Friday, October 22, 2010

Yasminah's Complete Gift Of Hope finally a reality

Another exciting bit of news to share with you all that I have been personally working on for the last 19 months. We have always been called Yasminah's Gift Of Hope because it was always the intention that we would provide a complete 'Gift Of Hope' to families after the premature birth or loss of their child.

When Yasminah was born sleeping one thing that stuck with me when I was staying in the maternity ward was the lady who hands out the Bounty Bags walking straight past my room. I had received one of these bags when our first child was born. It was filled with goodies to celebrate the arrival of my child and my new journey as a parent. But now that my baby was born sleeping I wasn't entitled to one, I was already leaving the hospital empty handed without my child and no one seemed to care that we had lost our child our greatest gift. So I began writing down my ideas on developing a similar 'Gift' like the Bounty Bags but for parents who like me lost their child. We deserve to be heard, to be acknowledged, to know that someone cares about our situation, can understand what we are going through and to be given keepsakes to help assist us in creating memories and help us to heal.

Then I fell pregnant with our now 10 month old twins, so life took a different direction for a little while. Until once again I was in hospital facing a life and death moment with my twins born over 8 weeks premature. It was after this that the journals were born and added into the dream of Yasminah's Gift Of Hope

Whilst I have been very busy working on decorating the journals and supplying the hospitals, I have been working very hard behind the scenes along with our committee on our bigger dream. Our 'Complete Gift Of Hope' Over the past few months it has taken a few different directions, obtained many quotes for the inclusions, we have collaborated with other organisations, businesses and have listened to what families have expressed they felt was missing when they lost their child. Many like myself expressed that they did not have enough memories, keepsakes, photos and felt as though they were alone in their grief. We have listened and created something so very special that we hope will bring some comfort to families

Earlier this week we delivered our very first box of our complete 'Gift Of Hope' to Westmead Hospital.

Every 'Gift Of Hope' will contain our unique hand decorated journal, a bookmark, a pen, a baby blanket, a handmade candle to light on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day October 15th, personal care products for the mother like sanitary pads and breast pads, pamper products like lip balm, shampoo, a unique Yasminah's Gift Of Hope butterfly soap, a beautiful single wooden flower, a block of chocolate, and thanks to our wonderful sponsors Redballoon a $30 voucher for the parents to have a bit of hope and something to look forward to. Most importantly that they have keepsakes of their child. We have contact details for the Australian Community of Childhood Photographers ACOCP so that parents can be placed in contact with a professional photographer who will take high quality photos of them and their child. Each 'Gift Of Hope' also includes a $20 Gift Voucher from Smallprint so that families can create a special keepsake. Each family can have their child's fingerprint, handprint or footprint captured as a beautiful keepsake.

Each 'Gift Of Hope' costs us a considerable amount to produce, we require your help to be able to continue to provide this to families. You might like to consider making a tax deductible donation, sponsoring a 'Gift Of Hope' for us to donate in memory of your own child or another child to a hospital, donating items to include in our gift like candles, blankets, pens, chocolate blocks, personal care products, lip balm, soap, or creating or purchasing a journal or bookmark.

Thank you to the team from RedBalloon especially Alice for your support for our organisation.

Thank you to all the Smallprint Franchisees who are supporting our program in NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, WA & NT and Head Office in the UK for making this happen.

Thank you to all the businesses many run by SAHP who have joined in our vision to ensure every family that experiences the miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal death or stillbirth of their child will not go home wth empty arms, that they will feel loved and know that there is support available. Whilst providing them with information that they can create lasting memories with their child, that there are no regrets.

We can not do this without your continued support. This is only the beginning for our organisation, we are already working closely with others to extend our 'Gift' and support families through one of the most heartbreaking times of their lives.

If you would like to donate please send any items to PO Box 17 Merrylands NSW 2160 or email

Wishing you all Hope, Light Love and Happiness

Bec ~Yasminah's Mummy~

Friday, October 15, 2010

The pregnancy, birth and death of our daughter Yasminah Ann

It took me almost 6 years to conceive our son Zach who is turning 2 in July. I was seeing a natropath for 8 months and she regulated my cycles and helped give us our first child. So when I fell pregnant naturally without any intervention only 9 months after Zach's birth, we were over the moon and so incredibly excited.

The pregnancy was quite normal, with the normal early morning sickness but nothing else out of the ordinary.

Until the 20 week morphology scan where they discovered our child had congenital abnormalities. We found out we were having a little baby girl but not until being told our precious baby girl was missing her right hand, had 2 fingers on her left hand, she had clubfoot (where the feet are turned in but can easily be corrected with casts) and they were also concerned about the fluid levels around her brain, we were asked to terminate the pregnancy - one of the worst moments of our lives.

The following week we had an amniocentesis, where a doctor with the guide of an sonographer takes a small sample of amniotic fluid to test for possible defects. When our doctor was sure of Yasminah's location inside my womb, he swabbed my belly with antiseptic and inserted a long thin needle and extracted 15-20ml of amniotic fluid. This procedure carried risks of either infection or miscarriage or injury ot our child. Thank fully it was over fairly quickly and our baby seemed fine. Usually it can take up to 3 weeks to receive the results back but they were able to process our sample within a week and even the doctors were stunned when the results revealed no chromosomal problems, they couldn't explain why or how it happened. At that stage we just couldn't do it. My husband and I turned to our faith, did our own research on what the Doctor's had told us and ultimately decided to continue the pregnancy and when we made the decision we both felt like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders. We decided that this was exactly how god had intended her to be and there are plenty of people with missing limbs and they do just fine and just because she didn't have a hand didn't mean we could terminate her life, that wasn't our decision to make. They also couldn't tell if there would be any brain damage as it was measuring just outside normal limits. How could we end her life if she may have a chance of no brain damage. We were determined to give her every chance of life.

I tried to return to work but couldn't face it, so I started maternity leave early to spend quality time with my son and to give my body the rest it needed and our baby the best chance at life. We also used the pregnancy as a chance to prepare those close to us, explaining to our friends and family our unborn daughters challenges. We were referred to the limb specialists and surgeons at Westmead Chidlren's Hospital who were all fantastic and very supportive. Once we told them we were continuing the pregnancy they had appointments lined up for us so we could prepare ourselves and plan ahead for our daughter's birth. I was considered a 'High Risk Pregnancy' and was under constant monitoring, every 2 weeks I had an ultrasound to monitor her growth. I also had an MRI at one stage to rule out a diaphragmatic hernia, but this was given the all clear too. As the pregnancy progressed everything seemed to be getting better and the outlook was improving, only one foot was turned in and she had 3 fingers not 2 she was a fighter.

It was discovered that I had Polyhdramnios where there is excess amniotic fluid in my womb. The extra fluid in the womb can make it difficult for our baby to settle head down into my pelvis. So if my waters were to break, there is a danger that the umbilical cord would be pulled down into the vagina in front of her head. I almost went into preterm labour at about 28 weeks, but was put on prescribed tablets to reduce the amount of urine our baby was producing thereby reducing the amniotic fluid. I continued to take them until I was 34 weeks when I was admitted into hospital after a routine checkup and ultrasound.

I had noticed her movements decrease and thought that maybe she was going to come early into the world - they put me on the CTG to monitor the contractions and her heart rate and it wasn't looking good. It was my wedding anniversary, my husband was at work, my mum was looking after my son at home and I was all by myself being told I would have to be admitted into hospital because things weren't 'looking good' with my baby.

We were told that the CTG traces were 'non reactive' and they weren't sure why. I would need to be admitted so that I could be closely monitored. I would continue to have CTG's twice a day leading up to her birth. Everyday her heart seemed to get stronger - they didn't really know what was wrong with it or if they did they didn't tell us. She started putting a lot of weight on and the fluid was OK. I was otherwise in perfect health - no protein, perfect blood pressure and I felt OK. After 2 weeks in hospital they let me go back home as I didn't live too far from the hospital, but had to come back in everyday to have the CTG or if I had any concerns. I stayed home 5 days before I was readmitted at 37 weeks and 1 day, because the CTG trace was worse than it had previously been and it was also getting harder for me to feel her movements again as the amniotic fluid was increasing again. So that night I was on the CTG monitor for almost 2 hours before the registrar re-admitted me - we had our son with us- we hadn't had dinner and they wanted me to stay but I convinced them to let me take Zach home, get him into bed and wait for my mother in law to come over whilst my husband and I headed back into hospital. They said they would do another CTG when I came back in. On arrival I was set up in the room opposite to what I had been staying in. I was all hooked up to the CTG and it was really good, very re-active and the midwives said it was best I just stay in hospital for the rest of the pregnancy.

The next morning I wanted the CTG first thing so we could find out what was happening and plan to deliver her the end of the week - that morning my team of Dr's came in and decided that she was moving well and seemed to be very active and she was growing too so would see me again the next morning. There were a few dips or decelerations in heart rate that morning and I was concerned, and raised these concerns with the medical staff but they re-assured me. They wanted to get her as close to full term as possible as did I. That was roughly 9:30am the 24th of March 2009.

I last felt her move just after lunch. Yasminah gave me one all mighty big kick and I remember thinking something wasn't right then. I tried to lie down in my hospital bed to sleep, but couldn't so got up and went down stairs. First I went and bought a colouring book to surprise my son with that night when he came in to visit me, then I went to the Internet kiosk in the hospital to let my friends know that I was OK and back in hospital and it wouldn't be too long until we finally meet our little girl. I still hadn't felt her move so I went and got a strawberry milkshake as that always got her moving. Still there was nothing. Back up in my room I poked and prodded at my belly to get her to wake up. Now I definitely knew that something wasn't right. I went and got some ice water and on the way back to my room I walked past one of the midwives and she asked if everything was OK I said yeah I was just tired. I drank so much water and still couldn't feel her move. I told my husband over the phone when he called me and he said she is probably just tired and we both needed our rest. I said I would call the midwife in to check everything was OK. I buzzed them and they said to try the ice water and everything, I explained that I had already tried that. They then went and got the portable Doppler out and couldn't find the heartbeat, but lately they had trouble even picking it up with the CTG because the excess fluid made it hard. The midwives did all they could to reassure me, they went to get the CTG and still couldn't get it, so they called the registrar on duty. They then brought in the portable ultrasound machine and after what seemed like forever the Doctor said to me that "I have checked everything and I cant find the heartbeat" she said "the baby hasn't moved her arm is still in the same spot resting above her head"....just how I sleep. I tried to hold it together. I couldn't believe that we had got so close for her to die right there in the hospital with all my doctor's and the medical staff around me, they were supposed to look after her. Why didn't they deliver her earlier after I raised my concerns, she was OK in the morning.

At the time when they told me I was alone in my room and my best friend who was also pregnant and due later that week was calling me, I couldn't answer the phone. She knew something was wrong. I had to call my husband and tell him over the phone what had happened. He had just got home from work and was getting ready to come in with our son. I told him to come alone that she had died and couldn't say much of anything else, another horrifying moment in my life. Only that morning everything had been OK. How could things change so quickly? The doctor's always said to us that "they didn't know what the outcome would be for the baby", but I always thought she would be born and maybe not survive life, but it never really occurred to me that she would die inside me. I never even knew it could and did happen! I thought I would have some warning if something was wrong pain, bleeding, my waters breaking anything, not nothing! Why didn't they ever say "Your baby could be stillborn" I would of preferred their honesty. I remember once during my hospital stay overhearing the doctor's and midwifes outside talking about me and they were asking why I had to be in here and the doctor said in case the baby dies! That made me so angry at the time that they wouldn't say it to me. Maybe I was naive to think that it was all going to work out.

They let me go home and come back the next day to be induced.
We had another ultrasound to confirm that she had indeed passed away. My husband was allowed to stay with me in hospital. I was given gel at 2pm and then again 9:15pm and was told they would break my waters the next day. I had to be monitored closely through the induction because my son was delivered by emergency c-section after a 21 hour labour (we almost lost him too) and they needed to make sure that my scar didn't rupture and I didn't progress too quickly. I took some sleeping tablets at 2am to try and get some sleep. To my shock and surprise my waters broke naturally at 3am. My poor husband woke up with a fright as he was in a bed next to me and he said it was like someone turned on a fire hydrant or a waterfall, there was just so much water. We were so glad that didn't happen at home

They then took me down to the birth unit where I had an epidural. At 9:58am on Thursday 26th March 2009 I silently delivered my beautiful sleeping little angel, my baby girl Yasminah Ann. She was just beautiful and perfect and she looked so peaceful. Yasminah was really long 50cm, she weighed 2.38kg. Beautiful jet black, thick curly hair and she had the same cute little button nose as her brother did as a baby.

The midwives were fantastic, so supportive and understanding and will forever be in my hearts for making it as relaxed as possible. They are the memories I have. I was able to have a natural birth and felt like I had achieved something. It was a very different experience from my son's birth. Zach was born by emergency c-section after a 21 hour labour as he was in distress and had passed his meconium and was inhaling it. I really wanted to have a natural birth with Zach and with Yasminah I did it - all on my own with no medical intervention. It was really calm and so quiet.

They let us bathe her and then they brought in some dresses for us to choose. I didn't bring her clothes in and we didn't have our camera charged. Everything just happened so fast and I didn't think about these things, but wish I had or someone had said to me bring your camera and clothes for her when we left the hospital the first time. Only two relatives from my husband's side wanted to see her, which at the time I wasn't very comfortable with and spoke to the midwife and asked if they could show them Yasminah in another room and then bring her straight back to me. I wanted to be the 'last' to hold my little girl in my arms. Now I feel a little hurt that no one in my family wanted to see or meet her. She was and will always be a part of our family. Some friends later told me that they would of liked to have met her but the thought never even crossed my mind at the time to ask them.

The midwives gave us a book with a handful of photos that they took of her inside it and they took her hand and foot prints and a lock of her thick black wavy hair, she even had little ringlets at the back just as I did as a child. We had the book with the special keepsakes, the blanket we held her in, a little white teddy bear and a box to keep everything in that had a beautiful blue butterfly hand painted on the lid.

She fought as long as she could but just didn't make it all the way. I take comfort in the fact that she passed away peacefully in the comfort of me her mum and didn't suffer. I think she wanted to spare us from seeing her in pain as it would have been a very challenging life for her, but it doesn't mean I don't wish that she could be here with us today.

I feel blessed to have been able to hold her for 37 weeks and 4 days and proud to be her mum. We gave her a chance at life that alot of other people wouldn't of. She was very much loved and wanted by all those around her and not a moment in my day goes by that I don't miss her or think about her or what might have been.

We had a Post Mortem performed to try and find out an exact cause, but alot of the time they just cant tell. The results came back as 'no known cause'. They put it down to her abnormalities. My Doctor's came in and saw her after she was born and they got upset too, they said that she was such a fighter and they were amazed that she fought as long as she did. They also admired my husband and my strength and love for each other and our child. They said with everything that happened we always remained positive, we always held onto hope.

I hope that none of you ever have to go through this. It still breaks my heart when I hear of other parents who have gone through a similar experience.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in stillbirth or death within the first 28 days of life

I'm not sure what would of happened if they had induced me earlier. I might have my baby girl here with me who knows.

I'm so thankful and lucky that I have my son, I don't think I could of got through this without him. He has given me lots of love, hugs and kisses just when I need them most. I also have a wonderful supportive husband, we love each other very much and I think that this whole experience has only made our love and relationship stronger.

If you are still reading thank you for letting me share my journey. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones and if you are pregnant or TTC know what an amazing gift motherhood is. Keep the BFP, ask for ultrasound pictures, treasure each kick, take photos of your belly and enjoy every memory - sometimes memories are all we have to look back on.

Much Love Bec x x x x x x

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day October 15th

I have been thinking about doing this for sometime. It is still very hard for me to this day. It has only been 18 months since her passing. Yes I have since been blessed with two very healthy baby girls, but I have four children and Yasminah will always be a part of our lives.

My closest friends and family know the truth, the events leading up to her birth. But I haven't shared all the details until now......

I feel it is important to speak out on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day to remember all the little lives lost.

I have been stuggling the last few days with my grief. Grief is such a strange thing, it can sneak up on just when you think you have it under control. You learn to live a new 'normal', but things will never be the same again, you will look at life with different eyes. You appreciate the simple things more and realize how easily things can change.

When you find out you are pregnant you dream of a future with your child. Will you have a boy or a girl? What will they look like? How should we decorate the room? What will they grow up to do? You buy all the usual baby items like a pram, a cot, change table and clothes. Cute little baby clothes, that you anxiously wash and fold and sort numerous times before the birth. But what happens when all those dreams are shattered and you are left to come home from hospital with empty arms, to a house filled with reminders about what should of been. This is what I faced and what countless women around the world face everyday. There is probably a woman going through labour right now and instead of hearing her newborn baby cry, there will be silence.

There will still be flowers and cards but in sympathy, no congratulations. There won't be a steady stream of visitors wanting to look at the adoring new baby, because they are too scared or don't know what to say. Instead you will receive text messages and emails or snail mail with I'm sorry for your loss, our deepest sympathies or simply with love. Funeral arrangements will need to be made, deciding what coffin, where to bury your child and what to wear to your child's funeral.

It happens and we can no longer remain silent about pregnancy and infant loss. We need to remember them and raise awareness so that we can have an impact on the community and we can reduce the numbers. It can no longer be a taboo topic, something needs to be done. So today I'm speaking out.
Today I read on another website Mamamia about a lady whose friend lost her second child. I couldn't and refuse to remain silent on these matters, below is my reply to the original post you can find here

Kate firstly I'm so sorry for your own loss and terribly sorry for the loss of your friend Bec's precious second child Georgie.

I have personally been down the same road, when my second child Yasminah was stillborn at 37 weeks and 4 days just days before she was meant to be safely delivered. My world shattered into a million pieces and has and will never be the same. My son was 20 months at the time so similar age to your friends first child. It is so hard because you still need to be there for them but you are so consumed in your grief and the loss of your child. Having another child sometimes compounds that grief, because you know everything that you are missing out on. The common questions came How could this happen? Why us? Why didn't anyone tell us this could happen? and a few weeks afterwards What can I do to stop this from happening to others and how can I help raise awareness?

It is so terribly hard for anyone unless they have personally been throught this kind of loss to truly understand how we feel. My own family and friends struggled with processing what had happened. I wanted to tell everyone who would listen about my daughter so that she was never forgotten. But no body wanted to bring her up - they didn't want to upset me, but by them not mentioning her at all actually made it harder for me like they didn't care. Yasminah was a part of our lives, she was our first daughter, a little sister, a cousin, a neice, a grand-daughter and now forever an angel. I needed a way to remember her and to make sure that everyone else remembered her too.

You mentioned that your friend is a writer. I'm not a professional writer but I have found it to be 'my' therapy. I found and still do to this day hard to 'talk' about her. How do you bring up the topic of your daughter who has passed away when there are no photos to show, there are no memories for the friends and family in your life, only you have these memories. So I began to write. I would write in a private diary and online forums. Then suddenly we fell pregnant again very soon after the loss of our daughter with twins! A true gift from God. It was a traumatic pregnancy, I always worried about movement and especially because there were two to keep tabs of. I kept another diary. Then at 28 weeks we discovered that our twins at twin to twin transfusion syndrome TTTS. Where one twin was taking all the nutrients from the other twin and they started to grow differently. We were closely monitored as we had been throughout the whole pregnancy but now every day counted. We needed to get them as close to full term as possible. I couldn't cope if I had to lose another child let alone my twins. At 31 weeks and 5 days our twins were born by emergency ceasarian just over 8 weeks premature. I was so relieved they were born alive, but now we needed them to survive life. They spent 4 weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit before both coming home on my birthday.

During all these times and other traumatic events in my life I have kept a diary. I still wanted to help others, and raise awareness and support for stillbirth. So in July this year I founded a registered charity set up in honour of my daughter Yasminah Ann - Yasminah's Gift Of Hope - Our website is growing everyday and I hope that it will become a place of support and information for families and the community. We also have a facebook page with over 1000 people supporting us

Yasminah's Gift Of Hope is a volunteer support network for parents and families who experience the miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal death or stillbirth of their baby.

Yasminah's Gift Of Hope aims to provide emotional support and relevant aids to families, health care professionals and to the public through our hospitals, the community and our website. We hope to also provide ongoing support to families, create awareness and educate the community about cause and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal death, stillbirth & congenital abnormalities.

We provide families with the aid of a writing journal immediately following the stillbirth, neonatal death or premature birth of their baby. Yasminah's 'Gift Of Hope' journals contain a comprehensive list of relevant support services to initiate early support for families. These journals are provided throughout Australian public and private hospitals or by request through our website from families with a child currently in Neonatal Intensive Care, or sadly just dealing with the grief of loosing their child

I would love to provide you and your friend Bec with a gift of hope, one of our very special hand decorated journals. I can custom make one with Georgia's details on it. There are many things you can write about in the journal. It can simply be used to keep special keepsakes like ultrasound photos, pregnancy shots, cot card, arms bands and sympathy cards. Or you can write about your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Other things I can suggest is writing a letter to Georgia, getting family and friends to write in the journal too. So please feel welcome to email me at

My deepest sympathy to you all. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Around the world at 7pm we ask everyone to light a candle to remember them. Please light a candle for Yasminah and Georgia. If everyone lights a candle from 7pm-8pm there will be a continueous wave of light around the world.

Wishing you Hope, Light, Love and Happiness

Find Hope to keep you strong,
Find Light to lead the way,
Find Love all around you,
And Happiness one day.........

With Love Bec x x x x x x

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Journal for Chelsea

I received a lovely order for a custom made journal from a mum whose little girl is going into hospital to have an operation on her heart.

Chelsea is almost 2 years old, loves the colour pink & purple & her favourite animals are giraffes. So with all this in mind I designed the perfect little journal for Chelsea's mum to record the details of her heart operation & her long life ahead of her in the hope she will one day read it & know how much her parents & family love her. I hope they love the journal too!

Night x