'I burst into tears of joy when I heard about the arrival of healthy Milena'
THE Derby Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support Charity, known as Sands, is one of over 100 branches in the UK.
Derby Sands was launched 15 years ago and is now chaired by Louisa Evans, a 40-year-old mum from Heanor.
She runs the charity with the help of four other parents and grandparents who have all experienced the loss of a baby and are trained Sands befrienders.
Derby Sands provides emotional support and practical help to anyone who has been affected by the loss of a baby – regardless of how long ago the loss occurred.
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Support is also given to people who have lost a baby due to a late miscarriage, a medical termination or a stillbirth and to those whose baby has died after birth.
The group also works with health professionals at the Royal Derby Hospital to help improve the quality of care and services provided to bereaved parents and their families.
The Derby Sands support group is held on the second Tuesday of every month, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, at The Toby Carvery Meeting Room, Nottingham Road, Chaddesden.
The group is open to bereaved parents, grandparents and friends and allows people to share their experiences and support one another in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Lou said: "There are no words to fully describe the overwhelming grief and utter shock at losing a baby.
"I believe you can only truly understand and empathise with a bereaved parent if you have been through the experience yourself.
"At Derby Sands, we are not professional counsellors. We are simply a group of parents and grandparents who know the devastation and heartache of losing a much-loved and wanted baby.
"It can be incredibly comforting and such a relief to be in the company of others who have been through a similar experience."
Lou said she burst into tears when she found out Faye Chan had given birth to Milena.
"Faye and David are one of the loveliest couples I have ever met. it's just so sad I had to meet them under such circumstances," she said.
"I have tried to support Faye as best I can through the nightmare of losing Zac, through the devastation and frustration of her fertility issues and then through the constant stress of carrying another baby.
"I just can't describe the utter relief I felt when Faye's mum texted me to say Milena had arrived and both she and Faye were safe and well. I burst into tears and couldn't stop – tears of joy that after almost three years of hell Faye and David finally had a healthy baby, but also tears of deep sadness for baby Zac who should have been here celebrating the birth of his sister.
"In these situations, the new baby will never compensate or be a replacement for the baby that dies. I know Zac will always be a huge part of the Chan family.
"The birth of this new baby is bittersweet, and for many parents it introduces a whole new wave of grief and guilt for all that they have lost and missed out on."
For further information about Derby Sands, go to www.derbysands.org.uk or call the helpline on 07864 984523.