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Our Stories

Some of our lovely Forget-Me-Not family have kindly shared their stories. We hope they may help to bring those of you suffering, some comfort. These stories have been taken from the 'Forget-Me-Not Book of Hope'

DEDICATION

'After losing two babies, Eloise and Tom, we were devastated by grief. Our whole world was turned upside down.

To this day, Simon and I are still overwhelmed by the support and comfort that the Forget-Me-Not Group gave to us.

We thought of the idea of the book hope whilst I was pregnant with our son, Zac. Many thanks to the girls for being brave in sharing their personal stories. 

The aim of this book is to reach out to bereaved parents so they know that they are not alone. It is also a legacy to all our lost, precious babies. 

We hope this book gives comfort and strength to all. 

God Bless, 

Jayne, Simon and Zac 

Karla's Story

My name is Karla Cairns and the story of Forget-Me-Not starts here... 

I was pregnant with our fifth daughter and had our 20 weeks scan at Basildon Hospital and was told there was fluid around the babies abdomen. After four good pregnancies, this was an awful shock to my husband, Kevin, and I. I was then referred to Professor Kipros, at Kings' College Hospital in London. 

After scans and many tests, it was later defined that my daughter (whom we decided to call Grace-Ellen) needed two blood transfusions, whilst still in my womb! This was an awful worry, and all I wanted was for my daughter to be born safe. This was not meant to be. At almost 24 weeks, I went into labour and gave birth to our precious daughter number five and sadly she died the same day on November 10th, 1992.

Our grief was intense. My sister Lanette wrote a poem called 'Forget-Me-Not' and dedicated this to Grace. At the same time, my bereavement midwife, Jenny Burton, who was my 'saving Grace' wanted to open a special room at Basildon Hospital, especially for parents who had lost their babies at birth. Unfortunately, the hospital didn't have the relevant funding for this. Our task had begun! 

We helped raised money for the room. 

we soon had new curtains, bedding, tea and coffee facilities, outfits for stillborn babies (my wonderful mum knits outfits for this and donates them to the hospital) and a 'special place' for parents to grieve with their babies. 

Kevin and I did not have this choice. We were left alone with Grace for such a short time. We did not want to leave her there, but because of the jurisdiction and because she was born under 24 weeks, we could not have a proper place of rest for our Grace! 

We were devastated when the hospital phoned to say that Grace's ashes were 'somewhere at Corbet's Tay' in Upminster. This was unreal. Our family had visited the 'plot' where we thought that Grace was laid to rest, but this was uncertain and not good enough. She deserved more than this. 

Jenny Burton and myself were on a mission. Fundraising, letters, phone calls. It was horrendous. I did things such as sponsored hair cuts and karaoke, it was ongoing. We needed to raise thousands to open a special plot at Basildon cemetery, and my wish came true in September 2001 whereby we had a relevant plot for parents to put plaques for their babies who sadly did not survive life. We had doves flying out, and a wonderful service. There is a special garden that overlooks a field, and I know that without Grace Ellen, this never would have happened. Sadly, since then, Jenny Burton has passed away, but she is left with so many wonderful memories for the 'Forget-Me-Not' Garden. It couldn't have happened without her sole involvement, and her support to us. 

The story does not end there. We have set up a support group for parents who have suffered the same fate. We meet up at Manor Mission Church, in Laindon, regularly and we have just grown from strength to strength. We are a registered charity and are currently raising funds, which we will continue to do. 

Every November 10th, we celebrate our Grace Ellen's birthday with cards, candles and flowers. Her life was not in vain. Without her, the Forget-Me-Not charity would never have started. She was a special, wanted baby and will never be forgotten. The Garden is a special place, our Grace is always an Angel and without her this work would never have happened. So many families have benefited through our hard work and the vision that we made a reality. 

I would also like to thank my husband, Kevin, for his ongoing support; my wonderful daughters Hayley, Jessica, Abbi, Ella-Rose and my baby born after Grace, Lilly-Rose. Also my mum, dad, sister Lannette and Jo who have been the back-bone for getting us here, and not to forget my dear friends, Brenda and John, for without them, I wouldn't have coped. I thank them all for believing that this would happen. 

God Bless,

Karla Cairns

Jo's Story

You are probably reading this and wondering why this is called our book of hope, as I imagine that hope is not something that you are feeling right now. Anger, despair, feeling totally lost, but hope? I doubt it. You would probably see me right now happy with my three wonderful little boys and feel envious, and you would have every right. But if you were to look a little deeper, it hasn't always been th9is way. I, too, have lost.a very precious and wanted baby  and I have been exactly where you are right now.

In May 2000, my first baby boy Cavan was stillborn. It was totally unexpected and shattered my world. At that time, the help I received afterwards was very limited and came mainly from family and my friend Karla who had also lost a baby, so she understood the emotions that I was feeling. I decided to set up. support group with Karla to help other families, which has been my therapy and has really helped me through my darkest days.

Losing a child changes everything. It can change you as a person, but it will only ever be a good change. It will never ever leave you and you will never forget your baby. Of course you can never replace these special babies by having other children, there will always been an empty space at the table no matter how many more children you go on to have. But eventually, you will start to smile, laugh and enjoy life again. 

So, this is the reason for the title of our book, the Forget-Me-Not support group wouldn't have cone about I my son was still with me. I would never have been given the chance to meet the wonderful and brave families who have come to our group. So for that, I will be forever grateful for having had Cavan in my life. 

Some of these families have agreed to share their stories with you, although they are very sad, you will just how amazing a little bit of hope can be, and I am sure you will agree that they are all true survivors.

Jo Lane

Kerry's Story

My name is Kerry and I am married to Gary. In July 2007 we unexpectedly discovered that we were going to be parents again. We already had our son Brody who was ten years old at the time. We had not thought of enlarging the family as I had had a miscarriage at ten weeks prior to Brody's safe arrival. But, it goes without saying, once the shock had worn off, we were all over the moon. When we announced the surprise to our son he was immediately overjoyed. 

All seemed to be going well, but unfortunately, at the twelve week scan, we were told of serious problems with our baby. After a CVS at the kings college hospital, we were given the results that we had dreaded. We were told that our baby, who was a girl, had something called Turners Syndrome. The outlook was very grim. Having to tell Brody was the worst thing ever. He was devastated, as were all of us. I was scanned weekly, and at 18 weeks, nature took its course and our baby girl lost her battle. 

The trauma of birth and a funeral then followed. We named our daughter Ashton Louise. We had her ashes scattered at Forget-Me-Not garden and a plaque mounted on the wall there. 

A few weeks later, it seemed that it was 'back to work and life goes on' 

I found returning to work very hard, as two people had since announced their pregnancies. People around me, friends and family included, presumed that all was fine as I had a child already. This was not the case. I needed to grieve for our daughter. It was at this point that I found the Forget-Me-Not group. Here, it felt so nice to talk o people who had shared similar experiences. It was a place to go and say how you really felt, express anger, fears or sadness and everyone really understood what it was like too. I cannot thank the group enough for providing the help that I needed at the time. 

In December 2008, we had a son, and names him Mackenan. It was a very nervous pregnancy, full of fear and dread, but it was worth every moment of it when he finally arrived. We now have two happy and healthy sons, and as a family, we will always hold a special place in our hearts for Ashton.

Jayne's Story

My name is Kerry and I am married to Gary. In July 2007 we unexpectedly discovered that we were going to be parents again. We already had our son Brody who was ten years old at the time. We had not thought of enlarging the family as I had had a miscarriage at ten weeks prior to Brody's safe arrival. But, it goes without saying, once the shock had worn off, we were all over the moon. When we announced the surprise to our son he was immediately overjoyed. 

All seemed to be going well, but unfortunately, at the twelve week scan, we were told of serious problems with our baby. After a CVS at the kings college hospital, we were given the results that we had dreaded. We were told that our baby, who was a girl, had something called Turners Syndrome. The outlook was very grim. Having to tell Brody was the worst thing ever. He was devastated, as were all of us. I was scanned weekly, and at 18 weeks, nature took its course and our baby girl lost her battle. 

The trauma of birth and a funeral then followed. We named our daughter Ashton Louise. We had her ashes scattered at Forget-Me-Not garden and a plaque mounted on the wall there. 

A few weeks later, it seemed that it was 'back to work and life goes on' 

I found returning to work very hard, as two people had since announced their pregnancies. People around me, friends and family included, presumed that all was fine as I had a child already. This was not the case. I needed to grieve for our daughter. It was at this point that I found the Forget-Me-Not group. Here, it felt so nice to talk o people who had shared similar experiences. It was a place to go and say how you really felt, express anger, fears or sadness and everyone really understood what it was like too. I cannot thank the group enough for providing the help that I needed at the time. 

In December 2008, we had a son, and names him Mackenan. It was a very nervous pregnancy, full of fear and dread, but it was worth every moment of it when he finally arrived. We now have two happy and healthy sons, and as a family, we will always hold a special place in our hearts for Ashton.

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