Claire Kent-Haire, a midwife from Derry, has the joy of witnessing life coming into our world every day. However, on 24 September 2018, at just 31 weeks pregnant, Claire gave birth to her twin boys, Bobby and Charlie. Sadly, Charlie did not survive. Claire is speaking out now about her heartache in the hope that more support is given to those who suffer baby loss.
“Bobby’s great, other than he doesn’t like to sleep. He is great, he’s never really looked back, he’s got no health problems that we know of and he’s meeting his milestones. He is our light in the darkness; he was the one thing that kept us going.”
“We were grieving a loss and we also had a premature baby in neo-natal. It was a journey for sure.”
Claire, 37, and her husband, John, openly speak to Bobby about his brother, “We visit the grave and Bobby comes with us and he knows. When you get near the grave, he’ll say, “Charlie!”
“Bobby has done a couple of weird things where you nearly think Charlie is in the room with him. You’ll see him look over his shoulder and he’ll do a laugh or a smile and there’s nobody near him so I do think, and I never would have been very spiritual before, but I do definitely think Charlie is still with us and keeping an eye on us all.”
Claire wishes there was more support for grieving parents and encourages others to speak openly to parents about the children they have lost, ” A lot of people would have said things like, ‘at least you have Bobby,’ or, ‘at least they didn’t both die,’ and, ‘you’ll just go on and have another baby.’ There’s no understanding of it doesn’t matter. Of course, I am delighted to have Bobby, but I should have had Charlie as well, I should have had two babies.”
“Charlie is still our baby and we’re always chatting about him; we love talking about him. Sometimes it is frustrating that people don’t mention him.”
“Coming home from hospital without your baby is awful, you have made so many plans for the future the minute you know that you’re pregnant, you’re not only grieving that you don’t have your baby, you’re grieving all those plans that you made. Then having a premature baby as well, we came home from hospital with neither of our babies. You feel like you’re leaving hospital empty handed.”
Claire and her family sought support from and continue to work with SANDS, a stillborn and neonatal death charity, and John participates in the SANDS united football team, aimed at supporting men who are grieving child loss. This provides an understanding outlet to speak about their loss, their grief and keep baby Charlie’s memory alive.
“Charlie lived for the short space of time that he lived, but he lived, and he made an impact on our lives so we’re not just going to forget about him.”
For help and support with baby loss contact SANDS via their website at email@example.com or call on 0808 1643 332.