A bereaved mum says she would have been lost without the invaluable support of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) following the death of baby son Henry.
Little Henry Bearman was just eight days old when he died in November 2021.
“I went into pre-term labour at 23 weeks and Henry was born three days later,” said mum Lisa, who lives in Bowthorpe.
“Amazingly, he was doing well in the neonatal intensive care unit and there weren’t any major health problems, considering he was so small. However, suddenly, on day eight, he went dramatically downhill.
“They had to resuscitate him but they couldn’t get him back and he died in my arms. Chris and I called our parents to tell them of Henry’s passing.
“We said they could come and see him if they wanted. They came to the hospital, held him and said both their hello and goodbyes.
“It was the worst time of our lives and we didn’t know which way was up.”
Chris, 38, and Lisa, 37, also had to break the news to Henry’s older brother, Freddie. Tragically, he had not been allowed to see his sibling before he died because of Covid restrictions.
“We sat him down on a bench outside the hospital and told him his brother had died,” said Lisa.
“We asked if he would like to see him and he said yes. Freddie gave him a hug and sang a lullaby before saying goodbye.
“As a family, we only had a very short time with Henry. We remember thinking how small he was and were worried if he would be OK, having been born so prematurely.
“Only Chris and myself were allowed to visit Henry when he was alive due to Covid. We used to sit by his incubator and talk to him. We’d tell him about his big brother and what we’d do together when he left hospital.”
After Henry died, Chris and Lisa were recommended to EACH, which supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia. They were encouraged to take part in memory-making exercises, including making hand and foot casts.
“We felt numb at the time and were so grateful to EACH,” said Lisa, who works for an insurance company.
“We’ll always treasure those casts of his little hands and feet. I honestly don’t how I would have coped without EACH.
“I have counselling to talk through everything and advice for how to help Freddie. EACH is fantastic and we always say how amazing everyone is and how much they’ve helped since we lost Henry.
“We did the Bubble Rush last year as a way to remember Henry. We thought it would be a fun way to honour our son and give something back, so more families have help if they’re unlucky enough to find themselves in the same situation.”
Unfortunately, Chris, who works in IT, was ill last year so Lisa took part with Freddie and father-in-law Paul, 64.