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In 2013 in the UK, one in every 137 babies was either stillborn or died in the first 4 weeks of life

Here in N. Ireland, over 3 babies a week are stillborn or die in the first 4 weeks of life.

Adam was born on 9th April 2000. His heart had stopped beating in the last few minutes before he was born but with great effort the doctors managed to get it started again. He was whisked off to the Neonatal Unit and we were left in utter disbelief. When the doctor finally came back, she told us that he was very ill and was on a ventilator. The next day the consultant confirmed the fact that Adam had no brain function and couldn't breathe without the ventilator; it was keeping him alive. After all the tests were done I got to hold Adam for the first time. He looked so perfect. My world felt like it had stopped; I couldn't believe people around me were carrying on as normal. I didn't want to go forward and I couldn't go back. How could this be happening? Babies just don't die.

The next day at about 6 o'clock we switched off the ventilator. Our minister was with us and he prayed while we held Adam. After they had disconnected all his drips and things they brought him to us and we had a really peaceful time, sounds strange but it was lovely.

We struggled for a long time after the funeral, many nights and days spent crying, and although I was given Sands leaflets at the hospital and by my doctor, I never used them. I thought it wasn't for me. Life was really tough. As time went on, others forgot and moved on, but I didn't want to.

Six years later life had returned to some sort of normal but I was still searching for some way to make sense of Adam's death and to keep him alive in some small way. I went onto the Sands website and it was great to be able to read stories of people who were feeling like I was feeling and I realised I could do Befriender training, just to be available for people who need someone to talk to. I was really keen to go to a meeting but nervous because I didn't really know what to expect and being here in Northern Ireland there was no group in my area. It took me many attempts to actually lift the phone and make that first phone call. When I eventually got to speak to Steven he put me completely at ease and I talked about Adam for the first time in a long time, it was great.

Steven invited me to their next meeting in Portadown and I was so nervous I was nearly sick on the way there. When I arrived everybody was very relaxed and it wasn't what I had expected at all. It was really good to talk to people who had some idea how I felt and to be allowed to talk without others feeling awkward and not being worried about getting upset. I was allowed to cry. Everyone else thought I should be over it by now. I don't want to get over Adam. I want him to always be a part of my life. I've done my Befriender training now and would really like to start a group in the Antrim area.

Sands has given me that opportunity to make some sense from Adam's death and hopefully in the future be there for someone who is suffering like I was.