‘I still cry. I wake up and forget I am not pregnant… but it’s OK to not be OK’

A Co Down mother is fundraising for the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) to give thanks to staff after a heartbreaking loss.

ucinda Scott from Hillsborough lost her baby daughter Sarah earlier this month after 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Thankful for the care that the hospital’s Early Pregnancy Unit offered, as well as the sterling work undertaken by midwives and medical staff, Lucinda’s fundraising in her daughter’s memory has bloomed in recent weeks.

“I want to give back to all those staff, whether they’re a cleaner, a doctor, an anaesthetist, a midwife, admin staff, anybody,” says Lucinda (35).

“I literally wanted to do a raffle and raise some money for those causes, and it’s just gone from wanting a couple of bottles of wine and restaurant vouchers to holidays and paintings.

“(The staff) are all working hard. They’re working long shifts. They’re wearing masks. They’re running around and they’re only trying their best and they’re following guidelines.”

Lucinda has been inundated with gifts and support, now having close to 150 raffle prizes, which include a weekend, two-night stay from Rostrevor Holidays for up to six people, prints from Jacqueline Rooney and Aidan Sloan, photoshoots and shopping vouchers.

“I want to thank the maternity staff for what they do, because they’ve been forgotten in this pandemic.

“I’m very grateful for those midwives that could help me through that. I’m still in touch with them — Marie, Jodie, Erin, Barbara, Sarah — and I keep them updated.

“Barbara (Gergett) from the bereavement unit in the Royal, she’s some woman. She is the one dealing with all the families day in, day out. I don’t know how she does it.”

Lucinda also wants to donate kits for women who end up staying in the maternity hospital unexpectedly.

These will include items such as face wipes from Lily Loves — who will sell the wipes named as ‘Sarah’s Scrubbers’ on her website, with a donation going to the hospital — Slippy Soap shower products, bamboo toothbrush and eco toothpaste, plus a voucher for a clay cloud on which a parent can get their child’s name.

A seat in Sarah’s name is also being donated to the Early Pregnancy Unit waiting room, “so someone can get a wee bit of comfort”, says Lucinda.

The council education officer is also mum to five-year-old Sophie and has regularly been involved with charity work for companies such as Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“She’s my superstar,” says Lucinda about Sophie (left, as a newborn). “As she grows up, I want her to be a big strong woman and think that she can do whatever she wants to do.”

Lucinda’s hope is to also donate to the charity Aching Arms, which brings solace after baby loss, offering comfort bears, each of which has a handwritten label with the name of the baby in whose memory the bear is dedicated.

Baby loss is something that isn’t spoken about in detail; many do not know the appropriate language to use with parents.

“At the end of the day it’s sometimes just saying, ‘I’m there for you’ or ‘I don’t know what you’re going through, but I’m here. I’m not trying to understand,’” says Lucinda.

“I was that person. I didn’t know what to say before, because I hadn’t been through it, so I didn’t want to say the wrong thing.

“I think it’s someone saying, ‘I’m here. It’s OK to not be OK.’ That line says it all. You have your low moments and you have your brilliant moments.

“I still cry. I wake up at night and I forget that I am not pregnant.”

Through her fundraising and raising awareness of baby loss, many people Lucinda had lost touch with have returned. “It’s brought me closer to people that I was very close to in the past, sadly, under these circumstances,” says Lucinda, who is also looking into creating a book of women’s shared stories of baby loss.

“But in a way, Sarah’s bringing me back friends from whom I’d drifted apart.

“Her memory is doing so many things. Yes, in a heartbeat, I would give all of this up for my baby to be alive. But I know she’s up there. I know she’s with her granny and she’s looking down on me and saying, ‘Go, Mum.’ That’s all I need.

“We’ll treasure Sarah for ever. Sophie knows she’s a big sister — it’s just a baby we cannot see. She’s in our hearts and that’s all that matters.”

To find out more, visit Lucinda’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Inmemoryofsarahgladysscott/

Cradle Charity supports anyone affected by early pregnancy loss. See cradlecharity.org

Snowdrop Group provides support to bereaved parents and families within the Belfast Health And Social Care Trust