A Worksop nurse whose son was stillborn is turning her grief into action with a charity fundraising day to help other parents through the pain.
Carla Allen, aged 32, and her partner James Spence received the heartbreaking news on June 16 that their son Ernie had died in the womb due to a hypercoiled umbilical cord.
Carla, who works as a nurse and lives in Manton, said: “You don’t expect it. People talk about early pregnancy loss, but you never think about problems at full-term. I’d carried him to 39 weeks and he’d been perfectly healthy. To be told there was no longer a heartbeat was devastating.”
Twelve weeks on, Carla, James, and their three-year-old daughter Edith are still coming to terms with the loss.
She said: “It’s still hell. Every day is a battle, just getting up. It would be easy to sit around crying.”
Instead, Carla and her sister Amy Dennington have put their energies into fundraising for charities which could help other parents.
Carla said: “We set up an online donation page two days after I had Ernie, and it raised £3,500 within a week. We’re now up to around £9,000.
“It’s not just the money, local businesses and councillors have offered help, and people have shared the story.
“I’ve received hundreds of messages of support from all over the world. I thought I was alone, I didn’t realise how often it happens,” she added.
The family are now in the process of setting up a charity of their own, and the next step in the campaign is “Ernie’s Big Day”, a community fun day at Manton Sports on Sunday, September 18.
Carla said: “It’s the date I’d originally planned to have Ernie’s Christening, so now I’m hoping everyone will come to make it a different sort of celebration and help take us over £10,000. I want to say a big thank you to the community too, they’ve helped me get this far.”
The event starts at 12noon and will feature a bouncy castle, face-painting, children’s entertainment, a tombola, raffle, and stalls selling everything from beauty products to handmade gifts.
The money raised will go to help buy a new monitoring machine for the labour ward at Bassetlaw Hospital, and JOEL, a support network helping families who have experienced baby loss.
n To find out more about the campaign, find Ernie’s Wish on Facebook at http://bit.ly/2c6Uife.