“Arriving via caesarean section and weighing 5lb 1oz, our beautiful baby girl; with a head full of dark hair like her daddy and I, and a little nose like her older brother. Tabitha was born prematurely at 35 weeks at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. At 18 weeks gestation, she was diagnosed at a private scan with a very serious condition, called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) which carries a 50 / 50% chance of survival. We chose to carry to term despite the bleak outlook, and her chances of survival dwindling with every antenatal appointment. It never crossed our minds not to. We waited so long to conceive her, every extra moment we could have with her meant so much to us.
After her four short hours in Neonatal, we made the heart breaking decision to turn off her life support. There was no more the amazing doctors and nurses could do for her, but she was so brave and fought so hard to stay with us long enough to let us kiss her, hold her, love her.
Once we arrived back on the Isle of Man, where we live; we waited.
We needed someone. There was no one.
We were mourning the loss of our child and almost drowning in our grief. There was nothing there to help us.
Our cries were so loud but there was no one to hear us.
We knew we were carrying our child, who would not live the long life she was meant to; what we didn’t expect was the lack of support when the worst thing anyone can experience; actually happened. The existence of a dedicated support system was not in place, and we muddled through those first few dark months as best we could. We managed, but we kept searching for something, anything.
This should not have happened to us. This should not have happened to countless number of other families who have lost their children.
That is when we knew we had to do something. We have always tried to remain positive and thankful of the time we had with our daughter, and love to talk about her. We knew that by making her short, beautiful life, into her legacy; our experiences were enabling us to help others.
Our beautiful sunshine girl gave us every bit of strength we needed to be able to start moving forward and create the first, dedicated child bereavement charity on the Island; Tabitha’s Trust. Established in May 2013, created in memory of our daughter. The charity provides support, services and equipment to families on and from the Island. As well as providing practical help and advice on arranging your child’s funeral, financial assistance, registering their birth and / or death and repatriation; we have also made a number of donations so far – see our “Three Years of Tabitha’s Trust” page.
Our first goal was for us to be able to purchase four Cuddle Cots, costing almost £6000.00. We achieved this in less than a year. With one going to our local maternity ward at Nobles Hospital and another to Rebecca House Children’s Hospice. We also donated two to Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where Tabitha was cared for. We would have used a Cuddle Cot to spend time with Tabitha after she had passed away if there was one available to us. It brings us comfort to know that the equipment is now there for families to use.
In April 2013, we lost a second daughter half way through our pregnancy who we named Martha. Our experiences with her birth will haunt us forever, but none more so than the fact that we couldn’t keep the tiny palm sized blanket she was wrapped in; because it was “the only one we have.” After requesting a care package from Little Baby and Co to dress Martha, I decided to become a local representative for them! Founded by another inspirational bereaved mother. Together with the Charity, we are able to keep a regular supply of blankets, burial clothes and hats for babies who sadly never make it home from hospital. The knitted and crocheted items are made and donated by amazing local and UK based volunteers, and dear friends. Without them, the donations to the hospital wouldn’t be possible. Our team of volunteers and fundraisers is constantly growing, affectionately referred to as Team Tabitha.”
– Victoria, Founder and Trustee