Weʼre raising £20,000 to refurbish the 'Forget Me Not Suite' at St George's hospital - a private space for parents dealing with the heartache of a stillborn baby.
- London, UK
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This is the story of Ottilie Barrett, our daughter. Like many stories, it is sad in parts but Phoebe (my wife) and I are determined for some good to come out of the heartbreak.
Ottilie arrived on the 17th April 2018, the hottest day of an otherwise cold year. She was 37 weeks old and weighed a delicate 5 lbs 2 oz. Otty was just beautiful and although clearly ‘our’ daughter she was (thankfully) more like Phoebe in her looks!
Ottilie was born at 20:03, it was a natural birth and, sad as it was, Phoebe and I experienced her journey into the world together exactly as it would have been had she been alive. With the help of the excellent team at St George’s Hospital (Hollie and Jade in particular) we dressed her in the clothes we’d hoped to take her home in, gave her her teddy, cuddled her and told her everything we wanted to. Her grandparents met her and then, after some time, we said a painful goodbye - a kiss on her cold cheek and a hold of her tiny hand.
Two days prior to Ottilie’s birth, Phoebe and I had gone to St George’s for a check up - we were concerned by lack of movements, but not overly so. After an initial hook up to the heart monitor, we were led to another room for a scan. I know that moment will forever haunt us. The words, “I am so sorry, it’s bad news” will remain with us always.
We’d spent nine happy months preparing for parenthood, the perfect pregnancy. Phoebe had been waved off by her colleagues with the promise of a return with the baby, we’d remodelled our cloakroom to fit the buggy, I’d bought a ‘family wagon’ complete with new car seat and we’d prepared the nursery with all the flair you’d expect from Phoebe. Perhaps saddest of all we’d made some very good new friends at our antenatal classes - friends we’d hope to embark on a special journey with and friends I hope we’ll see again.
To have all of our hopes shattered in an instant was heartbreaking. We are so sad that we never saw Ottilie with her eyes open, never heard her cry and so, so much more. We know already that she has given us so much - a closer, tighter relationship than I ever thought possible, a new depth of relationship with family and friends and a renewed sense that life should be lived to the full.
After the event, we learned that our experience is shockingly common, 1 in 200 parents in fact. We would dearly love to do something to help and have an idea that we hope you will get behind to bring some positivity to an otherwise tragic story.
There are a handful of excellent charities (most notably Sands & Tommy’s) who offer on-going support in a variety of ways, as well as vital research. I am certain that we’ll find a way to support them over the years. However, in the short-medium term we’d like to do something on a local level - something we believe will help parents in their darkest hours as they grapple to come to terms with the life-changing news.
We were cared for at The ‘Forget Me Not Suite’ - a large, private suite within St George’s Hospital (NHS) where family can visit and a space where couples can grieve, sleep, cook, bathe etc. It is also the hospital room where stillborn babies are delivered. The care we received in our hours/days of need was the most compassionate anyone could hope for - truly exceptional. However, the suite itself was in disrepair and hotter than the sun! There is also only one such facility, so we were lucky to be looked after there.
Our goal is to raise enough money to completely refurbish the ‘Forget Me Not Suite‘ or, who knows (and NHS permission pending), to perhaps even create a brand new space. Our hope is that Ottilie’s legacy can be, in part, to offer comfort, calm and solace to others in their darkest hours. That would certainly give us reason to be proud of her and something to, one day, tell her siblings about.
In the coming months and years, we will be organising events and I will be running two marathons in 2019 which we'd love you to support, however, if YOU would like to organise an event and add to our fund you can do so too, via this page.
Please give generously and get behind our efforts. Thank you.
Giles & Phoebe xx
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- 3 months ago
Giles & Phoebe Barrett3 months ago
Over half way!!
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Aug 14, 2018
Aug 14, 2018
Aug 14, 2018
Good luck, such a great cause x
Aug 13, 2018
A great cause, good luck Alice and team x
Aug 13, 2018
Aug 13, 2018
I am sorry for your lose but I hope some good can come from your marathon walkGood luck Alice and Team xx
Aug 10, 2018
I'm so sorry to hear your terrible news - wishing you all the best for your endeavours to raise money to help others who find themselves in these circumstances.
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