Friday, August 31, 2012

Ryan Seacrest Foundation

While most people knows Ryan Seacrest is the internationally known host of the top-rated primetime talent competition American Idol. He is doing something special.
The Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF) is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for ill & injured children through multimedia and interactive platforms to enlighten, entertain & educate.

The Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF) is a non-profit organization founded by
 radio and television personality and producer Ryan Seacrest.
RSF’s first initiative is to build broadcast media centers, named THE VOICE℠ , within pediatric hospitals for patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media.
General Information
RSF’s aim is to contribute positively to the healing process for children and their families during their stay by developing these centers to bring an uplifting spirit to the hospital community.

Please complete the sentence...

If I could take my child on a trip anywhere, I would take him/her to __________.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Things that we, bereaved mums don't get to watch.

Snakes and ladders, one of the most simple board games children play.  Sadly for some, they never get to play them. More tragic for their mums, they don't get to watch their kids play. 

I was reading Hurting Hope by Charles and Joanne Hewlett. I got the book on Sunday. I think of my friend Ellen Hope, who is thinking of baby Addison's death around this time. Addison is not her first to die, her first, Avery's death was why I got to know her.

I think of another person who will be scattering her son's ashes. A close friend tells me that they are taking his ashes back to the islands. Who would have thought a healthy teenager would be returning to his roots in a vase?

Would you terminate your unborn baby if he has a pre-birth lethal problem?

My answer is "I don't know".  My personal testimony makes me convince that this is not a Yes or No answer.

22 years ago, I gave birth to a gravely sick baby. Because the doctors didn't know his problem, they aided in his first breath, otherwise he would have died shortly after his birth. He lived for almost two months, and I watched over him everyday waiting for him to die.

Would it have been helpful if I was told? In hindsight, the doctors would have known about my baby's problems from the numerous ultra sound scans I had since I was sixteen weeks pregnant. Because he had such a rare syndrome, they did not pick it up. 

But what if they had, how would it have helped me. Abortion is not an option for my religion. A personal friend said, it would be terrible for a woman to go through labor knowing she was delivering a baby who was going to die. At least I was spared of that. However, if I was told, at least I would be mentally prepared.

It took me a long time to recover from my loss. I often ask myself, what if I have known, and asked the doctors not to resuscitate him when he was born, he would have died shortly after he was born, would my grief be less. Sometimes I tell myself yes, I didn't have to wait painfully everyday for two months for his demise and feel his pain. But on the other hand, I had that two months to hold him and love him.

Each woman's situation is different, some opt for a quick fix like therapeutic termination. But they are unaware that all terminations have side effects and they affect the women for the rest of their lives.

This is an excerpt from my book. This is a real case scenario. A mother carried her twin babies to full term. Ome was very sick and one was normal. The mother chose not to abort the sick baby in case the procedure affected the "good" baby. After delivering the babies, she went home with the "good" baby and left the sick baby to die.

Do you remember Dr Bobby Tsang? He was our friend who told me about this twin who was abandoned by her mum on the day. Baby Lo had spina bifida and had hydrocephalus. She was in Nursery 5, the cubicle just before Andrew’s. The cubicles were partitioned on the top by glass and her cot was diagonally across from Andrew. I could see Lo’s cot from my chair and the nurses didn’t mind me popping over to see poor Lo because she had no visitors. Like Sina, the fluid was building up some much that the head was very big. Unlike Sina, she had no operation to insert the shunt to drain the fluid to relieve the pressure. You might think she was a space alien or ET. Lo was just waiting like our little Andrew. The only difference was that Andrew was surrounded by love and lots of people. Lo had that wait alone.  Andrew and Lo were the two oldest babies there and were “hopeless” babies.
Each time I felt moody, the doctors and nurses told me to look up across to poor Lo and reassured me that I was a very loving mum and Andrew and the whole hospital knew it. Indeed, just looking at her gave me this warm fuzzy feeling. I did not abandon Andrew. I wasn’t self-justifying or glorifying myself. When you are in a disastrous situation, you cling to anything that gives you hope.
When I went back to the hospital to say thank them after Andrew had died, I asked how Lo was. Though her mum had abandoned her to die, she still came to give her four woollen gowns. Most of the times she came in for a fleeting visit to pick up her soiled woollen gowns. They needed to be hand-washed and the hospital would not wash for her. I had seen her couple of times and I asked the nurses who she was. They told me she was Lo’s mum.
What’s the profile of a mother who abandons her dying baby?  Was she a grotesque person or an ogre? She was a slightly older Pakeha, not a young mum. No, she was your ordinary person who made her choice of not wanting her dying baby. Her reason, only she knew. But I think I had a good idea. She didn’t want to form an attachment and when the tragic time finally happened, the separation wouldn’t be so painful. Besides, God had given her a healthy twin. I am not quick to judge people now. She was also a kind woman. She told the nurses to give the knitted gowns that Lo had outgrown to another baby. Or was it? Was it that she didn’t want anything to do with things used by Lo? You wouldn’t know.
Andrew wore Lo’s hand me down knitted lemon gown to meet his coroner. Her head had grown too big for her to pull the gown over it. His nurse Daphne gave it to Andrew.
Lo’s short life impacted me in a way that nobody would understand. God put Lo in my life to gently remind me that I am not a failure. She constantly told me that I was a good mum, I did not abandon Andrew the way her mum had abandoned her.
During the Christmas holidays, Dr Bobby Tsang came to our house and told me that Lo had gone to play with Andrew in the Heavenly gardens. No more pain, no more big head. He said he knew I would want to know.

Gruelsome isn't it. But here is one that is worst.

Tragic mix-up in which a baby was mistakenly aborted in Melbourne will be investigated

A TRAGIC hospital mix-up which saw a healthy 32-week-old fetus accidently aborted instead of his seriously ill twin will be the focus of at least two official inquiries.
 The mistake at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital on Tuesday has left the twins' family in shock and numerous questions over how such an error could occur.
The woman carrying the twins had decided to abort one of them on the advice of doctors who told her the baby had a congenital heart defect which would seriously threaten his survival.
Despite earlier checks by an ultrasound technician, the wrong baby was terminated.
The baby with the heart problem was also then terminated after the mistake was uncovered.
Victorian Health Minister David Davis yesterday foreshadowed as many as three inquiries into the mishap and flagged the potential for compensation for the affected family.
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He said the hospital would hire a senior interstate clinician to investigate what happened and the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity would also review the incident.
The council provides advice to the Health Minister of the day on perinatal, maternal and pediatric morbidity and mortality issues.
Mr Davis also said that Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson would be involved to assist the family on conciliation and other issues, analysing what happened and how the family could be helped.
This could include possible compensation.
"There's no question that this is an incident that everyone would have preferred had not occurred," Mr Davis said. "And, indeed, may need very, very thorough investigation."
The hospital has apologised for the error.
"This is a terrible tragedy and the hospital is deeply sorry for the loss suffered by the patient and her family," a spokeswoman said. "We are conducting a full investigation and continue to offer the family and affected staff every support."
The family yesterday issued a brief statement requesting privacy in their grief.
Ms Wilson said the investigations should aim to prevent similar tragedies.
"It doesn't sound like it's some terrible systemic error; it just sounds like it's one of those ghastly mistakes that human beings sometimes make, unfortunately," she said.
"I don't have any clinical information on this particular case, but there is no such thing as a medical procedure that doesn't involve some risk.
"I guess the existence of two fetuses in these circumstances does mean that there is a risk."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A little bud about to be nipped

I once wrote a post about nipping in the bud.

This morning, I joked with my friend Chang Yi. We both posted a photo of the fallen Camelia flowers. She was visiting Perth and was philosophical about the waste that they still gave enjoyment for a few more days. Previously, I found out about Camelia oil and had joked with her that we could produce the expensive oil together. I wrote, what a waste.

In actual fact, I am in no mood for jokes. This Thursday, I was told that a 7 year old kid was dying. I had not met this girl, and she had cancer since she was 3. I  offer myself to talk to the classmates. But with protocol I didn't know if it is  appropriate. I wanted to tell these kids that it is ok to cry, and with death will come to the end of pain and suffering for their friend. She had suffered so much that  it was better to let go. But for her mum, she will always miss her and suffer a lot time.

Last night, I face booked a new friend K who has a child in remission from Cancer. I told her about the kid.

I didn't know the child and her mum's name, but reading K's post, I connected the dots. I asked her if we are talking about the same person and sent her mum  a message. This morning, the mum messaged me, Now we have made a connection.

Here is a mum facing the prospective of becoming a bereaved mum. I am having a mental journey with her and holding her hand.

My heart is grieved, here is a bud about to be nipped. What can her poor mother do? I recalled the days when Andrew was dying, I wanted to spend every minute with him. Friends ask me to rest, but how can I, know my child was dying. I can imagine the mum walking the same road as me, wearing the same pair of pinching shoes.

Don't be strong, It is Ok to cry. I love you, KS.

I got my copy of this book. I started reading it, and hoping get some gem from it as I connect with KS.

Monday, August 20, 2012

For what, fighting in a land that wasn't even theirs?

More NZ troops, SAS could be sent to Afghanistan after deaths

Published: 5:48AM Monday August 20, 2012 Source: ONE News
New Zealand's Chief of Defence Force says more troops could be sent to Afghanistan following the deaths of three Kiwi soldiers over the weekend.
Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, Private Richard Harris, 21, and Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, died when their Humvee was hit by a bomb in Bamiyan Province at 9.20am (4.50pm NZT) on Sunday.
Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones he is discussing sending more troops to protect those already in Afghanistan with the Government.

When I woke up this morning, my heart was heavy. 3 more mothers have joined my club, the club of bereaved mums. I cried for these mums, their children had just been deployed for a week.

Recently, I told friends, I accepted Andrew's death much easier because Andrew was sick and had no quality of life and hence no future. But for a mum to lose a healthy child, full of future, that is a tragedy far more than mine.

In the 16 years I was in Singapore, I was asked by many foreign friends to take them to Kranji War Cemetery. Though many of them had no relations with the  4,458 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated at Kranji War Cemetery. My dad  always wanted to go there because he himself was a victim of the war. One can feel the sombre atmosphere as one sees the miles and miles of markers. Some for victims as young as 19, and some have no names.

As for myself, it is personal. Like other bereave mums, I feel the pain, the waste that those markers are there. For what, fighting in a land that wasn't even theirs?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thank you for your baby.

 When Dr Peter Tang Ing Bing, gynaecologist and obstetrician, my student took me for a grand tour of his medical centre, he had not read my book. I don't think he knew about my story. I didn't want to take too much of his time.  I did not ask him if he ever had to say, "Thank you for your baby" to a mum.

Thank you for your baby.

A recent post on Facebook showed two photos. A mum and dad dressed in blue surgery grub were giving their baby girl their last kiss. There was a line of doctors and nurses who were bent in respect.

The caption was, “Thank you, Thank you.”

It reminded me of my own time. We said yes to the doctor’s request if the hospital could have Andrew’s body, because Campomelic syndrome was so rare. After he died, the doctors and nurses came to pay their respects.

When we had him for the morning, a nurse came and told us there was a message from the coroner that we shouldn’t linger as they needed to perform the autopsy.

We walked slowly downstairs back to Ward 11A. We both cried, knowing that separation was imminent. These would be the last few minutes. I buried my head on his. The ward clerk came and touched my shoulders and my head.

The head nurse, Jenny came and I gave her the doll.

“Tell him it’s from me, his mummy.” I eventually handed him over, however reluctant I was. I felt stupid, why would Andrew need his toy.

Jenny said, “On behalf of the hospital, I thank you for him.”

 I walked away without looking back. Otherwise, I might have snatched him back.

It was the saddest thing; we hugged and walked out of Ward 11A. We had empty arms but they were heavy with an invisible load. No wonder people say the death of a child is the ultimate tragedy.

Ann Chin, “Diary of a bereaved mum, goodbye my baby.”

 Fallen petals of the magnolia flowers represents the hurt in our hearts when our babies never made it home from the hospital. What a waste. But In the bigger scale of things, these petals delay and compost, and provide the much needed nutrients for the tree.

August 19th – Day of Hope

Sunday August 19th 2012 marks the 4th anniversary of the founding of Christian’s Beach. Since that day we have remembered over 15,700 babies and children down on the shore of Mullaloo Beach Western Australia. We wanted to mark this anniversary of Christian’s Legacy beginning by doing something special. August 19th is about honouring and remembering the lives of babies and children that could not stay with us. By doing this we are speaking out about the death of babies and children.
August 19th is a day to break down the walls of society that keep pregnancy, infant and child loss a hush hush subject. People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened. These babies that die are not sad things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters.
August 19th is about openly speaking about these children and celebrating their short lives.
By having this special day once a year we get people speaking about pregnancy, infant and child loss. And by doing this we break those walls down so that people are not afraid to speak about these children anymore.
If you would like to show your support to this day please use one of our awareness images that can be found through my albums page on facebook  You can use the images on your own blog or website. Please feel welcome to post one of our awareness images as your profile picture on your favourite social media website!
With much love and blessings to you all!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We will never have the luxury of seeing our son again."

My students Sefo, Celine, Faith and Hope, whose brother was killed by a drunken driver. No length of imprisonment will remove the pain in their mother's heart. "  We will never have the luxury of seeing our son again."  I cry for you,Teevao Pauli .
Sanele Pauli
TRAGIC LOSS: Sanele Pauli of Mt Roskill was hit by a car after he stepped off a bus on Great North Rd.
LATEST: The family of a teenager who died after being struck by a drunk driver on the night of last year's Rugby World Cup final sobbed as his killer was jailed today.
Sivo Kerr, a 38-year-old builder from Grey Lynn, was sentenced to three years and one month in jail for killing Sanele Pauli.
Pauli, a 17-year-old Avondale College student, was crossing Great North Rd in Pt Chevalier at 2.20am with his two youngest brothers when he was hit.
The trio had just got off a bus and were crossing the road.
He died at the scene.
Kerr will serve two years and six months for driving with excess breath alcohol causing death. He will serve a seven-month cumulative sentence for driving while disqualified.
He has been disqualified from driving for five years.
He has also been ordered to pay a "token figure" of $1500 in emotional harm reparation once he is released from prison and is in full-time employment.
Kerr had a breath alcohol reading of 571 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400 micrograms.
Today, Pauli's mother, father, younger brother and younger sister sobbed as Judge Fraser read parts of their victim impact statements.
He said the pain the family carried was indescribable but they had prayed to God to forgive Kerr.
Pauli's mother's statement said: "If you are given a jail sentence it's good, but you can come out and move on with your life. We will never have the luxury of seeing our son again."
In sentencing, Judge Fraser took into account Kerr's remorse for killing the teenager and the fact he wanted to take part in the restorative justice programme - something the Pauli family have rejected because it was "too difficult to contemplate".
Kerr is a recidivist drink driver who had been drinking at his girlfriend's house on the night of the death. He had an argument with her and then got behind the wheel of the vehicle, causing Pauli's death.
Kerr struck Pauli while driving at a speed of 72.46kmh in a 50kmh zone. .
Judge Fraser said Kerr's sentence needed to deter drink drivers to prevent such an "absolutely tragic consequence".
"We need to reflect the community's need to be protected from people like yourself who get behind the wheel heavily intoxicated," Judge Fraser said.
He said the death was a tragic loss that no sentence would be able to put right.
"This loss is something [the Pauli family] will live with for the rest of their lives, and the court's heartfelt sympathy is with them."
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Judge Fraser acknowledged that Kerr also struggled to come to terms with causing Pauli's death.
"You also wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what happened to Sanele and you stay up for hours," he said.
Judge Fraser said Kerr's time in jail "will be a permanent reminder to you and others touched by this tragedy the horror of drink driving."
Before Kerr was led away, Judge Fraser told him: "This is a chance to take stock of your life and I hope you do that. Sadly, Sanele doesn't have that chance."
Pauli's family would not speak to the media outside the court, but have previously spoken out about their struggle to cope with the loss of their son, described as "loving, funny and well-behaved".
"It's very sad for me and my family," Fili Pauli, the teen's father, said in December.
"He was my special child, my oldest son, my right hand.
"I am so sad. I'm crying when I go to sleep, I'm crying when I wake up, I'm crying when I drive my car. It's so hard. This is the family I look after for 17 years, now he's gone." 
Fili Pauli said the family had forgiven the driver. 
"I'm a Christian. I forgive him. I will leave it up to the police and the courts... I will leave it with God," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News

A new angel

Gary Barlow has tonight revealed the tragic news that he and wife Dawn have lost their baby.
Gary Barlow, Dawn, babyGary Barlow and Dawn have lost their baby Poppy. Copyright [Wenn]
The Take That singer released a statement this evening, saying he was "devastated" at their loss.
The musician and his wife's fourth child had been named Poppy.
Gary Barlow said: "Dawn and I are devastated to announce that we've lost our baby.
"Poppy Barlow was delivered stillborn on August 4th in London.
"Our focus now is giving her a beautiful funeral and loving our three children with all our hearts.
"We'd ask at this painful time that our privacy be respected."
The couple, who have been married 11 years, revealed back in April that they were expecting their fourth child.
The singer broke the news via their Twitter page, posting: "My wife and I are expecting our 4th child. #Anotherowngoal.''
He later revealed that their fourth child was going to be a girl, posting on Twitter: "There's gonna be another girl in the Barlow household."
Take That bandmate Mark Owen had his third child last month.
The couple named their daughter India Fox, announcing the news on Take That's Twitter page.
Our hearts go out to Gary and Dawn at this time.

It doesn't matter, whether you are famous or not, you never know, when your baby is taken away from you. I know it bloody hurts. I know, because mine was taken away from me.