A grieving mum was forced to dress her stillborn baby in a teddy bear outfit for his funeral.
Dannon Freeman, 23, from Heysham, went through the agony of losing her son Derrin at 30 weeks.
She had no other option than to dress her tiny son for cremation from a Build-A-Bear workshop after scouring shops – and struggling to find clothing for premature or stillborn babies.
Now she is battling to ensure that other bereaved mums don’t have to experience this extra heartbreak following tragedy.
Dannon and partner Gary Saville, 41, learnt that their baby boy had no heartbeat during a routine scan.
She said: “You don’t expect it to happen especially when you get to 30 weeks.
“That morning I was fine, full of energy. I got up early, I walked to my mum’s. When I walked into the cul-de-sac and mum was out mowing her lawn and she just looked at me and said, ‘Why are you walking here?’ I felt fine.”
But then tragedy struck.
Dannon said: “I went for my normal antenatal at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and my blood pressure was really high. A consultant came in and discovered that my baby had no heartbeat. When they did the scan we knew straight away, the way everybody was acting with us. It was horrendous.”
The mother of one-and-a-half year-old Ellis had to endure the agonies of giving birth to her dead child then shopping for clothes for her baby son’s funeral, who at 2lb 11oz, weighed around the same as a bag of sugar.
She said: “The staff in Build-A-Bear must have thought we were mad. But nowhere had anything. We drove all the way down to Blackburn and the lady there was just saying ‘oh no, we don’t have anything that small’. In the end I just stomped out.
“It’s just silly that there is nothing available out there for stillborns and premature babies.”
Baby Derrin was cremated in a Liverpool FC bear shirt.
His grandmother, Marrie Freeman, 46, picked her grandson’s team colour shirt specially. She said: “At least when he’s 21 watching the match he will be looking down thinking my granny put me in a good shirt!”
Now Dannon is determined to make sure no other grieving mum has to go through this ordeal after losing their baby.
She emailed more than 150 people to ask for clothes for premature and stillborn babies to be donated to the hospital. After almost giving up, help came in the form of wool and a shared experience.
Louise Hopwood, who runs the charity Pearl and Peggy, set up in memory of her twins who were born at 21 weeks, contacted the family and said yes to the family’s plea.
Dannon said: “It was a huge relief when Louise contacted me because nobody else emailed us back. We provided her with wool and she hand knitted and sent us a full bag of clothes and baby grows.
“When Derrin was dressed it just made everything so much better, and we just think if the midwives can give people outfits it just makes their job a little easier.”
Derrin was cremated in November and now rests in a handmade box in the family’s home.
Dannon said: “The midwives at Lancaster were brilliant; Emma, Nadia, Wendy, Tracy, Sue, they all came to the funeral.” Dannon also thanked charity midwife Celia. The collected clothes have been donated to the Maternity and Special Care Baby Unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.