SandsNI is a charity that we are very passionate about as it provided us with such possitive support at such a difficult time. We are very indebted to this charity; and so it is for this reason that we want to give something back by helping to raise some money for them during Rachel's 10th birthday year. Any support or donations you can provide or make to them will be very much appreciated.
I have set myself a target to complete 10 cycling challenges during 2020. The challenges, which will commence in March/April and will run through until October / November.
The reason for these 10 challenges is to remember and to celebrate our little girl, Rachel’s, who died on 11th September 2010 and would have been 10 this September.
Claire was 32 weeks pregnant and everything seemed to be going fine. Then very suddenly, it wasn't. A midwife measured Claire's bump too big at a routine appointment on the Monday and the referral to the Consultant on Wednesday resulted in admission to the Royal Maternity Hospital on the Thursday. At this point Rachel was diagnosed with a condition called Fetal Hydrops. Things then moved very fast, with Claire going into labour early on the Saturday morning. My memory of Rachel being born is silence - complete silence. No crying, no baby noises, no gurgling noises; just complete silence. The Doctors and nurses worked so hard to do what they could but in that complete silence I knew that it was going to be vain. Rachel was with us for a couple of hours before she died in her mummy's arms surrounded by her family. Without doubt, this is the most difficult thing that we have had to experience. People say that no parent should have to bury their child and I can agree with this completely.
The staff at the hospital were brilliant; providing such professional, high quality, compassionate care. SANDS NI also provided us with fantastic support during this time. We received a memory box on the day Rachel died, which included a little blanket, a teddy bear and a camera for us to take photos with us.
A few weeks after Claire got discharged from hospital, we decided to go along a SANDS NI support group in Antrim which is held on the first Thursday night of every month. This allowed us the opportunity to share, to listen, to cry, to just sit there with other parents who had expereinced similar experiences.
Rachel went from our lives 10 years ago but she remains very much with us each and every day. 10 years ago somebody sent me a text which said "An Angel in the book of life wrote down our Rachel's birth, then whispered, as she closed the book "too beautiful for this earth". That makes me smile now.