A grieving couple who lost their son face burying him miles away from home in a new ordeal.
Tonaia Samuels, from Stafford, and her partner Oli McInness, 22, are battling to avoid laying baby Ne’miah to rest in Wolverhampton.
They are eligible for a free burial in the city as he was stillborn at New Cross Hospital on March 12 after a scan showed no heartbeat.
But a fundraising appeal has been launched in the hope Ne’miah can be buried closer to home.
Tonaia, aged 21, said having him nearer would mean she could more easily visit his resting place, reported StaffordshireLive.
Recalling the heartbreaking loss, she said: “I went to New Cross for a routine growth scan on the morning of March 11, as I had a scan at 32 weeks that showed he was smaller than expected.
“I was in the room on my own due to covid restrictions. I had multiple scans from a few different people. They looked at each other and then told me his heart had stopped beating.
“What happened next is a blur but I remember screaming in the corridor.
“Later at about 6pm, they took me to a suite and told me they had to induce labour, and I could either stay at the hospital or go home and come back later.
“I decided to go home and be with my family, who stayed with me until about 2am. I then went back to the hospital on March 12 with Oli and Ne’miah was born sleeping.
A stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. It happens in around 1 in every 200 births in England.
If the baby dies before 24 completed weeks, it’s known as a miscarriage or late foetal loss.
Contact your midwife or doctor straightaway if you’re pregnant and worried about your baby – for example, if you’ve noticed your baby moving less than usual. Don’t wait until the next day. If your baby is moving less, it can be a sign that something’s wrong and needs to be checked out.
What causes stillbirth?
Some stillbirths are linked to complications with the placenta, a birth defect or with the mother’s health. For others, no cause is found.
What happens when a baby dies before they’re born?
If your baby has died, you may be able to wait for labour to start naturally or your labour may be induced. If your health is at risk, the baby may need to be delivered as soon as possible. It’s rare for a stillborn baby to be delivered by caesarean section.
After a stillbirth
After a stillbirth, decisions about what to do are very personal. There’s no right or wrong way to respond.
A specialist midwife will talk with you about what you want to do – for example, holding the baby or taking photographs. They can also discuss the tests you may be offered to find out why your baby died and give you information about registering the birth.
Can stillbirths be prevented?
Not all stillbirths can be prevented, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, such as:
- not smoking
- avoiding alcohol and drugs during pregnancy – these can seriously affect your baby’s development, and increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth
- not going to sleep on your back after 28 weeks – don’t worry if you wake up on your back, just turn onto your side before you go back to sleep
- attending all your antenatal appointments so that midwives can monitor the growth and wellbeing of your baby
“I was shocked and heartbroken. Oli wasn’t allowed into the scan but he has been with me the whole time since and supported me around the house, and he has been so resilient.
“He has not been at work due to covid, but he would usually be working in a warehouse in Stafford.”
The mum said she and Oli had been “scared but excited” when they found out they were expecting a second son, a brother for 14-month-old Nasiah.
She said: “My other son was about five months old at the time. I wanted it to be a girl so we could have one of both, and at the time I thought I would be feeling quite defeated in a house full of boys.
“Oli and I had decided on the name together and we were getting ready to welcome him into the world.
“We wanted to have a private funeral with flowers and horses and everything to make it as big as possible, but as a young mum the costs were a struggle. I want the nice flowers and the horses.
“Because of covid, we have to limit the numbers, but having the flowers at Stafford Crematorium is our way of making it a day to remember for everyone.
“We could have had a burial paid for but he would have been buried in Wolverhampton.
“We wanted him to be buried in or near the Stafford area, so if I was having a hard day, I could go and visit him.
“We want to take Nasiah to the funeral. When we took him to the mortuary near the hospital, he went over to his little brother’s body and kissed him on the forehead.
“We had the gender scan at 16 weeks that revealed it was a boy.
“We picked the name Ne’miah from a list on the internet, but I didn’t really like the spelling, so I added my own twist by putting in the apostrophe.
“This is why we want Nasiah to be at the funeral, so he will know and remember he had a brother when he grows up.
“The funeral is the only thing I could ever give him, and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity.
“I am so thankful for everyone that has donated so far.”
A fundraising site has been set up by Oli’s family friend, Nicole Turner, 38, from Cannock, who has been through a similar tragedy.
“Tonaia’s mother-in-law is a close friend of mine and, after I heard about her, I knew I had to do something,” she said.
“I lost my little boy in 2017 and I felt the urge to reach out and help them. She isn’t in a position as a full-time mum, so she and her family need support as they are under financial pressure.
“I know they have to start arranging their little man’s journey home to heaven.
“While a basic funeral is free for a child, unfortunately, horses and pretty flowers aren’t, and the stress and worry of that after losing their son will be of great torment to them.
“When a baby dies, there is a free hospital funeral at the nearest crematorium, but it is far more appropriate to pay respects in peace and bury a child locally.
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“Cannock is a wonderful town, so I’m begging anyone to please help if they can.
“I’d like to say I cannot imagine their pain, but I can. I felt a need to help this mother give her child the only thing she ever can before he goes home.
“Tonaia is a very brave girl and we have to look out for each other. The support has overwhelmed us so we are incredibly grateful.”