Our care – Ava’s story
After being together for 18 years, Jess and Steve made the decision to start their own family in their mid 30’s. After having a few struggles they got some tests done and found out that Jess had endometriosis, meaning they had to go through IVF using donor eggs. Jess tells Ava’s story below.
11 days before Ava’s due date, I suffered a placental abruption and was rushed straight into hospital. Unfortunately, the abruption led to a lack of oxygen being transferred to little Ava, who’s heart had stopped. With all the doctors and nurses in the room, it felt like a lifetime before Steve arrived. His face was broken, the pain in his eyes was heartbreaking. I remember the time, it was like my heart breaking over and over again. I was also told that I had to give birth to baby Ava, the pain of going through grief and child birth at the same time was what I can only describe as scary and numbing.
Ava was born at 9.50pm of Friday 5th July. She was so perfect and as beautiful as I thought she would be, she had a little button nose, tiny hands and the longest legs and feet you’ve ever seen. But the only thing I wanted was for her to open her eyes and cry. The day we got to meet our miracle baby was a day that would change our lives and family forever. After Ava was born the hospital staff moved us to their bereavement suite, we were understandably finding it difficult, especially being on the maternity ward surrounded by other expecting couples.
My twin sister, Elizabeth, suggested that we got in touch with Andy’s Children’s Hospice, something which Steve and I never really thought of. The following morning Elizabeth had arranged for us to stay at Andy’s in the Butterfly Suite with little Ava, giving our whole family the time and space to say goodbye. When we arrived at Andy’s, they had thought of everything. They took us to the butterfly suite and showed us the cool room where Ava would be resting. It was so cold, which was brilliant as it would keep Ava
well until we were ready to leave. We were then told we could stay in the room directly next to Ava, it was so lovely and homely and put us all at ease as we didn’t want to leave Ava at all. We were made to feel so comfortable, we could make ourselves hot drinks and they even left us some food.
The nurses had thought of everything. They had arranged a naming ceremony on the 7th July and put a buffet together along with the canteen staff. The Spiritual Care Lead, Ben, put together some beautiful words for the ceremony. We were able to invite close family and friends and it was a lovely day. The hospice staff had even arranged for photos of Ava to be taken with all of our loved ones, which we had not even thought of. They are really amazing at the hospice, nothing was forgotten. We got to do hand prints and foot casts with Ava, special moments like this which we will always treasure. As you can understand, Steve and I were living a nightmare and had not even thought of any of these things. We are so happy and thankful that they were all there, to meet our Ava and to be a part of our journey.
They also allowed us to take Ava out in to the enclosed gardens at the hospice in her pram. All of the staff at the hospice went out of their way to make all of these things possible. We will always be grateful to every single member of staff, from the nurses to cleaning staff. They were all so friendly and helpful. Most importantly they made a difficult time in our lives a lot easier and made us feel safe, which is all we wanted.
They are a funded hospice which rely on donations to continue to provide their services in the community and help families like ours in such traumatic times. My sister and her husband have bought a leaf this year on the Giving Tree located at the hospice in honour of Ava’s first birthday. This beautiful gold leaf is placed on the tree inside the hub, where all of our family and friends can see. We think it is such a great way of remembering a loved one whilst helping to raise money for St Andrew’s Hospice.
We can’t wait to take our new baby, due this October to meet all the staff.
If you are touched by Ava’s Story and would like to help St Andrew’s Hospice and Andy’s Children’s Hospice provide specialist care to other families, please consider making a donation – https://www.standrewshospice.com/st-andrews/get-involved/donate/
For more information on our Giving Tree please visit: https://www.helpstandrews.com/product-page/giving-tree-leaf