Mum’s double heartbreak suffering stillbirth weeks after one day old niece died

A mum has spoken of her double heartbreak of seeing her baby daughter stillborn only a few weeks after her one-day-old niece had died.

Claire and Simon Clarke's baby died because of complications during labour, Gloucestershire Live reports.

The couple from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, had been looking forward to welcoming a baby daughter they had already named Bethan into their families.

Mrs Clarke said: “When they first told me they could not find her heartbeat I kept thinking ‘keep clam, keep calm, these things happen'.

“I was determined not to panic. We had just lost my niece as a tiny baby and I kept telling myself something like that could not happen twice to the same family.”

The consultant however told Claire that the cord had wrapped around her baby's neck twice, but she still had to go through the trauma of labour and giving birth.

The mum said: “As soon as she was born I wanted to hold her and have skin to skin contact.

"That was very important to me and I did not want to let her go. Everything else was just a blur.

“I just wanted to be with my daughter.”

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The grieving mum was wheeled by staff to the Snowdrop Bereavement Suite in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital still cuddling her swaddled baby.

She said the days she spent at the unit helped her, husband Simon and eldest son Rowan, now eight, to start to come to terms with their loss.

The businesswoman explained: “It was such a shock it was impossible to take it all in.

“I went into labour with a perfectly healthy full-term baby girl and was really looking forward to meeting her.

“But she she did not survive the birth so the time in the Snowdrop Suite was the only time I had with my daughter.

“I don’t know what I would have done without it. It gave me time to get to know her. To look at her little fingers and get everything about her imprinted on my mind."

The Snowdrop Suite provides bereaved relatives with a space separate to the main maternity unit, where the sound of newborns crying would be a constant reminder of their loss.

Claire and Simon then waited for her parents to arrive from Yorkshire with balloons and presents before breaking the news to the family.

After the initial devastation, the grandparents and other relatives on both sides of the family were grateful for the chance to spend some time with Bethan in the Snowdrop Suite.

Even son Rowan, who was not yet three and looking forward to his new baby sister, benefited from the time the family spent there.

Claire was able to bath her baby and dress her and a few weeks later Bethan’s father carried her tiny coffin into Tewkesbury Abbey for the funeral service, where they blew bubbles to say goodbye.

Son Austin, now aged four, was born in August 2015, just over a year after Bethan was born in May 2014.

As their daughter's first birthday approached, Claire broke down – she was suffering from anxiety, depression and PTSD and needed professional help to overcome it.

Six years on Claire now wants to help other families suffering the same devastating loss.

She has set up a GoFundMe page to fund a mural on the wall of the Snowdrop Suite which will cost around £350.

The image, to be painted by Brandon's Murals in Stroud, will include a butterfly in memory of Bethan and the rest of the money will go direct to the unit.

The £350 goal has largely been passed already, with over £1,200 donated so far.

Claire said: “For many families, the day their baby is born is filled with sadness like no other,” she says on her funding page.

“We want to be able to make this time as comfortable as possible for other parents going through the same thing we have.”

If you've been affected by the death of a baby, charity Sands is there to help and can be contacted  here .

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