If you follow the Norwich Mumbler FB group, you might remember we shared the Random Acts of Advent Calendars, made by Jenny Whatling, a few weeks ago. Jenny has written a little bit more about her heartbreaking story, the inspiration behind making the advent calendars and about the new Baby Bereavement Group she’s set up at the NNUH. (I’ve added it to the Support Groups page on the website).
This year I have found myself as a member of a club that no one would ever wish to be a member of, the baby loss community. Following a textbook pregnancy, at 41 weeks, our baby boy Jude was stillborn. On that day our world crashed to the ground around us. We were hit by a shock and a grief that words simply cannot describe. If if you are reading this because you are experiencing a similar life event, I am so sorry but even though you may feel like you will be able to survive right now, you can and you will.
Jude was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where we were all cared for by an amazing team of doctors, midwives and health care assistants. They hold a very special place in our hearts following the love, care and kindness we received. They kindly led us through all the things we never thought we would need to prepare for. One of our most precious possessions is our memory box which stores photographs, hand and footprints, a little teddy which Jude held, blankets and other keepsakes. We were also cared for by Kari, the specialist Bereavement Midwife whose role is to support families who lose a baby during or shortly after pregnancy. She made us feel like we were the only people she was caring for, even though sadly we know this is not the case. She continues to be a point of contact and support months on and has a special understanding on the roller-coaster of emotions a family can feel after living through the unthinkable.
Everyone deals with grief in their own way, there is no right or wrong way to get through the unimaginable devastation you experience. Our lovely friends and family rallied together and have raised money in lots of different ways in Jude’s name which is incredibly special. There are lots of different charities which support research, prevention and support around baby loss but we have chosen to support the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital directly. Currently their aim is to fund a Maternity Bereavement Suite, a designated room on the Delivery Suite. This room will provide a comfortable atmosphere where parents and families can mourn their loss in private and spend precious time together.
The Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendars was an idea I had following years of being a primary school teacher. After some tweaking with the design and some craft supply orders from Ebay I shared my project on Facebook and Instagram hoping for support from a few close friends. After being shared a few times the orders started to come from further and further afield. Then one Sunday evening, following a share on the Norwich Mumbler Facebook page things went crazy and we took several hundred orders that evening. Since then orders have come from all over the world including Hong Kong, Germany and Texas.
I have been totally blown away by the support and I love that so many families are on board with the idea that kindness is just as valuable as gifts at Christmas time. Currently we have sold over 800 calendars and raised over £4000 for the hospital. Some of that money will be used to buy resources which can be used before the room is finished including story books and keepsakes.
We have had a massive influx of support from local individuals and businesses who would like to support us in to 2019. As a result we have set up the Norfolk and Norwich Baby Bereavement group in connection with the NNUH. The aim of the group is to connect local families, share support, and support future fundraising. If you would like to get in touch with the group please find us on Instagram or Facebook.