A BEREAVED Glasgow mum who delivered her baby daughter stillborn has written her first book to help others cope with loss.
Aude Lombard also hopes to help raise awareness of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) – the charity that helped her through her heartbreaking experience.
In her own words, Aude, who is originally from France, shares how baby Juliette touched so many hearts and how, despite her family’s deep heartache, CHAS helped them find moments of joy at their Robin House hospice.
The 39-year-old found out she was pregnant with her second child shortly before moving to Scotland in 2016 with her husband, Baptiste, and their two-year-old son Raphaël.
While in the womb, Juliette was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, a rare genetic disorder that occurs when there are three copies of chromosome 13 instead of the usual two in each cell in the body.
Aude, from Glasgow's West End, said: “I was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was 20 weeks pregnant when we were given the devastating news about Juliette.
“It was then we learned about CHAS and how they could help. The partnership-working between the hospital and the charity was amazing from the very start and they made sure we felt comfortable discussing every possible situation.
“Juliette passed away in my womb at eight months of pregnancy in May 2017. She was so beautiful and looked like a perfect little baby asleep.
“It was difficult and felt abrupt to say goodbye. Having the possibility to go to Robin House and to process our loss and spend time together as a family was priceless.”
The Lombards spent ten days in total at the hospice. Juliette’s body was placed in a special temperature-controlled room where families can spend precious time with their child.
Aude added: “To be honest, when I was still pregnant the thought of spending time in this room was very difficult to think about but actually when the time came it was a very calm and peaceful experience.
“It was life-changing for me in fact, having that time to process Juliette’s death, to hold her and carry her in my arms and just having the space to think and breathe in everything that was going on was a real gift.
“The hospice staff and the volunteers were all so caring and understanding and made sure we were made to feel comfortable and welcome in a very dedicated and empathic way.
“We all spent a lot of time in the hospice garden as a family and while we were there, Maggie the CHAS gardener was making an avenue of baby oak trees and we were able to plant one of the first trees which was very special.
“They also helped us make footprints and handprints with Juliette which we will forever cherish. They supported us emotionally and practically by taking care of the administrative procedures and the organisation of the funeral.
"The staff also spent time with our son and took him to play games and do arts and crafts which he loved.”
Aude details her personal experience with CHAS and Robin House in length in her book. The family continued to be supported by the charity after Juliette’s passing.
The experience with CHAS even inspired Aude to train as a counsellor herself with a specialisation in bereavement support and trauma management. She is now in the process of setting up her own practice.
Aude added: “Through knowing Juliette we learned that life has meaning and a purpose no matter how short. The whole team at CHAS were truly amazing at helping us to process our grief.
“By writing this book I hope I can provide strength and healing to anyone looking for encouragement in life, whether due to loss, sickness or other difficulties.”
For more information on ‘Juliette’ by Aude Lombard or to buy a copy please click here.