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.