INSPIRATIONAL Vicky Smith cradles the baby who’s brought her hope and joy after the trauma of miscarriage.
The 26-year-old’s world fell apart when she lost her first child during the early stages of pregnancy, sparking her into launching a miscarriage charity.
Now Vicky and partner Shaun Bell, 32, have the baby they so longed for.
Jacob Steven Bell was born healthy and is settling into life at the family home in Red House.
Vicky said: “I still can’t believe he’s here and he’s mine. I just keep looking at him.”
The nurse suffered a miscarriage last summer, 13 weeks into pregnancy.
Though devastated, she channelled her grief by launching the 4BabyBell charity to provide keepsake boxes for those affected by miscarriage and to raise awareness.
She now hopes Jacob, who was born on July 10 weighing 7lb3ozs, can also offer hope to parents.
“The pregnancy was an emotional roller coaster,” she said. “There were a lot of ups and downs. I was excited but there was also the fear of losing him.
“We did lovely things during the pregnancy like having a maternity photoshoot and having a cast made of my bump, but that thought of what happened before was always at the back of our minds.”
Since launching 4BabyBell, 11 hospitals, including Sunderland Royal Hospital, are now stocked with hand-made keepsake boxes containing items to help with grief, which are given to those who lose a child before birth.
Vicky, of Redhill Road said: “We are always getting emails from people who say that the boxes have brought them so much comfort.
“Another reason for setting up the charity is that we didn’t want anyone to go through miscarriage without recognition of their baby.
“Often early miscarriages are treated differently to late miscarriages and still-birth but it is still the loss of a life.
“I think gradually people’s perceptions of that are changing.”
The community staff nurse at Cleadon Park Primary Care Trust added: “Talking about miscarriages really helps to deal with it. Since we launched the charity we’ve spoken to friends, family and neighbours who we didn’t even know it had happened to.”
Vicky and Shaun are determined to honour their first baby who never made it to birth.
She said: “We never knew if the baby was girl or a boy but I always think of him as a boy. We will tell Jacob about his big brother when he’s older.
“My mum and dad lost a girl before they had me and I always knew about her.”
She added: “Everyone has been fantastic. I just want to say a huge thank you to the 4Louis charity, Jacob’s grandparents, staff at Cleadon Park and Dawn Tate who lost her granddaughter to miscarriage.”
*The 4BabyBell charity will have a stall at this weekend’s airshow.
For more information visit www.4babybell.co.uk.