Emo­tive spur to 26-miler

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

WHEN AMY Abrams went for a rou­tine check-up a week be­fore her first baby’s due date, she and hus­band Jonathan were dev­as­tated to be told that doc­tors could not de­tect a heart­beat.

“All of a sud­den we were in a dif­fer­ent place,” Mr Abrams re­called. “Our lives changed for­ever.”

Daugh­ter Arella was still­born in June 2012 and Mr Abrams is run­ning the Lon­don Marathon on Sun­day to raise money for ma­ter­nity ser­vices at the Whit­ting­ton Hospital in north Lon­don as a thank you for the spe­cial­ist coun­selling he and his wife re­ceived.

The 38-year-old so­lic­i­tor said he wanted to help other cou­ples in the same sit­u­a­tion.

“We had nor­mal plans like any­one else ex­pect­ing a baby. “Then sud­denly we were told there was no heart­beat and Amy was [still] go­ing to have to go through the phys­i­cal trauma of giv­ing birth.

“There were no words, no reme­dies — noth­ing I could do to change our out­come. The feel­ing of help­less­ness was almost over­whelm­ing. We got to spend a few hours with Arella.

The mid­wives took hand­prints and foot­prints and a piece of her hair was cut.

“We took a few pic­tures. But we left the hospital empty handed. From the mo­ment we were told our baby had died, we were greeted and treated with the ut­most care and re­spect.

The Abrams are in­debted to their be­reave­ment mid­wife for get­ting them through the ex­pe­ri­ence — and the “ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal” of an­other preg­nancy a year later (the cou­ple now have two daugh­ters). “They were fan­tas­tic. They un­der­stood all our fears.

“If we wanted an ex­tra scan we got it. They did ev­ery­thing they could to make us com­fort­able.”

Mr Abrams felt “lucky” in one sense be­cause “not all hos­pi­tals have al­lo­cated funds for a be­reave­ment mid­wife. For those that do, many are not up to the stan­dard we ex­pe­ri­enced.

“We have met many be­reaved par­ents, none of whom had the vi­tal life­line we did. Many get one visit from the com­mu­nity mid­wife and then are left to some­how get through it alone.” The Mill Hill United Syn­a­gogue mem­ber has al­ready raised £10,000 in spon­sor­ship for his first marathon. “Some of the money will help the hospital to fund a cud­dle cot which al­lows be­reaved par­ents to spend time with their ba­bies,” he ex­plained.

Mr Abrams has been train­ing three times a week since Jan­uary.

“I de­cided that this was a time in my life when I could take on the train­ing com­mit­ment.” It was also a way of keep­ing Arella’s mem­ory alive.

“I of­ten think about what she would look like, who she was go­ing to be­come, what job might she have done. “By rais­ing money in her name, it’s a way of ac­knowl­edg­ing her and giv­ing her a le­gacy. “Arella is still a huge part of our lives and though we are still find­ing our way around the gap­ing hole her pass­ing left, we count our bless­ings daily and are thank­ful for what we have been given.”

The Abrams with their daugh­ters

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