“I never want to stop talking about Nash. That’s how we keep him alive, especially for our daughter, Iris. Everything I do is about keeping his name alive for her, because she will always be his big sister.” – Jaimi Barrett, baby Nash’s mum.
I hear a lot about miscarriage and a lot about stillbirth, but less about the fact that an infant just a few months old can die from other causes, like my baby boy Nash did. He’d just stopped breathing at day-care and was rushed to hospital by ambulance. He spent 4 days with us by his bedside in paediatric intensive care, but his brain had been without oxygen too long. There wasn’t going to be a good outcome.
The one decision we got to make was when to withdraw Nash’s life support. We chose 10:46am the next day, because that was the time Nash had been born, only three months and 27 days before. He was a little fighter. Nash stayed with us for four hours after this as we held him before he passed away laying on my chest, with me, my husband, and our two-year-old daughter by his side. We miss him so very much and still can’t process that he is gone.
It’s hard not knowing a reason why he died – we are still waiting for the coroner’s report. I have so many questions, but I have to find a way to be patient, and to continue our lives the best we can for the sake of our daughter. Talking about Nash and doing things that bring him to mind helps. All three of us wear a necklace with Nash’s ashes in it, and we have his hand and footprints and a lock of his hair to keep at home. But I want to do something more, too, to help others and to make sure Nash is never forgotten.
That’s why we’re supporting Red Nose’s Say Their Name Day on March 25. I want people to be more comfortable with families like ours talking about our children who’ve died. It’s important to us that more people understand that babies and children can die from so many different causes, and that they’ll always be a part of our lives. When people ask me how many children I have, I always include Nash, but most of the time people don’t know what to say and it becomes awkward or upsetting.
I’m also grateful for the support I’m receiving from Red Nose’s counselling service and want to help make sure it is available for more families like mine. I didn’t think I would want to talk to a complete stranger about my story, but the Red Nose counsellor has a way of making it seem normal and I just talk to her like I would anyone. It’s hard to find someone to talk to who understands unless they’ve been through it but it really makes a difference when you do.
Say Their Name Day is on March 25 – a special day to remember all of the little lives we have loved and lost, and support bereaved families.