When Charlotte, a single mum of one, discovered she was pregnant, she was so excited and happy but a pre natal scan showed that, tragically, her baby had a heart defect and was not expected to survive birth.
The hospital contacted Rainbow Trust and asked us to take care of Charlotte and her baby’s end-of-life care. They also asked us to help Charlotte to look after Alfie, her two-year-old son.
When Bryan, our Family Support Worker in Swindon, called Charlotte he discovered she was already in labour. She asked for his support and he went straight to the hospital. She asked him loads of questions and talked about death, dying and funerals – she was very open about it all. Bryan stayed with her and supported her throughout her labour and her baby boy, Charlie, was born without any intervention.
For a 21 year old, the birth of her baby and his imminent death left her reeling between feelings of excitement, relief, fear and grief. Charlotte hoped that he was all right - he looked ‘perfect’, with no signs of being ill. Bryan stayed with her until she settled and agreed to return in the morning.
Sadly, a scan confirmed baby Charlie’s condition and prognosis. Charlotte was very upset and wanted to be with Charlie at the hospice. While she was there, Bryan spent time with Alfie and took him to visit her. He listened to Charlotte as she talked about baby Charlie’s impending death, and together they made funeral plans.
While at the hospice, Charlotte wanted to take Charlie home to “see his home”, the bedroom she had prepared and for them to have some time like a ‘normal family’. Bryan and a hospice nurse accompanied Charlotte and her boys home. This time was very precious to Charlotte. She felt she could pretend that everything was normal.
Charlie lived for 19 days. After he died, Charlotte struggled to come to terms with his death and relied on Bryan greatly for emotional support during the week leading up to Charlie’s funeral.
Bryan continues to support Charlotte and Alfie. He takes them to the cemetery and also encourages Charlotte to visit Rainbow Trust’s local drop-in group for additional support.
Bryan supported Charlotte through the most difficult time of her life. He will be there for her as long as she needs him.