have of Thomas David are our most treasured possessions. These pictures have brought us a lot of comfort during a very difficult time. We have been able to do what all proud parents do and share the pictures of our beautiful boy with others.

Remember My Baby are doing such important work. Not only do they allow parents to have pictures as a memory but they are also helping reduce the taboo surrounding baby loss. People are able to see these beautiful babies and get insight into the pride of having their baby and the pain that parents feel when they lose their baby. I have written this blog post to thank Remember My Baby and Fiona. Also to raise awareness of Remember My Baby so that more families can be supported by this amazing charity.

Below is our Just Giving page as we are currently raising money for Remember My Baby in Thomas David’s memory.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ThomasDavid

Thank you

Jenni x

Read more about Thomas David by visiting:

https://thomasdavidblog.wordpress.com/

 

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