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Day 6 ~ What Midwives are saying about RMB…

Cheryl 1As more and more UK hospitals tell bereaved parents about the services of RMB, it is humbling when we receive just one of many testimonials from health professionals as well as families who use our service.

Below is a testimonial from a Bereavement Specialist Midwife regarding RMB’s Remembrance Photography service.

The ‘Remember My Baby Charity’ (RMB) provide a unique, specialist service for parents at such a tragic time in their lives. For a parent who’s baby has died, it is an invaluable gift to give them the opportunity to have professional photographs taken, that will be of momentous benefit and comfort in their grief journey. These photographs provide everlasting memories for parents and their families of their baby, acknowledging their baby’s existence when memories are limited.

Our RMB volunteer photographer is very professional, sensitive, flexible and has excellent communication skills which help to make the family feel at ease whilst she is taking the photographs. She encourages all of the family present to be involved in the photographs if that is what the parents wish.

She tries to find out information from the parents at their meeting so that she can present them in a way appropriate for the parents. The photos are in black & white, with scripture or comforting quotes in a slide show presentation with soothing music in the background. This provides parents with the most beautiful keepsake of photos and cherished memories.

Photos are in time put onto a disc and sent by registered mail to the parents. The parents can print them off when they are ready to, or just view them from the disc.

This service is completely free of charge. Parents have shown overwhelming gratitude and appreciation for the photos and that someone would be willing to do this for them.

We would highly recommend Remember My Baby photographers to parents who would like to take advantage of having everlasting sensitive and professional memories that will be of comfort in the future, despite the immediate sadness of the situation.

~ Debbie (Bereavement Specialist Midwife) and Bereavement Team ~

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Day 5 ~ My story…Why I became a Volunteer Baby Remembrance Photographer

Nicky HeppenstallNicky Heppenstall LNPS is a parent, a bereaved parent, a photographer, and co-founder of Remember My Baby. She has been volunteering as a Baby Remembrance Photographer since 2010 and believes the images she provides can make a real difference to the families who have lost a lifetime of capturing memories in photographs.

Nicky writes………..

The moment you’re told your baby has died, they’re stillborn, you’re shocked, you’re numb, there are so many unanswered questions rushing through your mind, and the last thing you think about is photographs. But this is probably the most important ‘photo-opp’ ever: a lifetime’s worth of photo opportunities suddenly all cancelled in an instant. What if a professional photographer volunteers to come in to hospital and take portraits of you and your baby as a permanent tangible memento of a brief and precious life? Wouldn’t that be amazing? I think so, which is why I do exactly that.

In April 2001, I lost a stillborn daughter, Kim. After 3 days I was able to take some photographs, but I was upset, still in shock; it was the best I could do. They’re not great. But that was then.

Six years ago, I came across the NILMDTS website and was moved to tears as I watched footage of stunningly beautiful and sensitive images that parents could treasure forever, that could be framed and on display without fear of causing fright.

At that time I was a keen amateur photographer, tentatively exploring taking my passion further, but I knew immediately that I wanted and needed to be able to provide that service to bereaved parents. Discovering there was such a charity out there was a major catalyst in the decision to turn professional and become a Baby Remembrance Photographer.

The first family contacted me in January after their unborn baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 13 (Patau’s Syndrome), unlikely to be born alive, or to live long if she survived her birth, her parents wanted me to photograph her. I had the chance to meet with this young Mum in advance and talk at length about what was likely to happen, and about my own experience of loss. Baby Imogen was born on a Tuesday in May, alive. I photographed her with her parents and brother on Thursday at the hospice where they were being looked after for the few days that Imogen survived. She died in her mother’s arms in the small hours of Sunday and I returned to the hospice on Sunday afternoon to photograph her without her oxygen tube, as if peacefully sleeping. Meeting a family in advance is not the norm, but does happen from time to time when a diagnosis means a loss is inevitable. I am honoured to be a part of this family’s journey through grief, and to provide a tangible link to the precious few days that Imogen was with them.

I met Jonah’s family a few days after he’d been stillborn, and photographed him with his parents and grandparents, an older sibling and his aunt. The midwife had made them aware of my own loss and they commented how this must be difficult for me to do, but I think it’s because of my own loss that I am able to do this at all. I have travelled my journey, I am comfortable with my  grief, and I have found that whilst I can feel empathy for their loss, I am able to softly and gently go about capturing images that will bring much greater comfort than any word or gesture of mine could possibly do.

Following on from my experience of being an affiliated Volunteer Photographer for NILMDTS, myself and 6 other professional photographers plus another volunteer with the same passion, co-founded a new UK Baby Remembrance Photography organisation called ‘Remember My Baby’ which was launched on 18th August 2014.

Remember My Baby (RMB) coverage within the UK is steadily growing.  It is our aim to have an official RMB Volunteer Photographer in all hospitals and birth centres across the UK, but how can we tell people about this amazing service at such a delicate and painful time? Actually, how can we not?

There is such a small window of opportunity; there is only one chance, to make images that will provide comfort for a lifetime. Every parent should have the choice. For more families to benefit, two things need to happen: more photographers need to volunteer, and more hospitals and birth centres need to be aware that this service exists and be willing to offer it. I hear so many times, from parents who did not know, how they would have jumped at the chance, had it been offered to them. “If only we’d known…”

Midwives are the best placed people to make parents aware of this service. As the frontline carer they are on hand as parents are losing their baby and if there is an official RMB Volunteer Photographer local enough to the unit, staff can check if they are available before showing parents a leaflet which explains exactly what we do. A phone call to check our availability, and a second one to request we attend if the family wish it is all that’s required, the rest is up to us.

Families receive a free ‘gift’ of images on a disc which includes high resolution images suitable for printing, low resolution images for smart phones or sharing via email, along with slideshows of their images in formats suitable for smart phones, and for viewing on a laptop/pc. This is all provided free of charge within 3-4 weeks.

All volunteers are skilled professional photographers and as such are fully insured, and independent from the hospitals and birth centres we visit. We are truly grateful to those who help us to provide this service for bereaved parents.

RMB volunteers in the UK are working now to raise the charity’s profile. It has been said that we need to “shout quietly” about this service, it’s such a difficult time, but this is so important, and such a uniquely time sensitive event, I want to shout rather louder. We are recruiting more professional photographers to increase the UK network, and we are approaching people who work with baby loss support to increase the number of units willing to offer bereaved parents this choice.

To find out more about RMB’s Remembrance Photography Service please visit www.remembermybaby.org.uk.

The RMB ‘Find a Photographer’ Directory will be available soon, but in the meantime, if you are a family or a health professional requiring a service please either call 07837 739855 or email [email protected] so as to determine if there is a RMB Volunteer Photographer covering your area.

footprintonmyheart (1)

~ Kim’s tiny footprint ~

It’s Kim’s tiny footprints which are featured in our RMB ‘Footprints on our heart’ logo.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Nicky and Mark for allowing us to incorporate Kim’s footprints into our logo.

What a beautiful legacy in honour of Kim’s memory.

Sandra Hayball - October 14, 2014 - 6:54 am

Lovely xxxxx

Sarah Forsyth - October 14, 2014 - 6:04 am

I wish we had known about you when our little boy grew his wings. All we had were some awful photos the hospital took and some better ones we managed. Xx

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Day 4 ~ RMB Needs You!

Parents are losing their babies every minute of the day across the UK and sadly the RMB organisation is getting lots of enquiries from families and health professionals requesting our service. With each day that passes, it is becoming increasingly evident that more and more bereaved families are requiring access to a local baby remembrance photography service within their area. RMB is recruiting volunteer skilled photographers in the UK to help meet this need so that we can offer such a service to bereaved parents in every hospital and birth centre in all parts of the UK.

RMB’s Remembrance Photography service provides grieving parents with lasting memories of their babies who lived so briefly that little else exists to remember them by. Parents say that sometimes the professional images taken are easier to look at than the ones that they may have taken themselves.

If you know of a skilled photographer who may be interested in applying to volunteer for us, please share details of our website where further information about volunteering for us can be found.  If you yourself are a skilled photographer then we would love to hear from you too.

10381201_10152161225330945_1533474700_oIt’s RMB’s aim to have a RMB Volunteer Photographer in every hospital and birth centre in the UK and we can only achieve this with help from our volunteers. So please, do consider applying to join us so that these bereaved parents have the opportunity to gain a beautiful remembrance portraiture gift of their baby that they will be able to cherish for a life time.

Further information about how to apply to become a RMB Volunteer Photographer can be found by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Angela Bullard - October 13, 2014 - 7:47 pm

Fantastic idea

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Day 3 ~ The ‘Wave of Light’ Event on 15th October 2014

Light a candleOn Wednesday 15th October 2014, RMB is inviting people to the International Wave of Light event and ask that you light a candle at 7.00pm (in all world time zones) for at least one hour, so that there is a wave of light across the world in memory of all the babies who have left us too soon.

This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space. Wherever you do this, you will be uniting with others across the world in honour of those babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.

Please feel free to send us photos of your lit candle and also a message or quote as to why you participated in the ‘Wave of Light’ event.

We can’t promise to use all photos and comments sent, but we will try our best to share as many as we can on our website if possible. Please email your ‘Wave of Light’ candle photos and comments to [email protected]. When emailing us your photos of your light candles please let us know where in the UK or other areas of the world you lit your candle.

Thanking you in advance of your participation.

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Day 2 of Baby Loss Awareness Week ~ A thank you from baby Mia’s Mummy

It’s a call that all of us dread…. that call requesting a service from one of our RMB Volunteer Photographers. But we are all so passionate about the service we offer that the free ‘gift’ of baby remembrance photography to a bereaved family who will be able to cherish such for a life time is what keeps us going.

One of our co-founders of RMB and Volunteer Photographer Jocelyn Conway got such a call.  Just one of many.

Jocelyn writes……

On the 20th September 2014 at around 8.30am, I got the call. I was working all day so went to the hospital straight after work  and got there about 6pm.

Baby Mia’s Mum and Dad had gone home in total shock. There was only myself, a Neonatal Nurse called Debbie and little Mia in the room. Mia was in a gorgeous little moses basket and was the most beautiful baby. The room was quite dark with only one light switched on.

Debbie stayed with me throughout the session and held my little continuous light for me. As well as Mia’s lovely, beautiful face, I took close up photos of her tiny fingers and toes, etc.

It was a very serene scene. Just the two of us and baby Mia. We were quite quiet, but talked to Mia and told her how beautiful she was.

It was one of the most emotional sessions I have undertaken to date. All baby remembrance photography sessions are very emotional, but the quiet and calm was quite emotionally powerful.

I’m so pleased that Mia’s parents and family love her pictures so much and I feel so honored and truly grateful to receive such lovely comments from Mia’s Mum. I know Mia’s pictures will help bring her parents some peace and comfort in a most intolerable situation.

~ Jocelyn Conway ~

Following Jocelyn undertaking the RMB session we received a lovely ‘thank you’ email from Mia’s Mum Helen thanking Jocelyn for providing her and Mia’s Dad with some beautiful images to cherish forever.

 

Dear Jocelyn,

I would like to thank you profusely for the beautiful photos of our baby Mia. The suggestion from the nurses at the time horrified me, but my husband persuaded me this could be a good thing. I’m so glad I agreed.

You have given me some beautiful images to treasure at an impossible time in my life. So much so that Mia is now centre of my living room and I can look at her beautifully captured face everyday and this is making the hurt and pain ease.

Thank you so much for your time. If there is absolutely anything I can do to repay you, please do not hesitate to ask.

It’s a very special thing you do.

Lots of love

Helen S

~ Beautiful, baby Mia ~

Baby Mia

 

 

 

 

Blue White - October 11, 2014 - 4:29 pm

<3

Claire Geefee's - October 10, 2014 - 10:31 pm

Having just had my own baby 10 weeks ago I can not imagine the pain of this situation …. I’ve read the above with tears streaming down my face. What a brave, compassionate and special gift you give. Bless you all and bless baby Mia and her parents. X

Ruth Trotter - October 10, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Why we do what we do.. Always lovely to hear a parents response to the images we provide.. For me personally it’s very humbling and the most important work I’ve ever done. <3

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