Grieving parents share heartbreaking photos taken with their newborn baby, who died just one hour after birth.
Hayley Rice, from Derby, said the photos, taken two days after daughter Sydney’s death, ‘really helped get us through the grieving process’.
She and partner Kevin Martin can be seen holding their tiny baby, as well as Hayley’s daughters Charlie, 15, and Frankie, 11, who also hold their little sister in their arms.
Miss Rice added: ‘Some people think it’s a bit morbid, but if you’ve been through something like this then it’s a service you really appreciate.’
Baby Sydney suffered from chromosome abnormality Edward’s syndrome, which was diagnosed during her 20-week scan, reports Daily Mail.
Hayley, 34, from Derby, said: ‘We hadn’t planned to have a baby, but when I found out I was pregnant in August last year it was a lovely surprise.
‘It was definitely a shock and took some getting used to, but it was a nice surprise and we were really happy and excited.
‘I have two daughters from a previous relationship and Kevin has one, Megan, who’s 11, but this was our first baby together – we couldn’t wait for her to arrive.
‘When I went for my 12 week scan, an issue came up – they thought it was a problem with the bowel. We were told the baby would need to be delivered early and have an operation soon after birth, but other than that she would be fine.’
But when Hayley and Kevin, 36, went back for a 20-week scan, doctors discovered further problems with baby Sydney’s development.
Hayley said: ‘The second scan showed there might be more to it than doctors originally thought.
‘I had an amnio test, and two days later results confirmed she had Edward’s syndrome.
‘The words the consultant used were that Sydney was “incompatible with life” – it was a shock to hear.
‘All the staff at the hospital were amazing, but that phrase was quite haunting and has really stuck with me.
‘Every time we went for a scan Sydney was growing and thriving, and we kept holding on to a bit of hope.
‘But deep down we knew she wouldn’t survive for long, and we wanted to spend quality time with her by holding her and loving her – not seeing her wired up to a machine in intensive care, not able to touch her.
‘So we agreed to go with palliative care only, rather than invasive medical treatment.’
Sydney was born at 10.07pm on April 11 2016, her dad’s birthday, after Hayley was induced at 37 weeks.
She died just over an hour after she was born at Derby Royal Hospital.
Hayley, Kevin and their daughters spent two days with her before a midwife told them about charity Remember My Baby.
Their team of volunteer photographers visit families across the UK who are going through the tragic loss of their child either before, during or shortly after birth.
Hayley said: ‘Because we’d been prepared for the worst we’d taken a lot of our own pictures – but we really liked the idea of having some nice, professional pictures taken too.
‘When they arrived four weeks later it really helped get us through the grieving process.’
She added: ‘You might not realise at the time, and you might not want to look straight away, but a few months down the line you will want to look at those pictures – it’s the only memory we have.
‘Having Sydney for an hour is more than I ever dreamed we would – and I’m so grateful we have these beautiful pictures to look back on.’
Bears of Hope is a support service in Australia for families who have suffered pregnancy and infant loss.
Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia and New Zealand dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature births, or have children with serious and terminal illnesses. All services are provided free of charge.
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