The last thing you want at your 20-week-scan is the devastating news that your baby has a serious condition. Poppy’s parents found out she had Edwards Syndrome – and although she didn’t survive her birth, we supported the whole family leading up to the birth and helped them cope with her death.
A delighted mum and dad saw their new baby girl at their 20-week scan, deciding then and there to name her Poppy. But within minutes their lives were turned upside down, because the scan revealed that Poppy had some problems.
Diagnosis while in the womb
“Poppy was not going to be the healthy baby we were hoping for,” explained Mary, Poppy’s mum. “We spent 10 very anxious weeks having lots of scans and tests, and then at 30 weeks we discovered that she had Edwards Syndrome, a life-shortening condition. We were devastated, because it meant we’d have to say goodbye to our little girl not long after saying hello.”
Visiting our children’s hospice
The hospital specialist quickly put the family in touch with Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. “We weren’t sure what to expect, especially as I was still pregnant,” said Mary. “On our first visit, we noticed how peaceful it was, and how kind and friendly the team were. Our other two children, Ethan and Megan, played while we took a tour and discussed care plans. We felt so relieved and hopeful that other people wanted to make sure we could have quality time with Poppy.”
“During the days leading up to Poppy’s birth, we had a lot of contact with the hospice and they always called Poppy by name. We visited them to play and talk, and they helped Ethan and Megan to make memory boxes where they could keep special things to help them remember their new sister. Ethan especially loved that they gave him a disposable camera to take his own pictures with.”
Saying goodbye to Poppy
Very sadly, Poppy didn’t survive her birth, and the family knew right away that they needed more time with her – the only time they would ever
have with her. So they contacted the hospice and came to our Snowflake Suite
“At such a difficult time it was a great comfort to see familiar faces and know there was a place and a team to help us. It felt so homely; I didn’t want to be in the maternity unit at the hospital, surrounded by mums and their babies, faced with constant reminders of what I’d lost,” explained Mary. “It was a safe haven for us, a place where we could experience emotional support rather than emotional harm.”
“A lady called Emma, the hospice’s team leader for birth and babies, collected Poppy, snuggled her and took her to the hospice, where she washed and dressed her. So when we arrived she looked so perfect lying in her little crib. Our family and friends could visit with us and hold her, see her and know she was here. It was a wonderful opportunity that helped us make the most of time with our baby. They then helped us dress her for burial, and we were able to take a lock of hair to help us remember her.”
Continuing to care for the family
"The care and support didn’t end when we left to give Poppy her funeral. The hospice stayed in touch with us, and invited us to events, and they helped us deal with everything thanks to the bereavement support we got, as well as some of the complementary therapies.
“This journey would have been so much more difficult without the help of Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.”