Dad John Webb talks about how the charity supported them through the unimaginable trauma of losing three children in three years.
John Webb from Nottingham and his family were helped by SiMBA after they lost three babies in three years. Here, he bravely shares his devastating account and how the charity’s support helped them get through it.
“In early 2020, my partner Kate and I were expecting our first child together. At a routine 20-week scan, complications were discovered with Kate’s cervix that meant it was opening early. This meant labour was likely to start within a couple of weeks. This was devastating news, as it meant our baby would be born extremely prematurely, and unlikely to survive.
Despite some attempted interventions, our baby girl Eloise was born a couple of weeks later. She was born at 23-weeks old, and survived for 90 minutes before she died. We were completely devasted and were at a loss of what happens next.
It was at this time we were first introduced to SiMBA, through a memory box. Having the box to take pictures, hand & feet imprints, have some charms and matching cuddly teddies was really comforting. It gave us something to leave hospital with and treasure.
Our story continued when we were expecting a baby again in early 2021. This time we took additional measures to support the cervix (using a stitch), which would hopefully lead to a full-term childbirth.
Unfortunately this didn’t prove successful and, after a rescue stitch attempt Kate’s waters broke at around week 18. It was a day before our baby boy Luca was born. He was really strong for his size and lived for about 45 minutes with us before he died.
Again we looked to a memory box to support us through this devasting part of the journey. We took lots of imprints and wrapped him up in a lovely blanket. We also had matching teddies again so we could leave one with our baby and take one home.
During these two experiences we managed to find a wonderful doctor called Nigel Simpson, who is an expert in placing a stitch in the cervix. So, we tried for a baby again and were expecting in July 2022. We had our stitch placed and this was successful this time. We managed to get through nearly a full-term and at about 36 weeks pregnant, Kate had her stitch removed.
However, with some reduced movements we went back to hospital for a check. Despite being due in a couple of weeks, we had the horrible news that our baby boy Gabriel had died. This was extremely traumatic for us, being so close to our due date, as well as the process of labour for a stillbirth.
For the third time we needed a memory box. Not the outcome we had imagined this time but once again this really helped us in some way, leaving the hospital with some memories and keepsakes.
Over the births, and deaths, or our three children, we found the memory boxes vital in our support. Although you leave hospital without your baby, you do get to leave with some memories and keepsakes that you can treasure. The emotional impact of having something is hard to put into words.
They have been very useful in helping my young daughter through it too. She now sleeps with her three teddies in her bed, and knows that her sister and her brother have the same.
Without the work of SiMBA, we would have left hospital empty-handed, and with no support to start thinking about what memories you can make in hospital. We’re so grateful for their work. So much so that I did a fundraising 100km non-stop walk for #SaveSiMBA in 2022, raising around £6000 to help the charity.”