Friday, March 30, 2012

Flowers and the bereaved.

Flowers are wonderful and beautiful things. One day, I sent by interflora a big basket of tulips. After I had done it, I wish I had sent some orchids. Tulips don't last.

"A florist has just delivered the flowers – I couldn’t believe it. I was actually having a really horrible day – lonely and rather teary, and your flowers put a huge smile on my face.

They are beautiful pink tulips which are one of my favourite spring flowers – how did you know?

It was sooooooo thoughtful and loving of you – thank you so much." K.

"Glad you liked them. I like tulips too, but the practical person in me wished I ordered orchids. That would last longer." I replied.

K. replied," Sure, orchids may be more practical, but tulips are tender and special, and come from the heart."

We were told that Andrew was dying from day one. A friend, Gwen brought a pot of orangy brownish Chrysanthemums,aka Mums as they are called in USA. It was when I was still warded. Flowers were not allowed in the ICU.

She said,"you can grow it when you go home."

I took it to the nurses' home where the hospital gave us a courtesy room. I hardly took care of it as I was in ICU and went to the room only to sleep. Andrew died 55 days later, I went and I cleared the room and took all my stuff home two days later.

I planted Gwen's Mums in a corner of the garden by the patio. Often I would sit at the patio and look at what I had called Andrew's plant. I sat and reflected and wrote and wrote all that had happened to me. Did the plant give me comfort or sorrow? It was significant enough and remained in the niche of my brain for me to always think of the little plant whether I see Mum flowers.

It was last year, around this time that I finalised my book to be released on Good Friday. The memories of the Mum plant were a vivid as ever.

Recently, I went to a friend's house, and I saw her Mum plant. It looks just like Andrew's Mum plant. A little flowering orangy brownish plant. I didn't have my camera. I asked my friend if I could come back and take a photo. I didn't tell her why.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stealing from the dead

My very clever Chinese grand dad used to say, you can steal and offend anyone but the dead. You can't repatriate to a dead person, and an angry soul is impossible to appease.

This is a post I did in 2005 with a very high profile case where a rising member of parliament had to resign. Today, another moron has done it. I am very passionate about this. if some one steals my late baby Andrew's identity, I would be in court to give my victim's testimony or victim impact statement.

This is the stuff you read in books or watch in movies. I am most upset that people actually do go to cemeteries and steal babies' identities. Many of you know that my baby died, and I would not only be flabberghasted but be extremely angry if some idiot had stolen my late baby's identity and use it to apply for a passport.

New Zealand Acts party hard line law and order spokesman MP David Garrett has told Parliament he created a false identity by applying for a passport in the name of a dead child 26 years ago.

In a statement to the House this afternoon, the MP said he had used the method outlined in Frederick Forsyth's novel The Day of the Jackal to apply for the dead child's passport.

Mr Garrett said he had applied for the passport as a prank - to see if it could be done - and had never used the passport, which had since expired.

Mr Garrett was arrested years later as part of an investigation into bogus passports, conducted by the police in the wake of the discovery Israeli Mossad agents had used the same method to obtain New Zealand passports.

The MP said he had expressed remorse to the parents of the child and written to apologise to them. Today he said he would carry the remorse with him for the rest of his life.

I took this photo of a baby's grave. It is not my son's.

An elderly man who stole the identities of dead children to con taxpayers out of $447,000 has been sentenced to three years and two months in prison.

Colin Diedrichs remained undetected for more than 20 years as he claimed extra superannuation payments using the details of two boys who died in the 1930s and'40s.

One of the family members of the dead boys wrote to the court and described Diedrichs' offending as "horrible and distressing''.

The long-running rort was discovered only when Diedrichs applied for passports in the dead children's names.

He was arrested in November after a joint investigation by the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Development and police.

The 82-year-old has pleaded guilty to 17 criminal charges, including use of a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage and false representation under two different names.

According to the Ministry of Social Development, the theft is the third largest benefit fraud ever uncovered.

Diedrichs' lawyer Lincoln Burns accepted it was a large amount of money but $350,000 would be returned to the Crown.

He also sought a discount for Diedrichs' early guilty plea.

The retired gardener admitted to a Probation Officer that he knew what he had done was wrong.

"I had money but not enough. I was being greedy. I never thought I would get caught, looking at my age.''

The use of stolen identities of dead children is similar to how former Act MP David Garrett obtained a false passport.

Inspired by spy novel The Day of the Jackal, Garrett visited a cemetery in 1984 and found the gravestone of a two-year-old boy, whose birthdate was close to his own.

He copied the details, obtained the child's birth certificate, filled out a passport application and photographed himself in disguise.

Garrett was arrested in 2005 - before he entered Parliament - and resigned in disgrace in September 2010 when suppression orders were lifted to reveal his conviction for passport forgery.

The identity theft was described in court documents as "akin to stealing from the grave'' by the dead child's mother.

Benefit fraud cost taxpayers a record $22.6 million last year and nine social welfare staff were sacked for ripping off the system.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rainbow heart

I woke up today and found that the window of my bedroom had shone a rainbow heart on my old fashion wardrobe. My first reaction was God gave this to Cheryl, my blogging and Facebook friend. I grabbed the camera and went to snap the photo. To make the story more interesting, the rainbow was gone. Clouds have blocked the sunbeams from coming in. I waited and waited, and saw it again. So here you are, Cheryl.

To those of you, who say this is not a perfect love heart. Life is like that, our life is not a perfect regular love heart shape. There are times when our lives are bumpy and out of shape, but it is still a heart. That is why I love Cheryl. She looks for hearts all over the place. And some of her hearts are not perfect love hearts that my kids draw inschool.

But as I was getting the photo ready to load on Facebook, I was thinking. This rainbow heart is also for me. Hence this post. I am giving a short talk of my life in Mt Albert Baptist Church this morning. As I go over and over in my head what I was going to talk, God gave me this rainbow. I am not sure if I will talk about this, but I sure am going to blog about it.

Genesis 9

New International Version (NIV)

God’s Covenant With Noah

11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Rainbow babies are conceived after the lost of a baby.

"Rainbow Babies" are the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and the clouds. Storm clouds may still loom over but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and much needed hope.

Red riding hood's cape

My school had a book sale to raise funds and inspire students to read. e had a book eek. I did my bit to encourage my kids. I asked them if they wanted a Red Riding Hood's hood. I surprised them with a home made hood. They all wore it and I took photos. Sorry I couldn't show you all my Red Riding Hoods. This one, I had to put blinds on.

This past week, the cousin of this girl who modeled my hood told me that her aunt who I had met briefly and her grand ma were in a drastic accident. I thought of my mum, This year is her 25th anniversary. Mum was killed in a very bad car accident. Barely less than 2 years after her death, Andrew was born.

This cape or hood is easy to make. I used a piece of velcro at the collar. The kids love it, even the boys. If you have kids, it's a great dressing up. I didn't even use a sewing machine. Buy the kind of material that won't fray, and it is easy to make.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sands Manukau.

Contact Info

Miscarriage Packs

Our Miscarriage Packs are available for parents whose baby dies any time up to 12 weeks gestation. These include either a teddy bear or footprint candle, a footprint ribbon pin, Angel key ring and contact details. If you do not receive one of these packs and would like one, please contact us and we will be happy to courier one out to you.

Hand/Feet Casting As Baby Loss Memories

Features Forever are an experienced and compassionate company who will come to you at your hospital, funeral home or your home to take beautiful casts of your baby’s hands and feet. They have nothing but the highest respect for your baby and your loss. Sands Manukau will cover the cost of 2 hands and 2 feet for families coming through Middlemore Hospital as we understand how important these beautiful tangible memories are. You are then free to discuss with Lisa if and how you would like them framed. Whether you choose to frame them or not, the casts are yours to keep. Follow the link and visit their Angel Casting Face Book Page for more information.

Support Packs Baby Loss
Baby Loss Support Packs

Support Packs

These are contained in our Baby Loss Care Bags and may also be available from your doctors, midwife, hospital or bereavement support team. They contain practical information for going through the necessary steps to be taken after a baby has died. It you have not received this pack and would like to do so please contact us and we will get one to you.

One on One Support Through Your Baby Loss

Sands Manukau are here for one on one support for those who feel they would benefit more from this than a group setting. This kind of support may take a bit more time to arrange as we are volunteers. However if you feel you need this kind of support, please contact us and we will arrange something.

A Heartbreaking Choice

Parents who discover that their baby is terminally ill, or won’t live long after birth are welcome to contact us and ask for our one on one support. A volunteer who has been in a similar situation can talk, listen and be available for as much or as little support as is needed. A leaflet entitled ‘A Heartbreaking Choice’ is also available through Middlemore Hospital or by contacting us.

From The Heart – Baby Loss Magazine of Our Members

This is our bi monthly magazine that is compiled of experiences, stories, letters and poems from parents, friends, family. It also includes our babies anniversary’s, notices about Sands Manukau, upcoming events, announcements, book reviews and more. If you have anything you would like to add to a magazine issue, please contact us. This magazine is free to all members.

Sands Manukau – Baby Loss Memory Boxes

Our memory boxes are kindly donated to us by The Decorative Artists of New Zealand. These beautiful boxes are included in our Care Bags for parents to keep their special keepsakes safe. If you did not receive a memory box at the time of your baby’s birth you can request one from one of our meetings.
Baby Loss Library Books

We have a selection of books which members are more than welcome to borrow from us. These books can be collected at one of our meetings. We are looking to extend this library when funding allows.

Botany Community Day and Sands

Who understands you better when you have a tragedy of losing a baby?
Who walks with you further when you have a tragedy?
Who holds your hand when you have a tragedy?
Who cries with you when you have a tragedy?

I hope you never have one.
But if you have the misfortune of having one,
One of losing a baby.
Thank goodness, there is Sands.

The lovely ladies with Gary and Mark the organisers. Perhaps I should photoshop and paste my face.

On Saturday 10 March, the annual Botany Community Day was held at Botany Town Centre in South Auckland.

This great event was an opportunity for local residents to come along to the centre and get advice from organisations such as Inland Revenue, the Salvation Army and the Botany Crimewatch Patrol. Local creative arts centre Uxbridge organised a live entertainment. There were free dental checks, health checks and breast screening for the local residents.

The day is being organised by local figures including Pastor Mark van Wijk of the BotanyLife Community Church and Community Constable Gary Boles.

Sands Manukau was there.

Sands New Zealand is a network of parent-run, non-profit groups supporting families who have experienced the death of a baby. We have over 25 groups/contact people around the country.

All of the people involved in Sands give their time and energy voluntarily - we are not a government funded organisation. We do not have a national office or any paid staff. Most of our members/supporters are also bereaved parents.

We offer empathy and understanding. We are not counsellors and do not give professional advice but we do offer an opportunity and environment to share experiences, to talk and to listen. We promote awareness, understanding and support for those dealing with the death of a baby in pregnancy, birth or as a newborn, and due to medical termination or other forms of reproductive loss. We are registered with the Charities Commission.

For me, when I as shortly bereaved 22 years ago, I went to Sands meeting. There was a co-ordinator ho as bereaved 17 years, and she came a long way. I was touched. She would ring me during the day. Today, I attend some of the meetings, to try to wear the shoe of that wonderful woman ho helped me so much.

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 will be screened in October. Glenna 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. These ladies are incredible. They do a lot of things to support newly bereaved. Today, they spent the day at their information tent.

Ka Pai. Annie OChen, Sarah Numan, Sonia Prasad, Lisa Wood, Josie Apelu and Sarah Olivet,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ronald McDonald House Auckland and parents with sick children

It is inside here I had my meals among the doctors and nurses and staff.

Up on one of these floors, was a floor for parents. We had a room. I did not go home during those 55 days.

Walking out of those doors with empty arms was the most difficult things a mum could do. I won't want that to happen to anyone.

Ronald McDonald House Auckland
Here’s Caesar busy playing computer games, along with House Mum Jessica who told us she has found our computers to be a “bit of a godsend”, using them to find out more about her daughter’s medical condition. Huge thanks from everyone in the House to our Business Club friends from ASB Bank who donated and installed the computers for our families.

When Andrew was in the National Womens' hospital in 1989, there was no Ronald McDonald House in Auckland. The hospital was very good to us. They gave me a room in the nurses home and gave me the meals, and free creche for my older daughters, Deb and Gab.

It was the TLC the hospital, doctors and nurses and all the staff that kept me going. When faced with a dying baby, you grapple with what's happening. Without these lovely people, I would have thrown in the towel and given up.

It still gives me funny feeling when I go to the hospital. I reflect on the good things of the birth of Deb and Gab, and these wonderful people.

Friday, March 2, 2012

7000 rare genes.

My Chinese grand dad used to tell a Chinese version of Little Miss Bo Peep. The cloud is liken to be our diseased children. One moment, they are there. the next moment they are gone.

29 February was RARE genes day. There are 7000 rare genes diseases.
In New Zealand, the (NSU) provides health screening programmes.

Today, I went to the monthly meetings of Sands. Many of us do not know why our babies die.

The Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme screens for rare but potentially serious disorders such as phenylketonuria (PKU), cystic fibrosis, and congenital hypothyroidism.
A blood sample is taken from your baby’s heel at or as soon as possible after 48 hours of age (the ‘heel prick’ or ‘Guthrie’ test). If a disorder is found, early treatment can prevent permanent damage or death.

Did you know that...

While most babies look healthy, there are some disorders that aren't visible
Early treatment of these disorders can prevent potentially serious complications which can cause permanent damage to the baby or even death
To screen for these disorders, a sample of blood is collected from the baby's heel
The screening is free to babies born in New Zealand (

How to get your baby screened

Your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) or midwife will discuss newborn metabolic screening with you during your pregnancy. You will be offered screening for your baby when s/he is 48 hours of age. If you have any questions about screening, have a look at the Frequently asked questions on this site, if there is no answer you can submit a question from that page.