Friday, April 27, 2012

Sands Manukau, New Zealand.

Sarah Numan stays at home -" I run Sands Manukau 24 hours. I have 3 angels, Hope, Noah & Willow and 5 living living."  What an incredible women.

Next fortnight on May 13rd will be mothers' day. To most women, it is a day of joy, lavish gifts and eating out. To me, for 24 years as a bereaved daughter and mum, Mother's Day is a difficult one. First my mum died and when other people enjoy themselves, I think of myself who didn't spend much time of my adult life with my mum because I left home at 19. Barely 20 months past, when my baby Andrew died. 

In 2007, my church, Mt Albert Baptist Church had some one pray that Mothers' Day. She prayed for those who had lost their mums, and for those who had lost their children. I felt solaced and felt that she was praying for me. 

On this Mothers' day, do give a thought to those bereaved mums. 

There is a group of wonderful women and men in Sands Manukau. Like me, they are belong to the club of bereaved parents. Because they themselves had gone through the pain of losing their babies, they understand and are better to comfort other parents. These ladies do a lot more than other chapters. 

Mid last year, Television One producer Glenna Casalme contacted me to do a documentary of my book and me for the Baby Loss Awareness Week. It was to be screened in October. Glenna had googled me and invited me for coffee and asked if I was interested.

It is a documentary on how we can make people more aware of bereaved mums and dads and hopefully our sad experience will improve the sad statistics. She said she as also filming Sands Manukau.

The documentary, " It's OK to cry" came out on Oct 9th to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week: 9-15 Oct 2011

I watched the Sands ladies and became friends. I chat with Sarah and Annie and follow their activities closely.

Ka Pai to  The Committee:Annie OChen, Sarah Numan, Sonia Prasad, Lisa Wood, Heather Clark and, Josie Apelu. 

Sarah  makes  these angels with pink and clear crystal. She will be adding blue, green and purple next week. The wings are silver metal. The crystal (Schwartz) are the head. She spent 2 hours and made 70. She also makes the angel key rings and makes  up the Inkless Hand Footprint kits. Leonie, another member is involved by telling her about the shepherd hook bookmark part and ordering them .
They are $8 each with all money going direct to Sands Manukau. 
Leonie Kirwan: Baby Loss Awareness (NZ) made these last year and having been seeing Sarah a lot lately organising the Sands National Training, She told Sarah about these angels and how to make them. Leonie told me, "I have lost more than 2 bubbas we lost Williams twin @ 16weeks and I have had several miscarriages. I get a lot out of writing too and am heavily involved in Sands (Im the chairperson for Sands NZ and run my own group with Nicki)"

 Someone bought 2 of these from Trade Me and said they were for Mother's Day.  What a great idea. Please share around and lets give all those mums out there a lovely wee gift. $8 each and available through Sands Manukau page or Trade Me.

 Annie, Sarah in the middle, and Sonia. These two photos taken during their community service day at Botany.

Contact Info

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The neonatal trust, Auckland.

We provide support to families of premature or sick full term babies as they make their journey through Neonatal Intensive Care, the transition home, and onwards.
We are committed to supporting these courageous families, the people who care for them, and partnering with organisations and people who want to support us.
We are dedicated to making a difficult start to life that little bit easier.

The 'Neonatal Trust' was originally established in Wellington in 1986 by two families with extremely premature babies, The Neonatal Trust became a nationwide network of five regional trusts and one over-arching national trust in 2009.

Our Mission
The mission of The Neonatal Trust is three-fold:
  1. The primary focus is to support parents who have had a baby in a neonatal unit.
  2. To provide assistance and support to children and the families of children, who are or who have been patients in a neonatal unit.
  3. To support the education of neonatal staff and the advancement of medical research relating to the activities of the neonatal units.

Become a Volunteer

 My friend Megan inspired me when she said she was knitting a baby blanket for a Sands angel.  I used to knit a lot, but have stopped because I spend too much time on the computer. Lately, blogger had a lot of trouble, and it was too much hassle trying to load the photos. So I decided to do what Megan is doing,. I walked to the local craft shop, and it was difficult trying to tell the lady that I was going to knit for a dead baby.  As I knitted, I chatted with Megan on the Facebook.

I told Megan, I don't want to knit for a Sands angel, I will knit for a living angel, and see how I could take it to the hospital. 3 days of frantically knitting, I finished it. It would be what I told fellow blogger, Sarawakiana, my knitting teacher would have told me, CHE DIOU, in Chinese meaning, undo, undo. but I was donating it , so I didn't bother to undo. The tension isn't too good, the next one would be better.
 I found on the internet, the neonatal website and called. A very friendly voice answered. She even offered to come and pick it up. But I wanted to go and visit NICU, the last time I went was last year when I went with Dr Aftimos to deliver my book, Diary of a bereaved Mother. Andrew was in NICU for 55 days in 1989 in a different hospital.

Here is Chanelle, showing what the neonatal trust does. She says, they always welcome volunteers. I know where to go during my next long holiday. Chanelle was a NICU mum, Hers is a successful story. Her twins stayed at NICU for 3 months. They are noe 4 years old.
In order to become a volunteer, please fill out the below form.
Volunteer Registration Form (Word Document, 161kb)
Please note, you may be required to undergo a Police check to become a volunteer at the Neonatal Trust. 

Make a Donation

Direct Credit / Internet Banking / Phone Banking

Thank you for your support of The Neonatal Trust.
If you would like to set up either a one-off or regular donation to the Neonatal Trust please contact your own bank by either:
  • logging in online (Internet Banking)
  • calling the bank toll-free (Phone Banking)
  • dropping into a branch
You will need the following information in order to set up either a one-off payment or to set up a regular donation:
Our bank account details:
Bank Account Number: 12-3142-0347708-50
Name of Bank: ASB Bank Limited
Branch: Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Please include your NAME in the Reference panel
Please include the CODE in the Code panel according to which Trust you wish to support:
NZL – The Neonatal Trust (New Zealand)
AKL – The Neonatal Trust (Auckland)
HLZ – The Neonatal Trust (Waikato)
WLG – The Neonatal Trust (Wellington)
CHC – The Neonatal Trust (Canterbury)
DUD – The Neonatal Trust (Otago)

Cheque Donation

Thank you for your support of The Neonatal Trust.
If you wish to make a donation by cheque, there are three simple steps to complete:
1. Please make your cheque payable to:
The Neonatal Trust New Zealand.
PO Box  9366
Marion Square
Wellington 6141
New Zealand
2. Please indicate to which Trust you would like your donation directed.
  • The Neonatal Trust (New Zealand)
  • The Neonatal Trust (Auckland)
  • The Neonatal Trust (Waikato)
  • The Neonatal Trust (Wellington)
  • The Neonatal Trust (Canterbury)
  • The Neonatal Trust (Otago)
3. Please include your contact details (either email address or postal address) so that a receipt may be issued to you

Please note:

1. If no preference is indicated your donation will be given to The Neonatal Trust (New Zealand).
2. The Neonatal Trust (New Zealand) is the overall governing body for the five regional Neonatal Trusts in New Zealand.
3. All the Trusts are registered charities with the Charities Commission.
4. That 100% of your donation goes entirely to benefit either
  • neonatal families in need and/or
  • the purchase of equipment or furnishings in Neonatal Intensive Care Units that directly benefits neonatal families and/or
  • the professional development of neonatal nursing staff and/or
  • medical research into neonatal care.
Thank you very much again for your support of The Neonatal Trust.
You can be assured that your donation will help to make a difficult start to life that little bit easier!

Friday, April 13, 2012

When help is needed most...

No giving up when people are in need'


Recently newly wed Robyn shaved off her hair, her husband Alistair put on the final touches. I always admire people who sacrifice either themselves or their time for a good cause. Good job Shaun. 

I also like it to see a man actively involved in Sands. Men grieve as well when their babies die. 

Shaun Vivian is getting on his bike to raise awareness of an organisation that helps people at the toughest time in their lives.
Mr Vivian and his wife Gaylene lost their baby son Daryl at birth 11 years ago, and though the pain still bites deep, the couple do not hesitate to help parents suffering similar trauma.
The Vivians are co-ordinators for SANDS, a national support group of parents who have lost a baby before, during or after birth.
They are the only two people in the Manawatu region trained to assist people in coping with the death of a baby and the workload is hard, but they will not give up.
"How could we do that when there are people that need us?" Mr Vivian said.
He is taking to his stationary bike to cycle 30 hours to raise finds and awareness for SANDS. He hopes people will support him by riding alongside him or donating money when he pedals at the Women's Expo next month.
In New Zealand there were 721 perinatal-related deaths in 2009, with 30 stillbirths in Manawatu.
Now SANDS is taking on miscarriages, which is going to add to the couple's workload. Mr and Mrs Vivian are happy to take on the extra work but funding is tight.
It costs $3000 to 4000 a year to run the Manawatu branch of SANDS, but that is expected to increase to more than $7000 once miscarriages are taken into account.
"We have on average 300 miscarriages in the Manawatu region on an annual basis," Mr Vivian said.
He said it was not unusual to be called out in the middle of the night to offer support to couples who had lost a child, and that support continued for as long as the family needed it.
"We take photos for them, help put them in contact with other people and listen to them when they need us."
The couple have two other children, but say they will always remember Daryl.
"The pain doesn't leave you but it does get easier to cope with," Mr Vivian said.
The Women's Lifestyle Expo is on May 12 and 13 at Arena Manawatu.

Sands Manukau
If my wonderful friends are unable to come to Palmerston North for this event, you can still show your support by sponsoring these guys. Here are the bank details. Thanks everyone xPedaling for Baby Angels
we have had Westpac Bank come onboard with us by giving us a free account to use for those who want to give donations with no bank fees. thanks alot Westpac you have looked after us now for awhile and glad to see you could come and help.

account details for anyone is
acc name "Peddling for Baby Angels"
acc num 03-1519-0020934-00

this account will stay open till end of June 2012 to cover the fundraiser then transfered to our normal Sands account.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

sids: The ghost that comes and steals your healthy child away.

I am using the analogy of this Elephant Ear plants as SIDS. If you happen to brush against this plant, or ingest it, it will make you very sick and very itchy. Some parts of plants are poisonous. They cause tongue and stomach irritation that can cause itching, swelling, and difficulty swallowing. Almost all genus and species of the family Aracea contain calcium oxylate crystals. Think of it as tiny shards of glass. or fiberglass.

I first came to know SIDS, Sudden Infant deaths and it became very real to me when two colleagues (spouses) came to ask me for special compassionate leave. Their daughter just rang. Her new baby just died.

She had taken him to a routine baby check up. Had a coffee before she came home. Put him to bed and went to the kichen. The next thing she knew, baby won't wake up and had died. Though they pacify her that he had SIDS and it was no fault of hers, her own finger pointed back at her. She always regreted that cup of coffee. What if she didn't?

Recently, I befriend Megan Lee through the most unusual circumstances. When I found out the tragedies in her life, I had to thank God that I only lost Andrew. Megan lost 2 boys to SIDS and two to miscarriages.

Megan posted on her Facebook page: Help. Please. Those who know me well, know that this is a cause, dearly close to my heart and soul. Help if you can. xxxx
Spring for SIDS
Put a Spring in your Step … add a little Sunshine to your heart and Spring for SIDS by wearing your favorite Spring outfit and your SIDS sticker.

Her friend Cynthia Ohrns-burkhow added:
04/20/12. I want to share her two boys pass away in loving memory. If you want to donate come to look up CVW Angels 4.
It would mean the world if you guys come and support:

At the beginning of this year, I met L. at a seminar. I introduced myself as a bereaved mum. She whispered to me that she too, was one. Taken by SIDS, what was more cruel was it became a police case.

God brought these two women to me at the most unusual circumstances, to mutually comfort each other.

Brave Pamela Cook.

My friend Linda Edwards shared a link on her facebook. It is about Pamela Cook. I watched the video, and I cried. Brave Pamela, she is a bereaved mum like me, and my sisters in Sands.

I chose flowers and photos of Australia dedicated to Pamela. Photos of Oz, where I go for my holidays.

Woman Who Went Through an Unimaginable Trial Makes Judges Cry The X Factor Australia 2011 Pamela Cook Audition

Pamela faced an unimaginable choice when she got breast cancer while pregnant - abort the baby to help her survive or keep her faith. Watch what she chose and watch how her story and song bring judges and audiences to tears. So touching.

An Australian X Factor contestant has revealed her battle with cancer.

Pamela Cook, a 30-year-old single mum and teacher who impressed the judges on the reality show with her rendition of 'Because of You' last week, said that she was devastated when her long-term partner and father of her son Zion walked out on her on the last day of her chemotherapy treatment.

Cook was 16 weeks pregnant when a lump on her breast was diagnosed as cancer. She refused to terminate her pregnancy, had Zion delivered nine weeks early and underwent treatment.

"There's no way I could terminate [my baby's] life," she told New Idea magazine. "I just knew if I prayed hard enough, I'd be okay."

The X-Factor contestant Pamela Cook and son Zion Menzies. Picture: Jo-anna Robinson

THE baby Pamela Cook had fought so hard to protect could have died as the result of her breast cancer.

Her incredible story came to light after the 30-year-old auditioned for the latest series of reality television show The X Factor.

The primary school teacher and aspiring singer had already suffered a miscarriage the year before, and was facing the bleak reality that the cancer she was fighting could cost her a second chance at motherhood.

Pamela was four months pregnant when she was given the news that a lump had been found on her breast.

She was told by doctors her best chance of survival would be to terminate the pregnancy.

"My instant response was absolutely not," she said. "The doctor said, `Pamela you don't understand what we're saying. You'll be much easier to treat if we terminate. There's no point in being a mother if you're dead'."

But she refused and, following surgery to remove the cancer, began intensive chemotherapy.

Doctors delivered Pamela's son nine weeks early, weighing a tiny 1.5kg on October 8, 2010. In December, the doting mum was able to take Zion home - although her cancer treatment continued through to March.

A further blow came the day after Pamela finished her last round of chemo, when her fiance walked out.

"He waited till my last day of treatment and then he left," she said. "It's amicable now, but I was so gutted and so disappointed. The cancer really changed him and I think it was the dose of reality that was too much."

It was during her recovery that Pamela became hooked on reality television and decided to try out for The X Factor.

"When I saw the ad for the auditions, I thought I would give it a go - life's too short," she said.

She soon found herself in front of judges Guy Sebastian, Ronan Keating, former Spice Girl Mel B and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.
"I would love to record a country album," she said.

Sadly, like many bereaved mums, her partner left her. A death of a child either cements a relationship or destroys it.

***was facing the bleak reality that the cancer she was fighting could cost her a second chance at motherhood.***

Thank you Roger, the above statement wasn't very clear, but in the show, it was very clear, and was what captivated me. She explained why she didn't want to abort the pregnancy because she already lost a baby to miscarriage.

Thanks Roger. I checked my links again.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Due Dates.

Amaryllis (pronounced /ˌæməˈrɪlɨs/[1]) is a small genus of flowering bulbs, with two species. The common name "naked lady" stems from the plant's pattern of flowering when the foliage has died down.

The volcanic formations within the Auckland region have developed within the last 140 000 years. Volcanoes are a conspicuous feature of the Auckland city landscape. In some cases their form is emphasised by their preservation as reserves and parks, while in others they have been quarried to meet the city’s demand for building materials. Within a radius of about 20km centred on Auckland city there are 49 discrete volcanoes; this is the area referred to as the Auckland volcanic field.

This is the crater of Mt Eden. We often walk up the volcanoes and take friends up there. The Crater is very big, and is a Sacred area. Visitors are asked to respect this and asked not to climb over the barriers and climb down the slopes.

One year, I went there with a New Zealand friend. To my surprise, 1/8 of the slope was covered with flowering lilies. My friend told me that in this country they are called Naked Ladies. When they are blooming, their leaves dry up and hence they called called as such. I was wondering, why only that patch of the crater has the Lilies.

We sat down to appreciate the flowers and the view of Auckland. Being mothers, we talked about the pink lilies are like mums, they suffer and almost die at child birth, and being resilient, they pop up again the next year and bloom beautifully. In my heart, I was thinking, how many mothers feel naked with empty arms when they babies don't survive. So each year, at this time, when I see the Naked Ladies, I think of all my sisters, who like me, didn't get to take their babies home. Because their babies have gone ahead of them. Something unnatural against the rule of Nature. You don't bury your child. Your child buries you.

On Sunday, I watched the science writer Adam Wishart 23 Week Babies: The Price of Life (BBC2), which dealt with a similar dilemma and an even more harrowing subject. When I watch such documentary, no one talks, Because Mum is somewhere else. Mum is teleported to National Women's Hospital and in a time machine to 22 years ago. I was told Andrew was a worst case scenario and he was dying. I didn't have to make the horrible decision to pulling the plug. We were at peace when we accepted the doctors' advice to let nature take it's place. But I pity all the parents who were left to make that decision.

I facebooked my new friends I had made at Sands, mums who had lost their babies. One told me she lost 3, and little did I know, that it was the anniversary of one of them on Tuesday. I am sure she would have cried buckets. I did.

I wrote in my book, "Diary of a bereaved Mum," The day when Andrew was due. Andrew was born 3 weeks early. I was sitting at the corner of his ICU cot, and staring at him. I was staring at him, and wondered why he came early. I had the irrational thinking," Shove him back! Shove him back! He will be born normal."

The due date of a deceased baby is extra hard for a bereaved mum. What if he/she never came early, but on the date he/she was supposed to come, would he/she be a bouncy baby like all babies should be?

This post is for S and all other Sands mums.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Pink Room, birthing theatres

As I am sitting at the computer, I hear the TV news. In Australia, The mother of a baby who died during an unassisted water birth said the newborn's umbilical cord was pulsing moments after she was delivered, a coronial inquest in Sydney has heard.

Roisin Fraser died during an unassisted "free birth" at the Sydney home of her parents, Janet Fraser and Trevor Stokes, in March 2009.

Following the birth, which took place in a purpose-built pool, the baby girl was red in the face, limp and unresponsive.

Ms Fraser had written and published articles in favour of free births since 2003 on a website called Joyous Birth.

She had given birth twice before, once via caesarean section and once by unassisted free birth.

Ms Rees said Ms Fraser found the experience of giving birth by caesarean section traumatic, describing it as "birth rape" on her website.

Out of my mum's 9 children, I was the first of four babies born in the hospital. I was born in Borneo. My mum was a great believer of hospital births. She said the doctors and nurses were experienced, and the hospital had facilities. Do you know how much work is involved in a home birth? Mum asked. Helen, the second baby of our set of twins would have died, if she wasn't born in the hospital without the quick thinking of the mid wife.

When it came to my turn to deliver my babies, I was in New Zealand. It was getting fashionable for natural childbirth in 1984. National Women's hospital modified a theatre to make it as much like home as possible. They called it The Pink Room. I wasn't offered this option, as it was my first birth, and I was 30, an old first birther. They played some music, and I don't think they had water births then.

After my first delivery, I told my daughter, I wanted to kill her. Her 26 hours labouring almost killed me. Had I chosen to stay at home and have a free birth, both mother and baby would have died. I had a dry delivery, my water broke a day early, and when she came, there was no water to provide the lubricant to help slide her out of me. Few hours prior to that, a nurse used a contraception to remove the water that remained, otherwise, according to her, labour won't begin and I risk infection. It was excruciating, and I can still feel the churning of the egg whisk inside me, and the sound cruck cruck. By the time, she was coming, I was too tired to push, she was too tired and looked like an old dry prune.

Of course, you all have read about Andrew's birth. If I had him at home, he would have died perhaps 1 hour after birth and not after 55 days. I had that 55 days to love and cherish him.

Last year, I met up with Andrew's peadrician, Dr Salim Aftimos. I asked him about the new system that midwives delivered babies. He said, if there was no complications, things would be fine. But who is to tell, many of the complications don't make a prior appointment. If it happens, it is too late. He has daughters, and he strongly advised them to go to the doctors.

I am an advocate of hospital births. I am a member of Sands. I meet with newly bereaved mothers.

Why these photos of the pink curtain? The pink room!!!! I teach ESOL at Mt Albert Baptist Church. The space I use is actually the Music room or Music storeroom. The pink drapes hide the paraphernalia of the musicians. When I am there, I think of the other Pink Room.