Ben and Carly’s Story

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Forever Stars Trustees Ben and Carly

3 Months before my due date, I was planning my baby shower, my husband Ben & I were going on holiday, decorating the nursery and getting everything ready for the bundle of joy we were expecting in October 2016.

We knew we were expecting a girl, so as you can imagine everything was pink. We couldn’t move due to all the wonderful gifts we had received for her before she had arrived. I had the most perfect pregnancy, no health problems, no morning sickness and didn’t put on hardly any weight.

A few days leading up to the day she was born, I wasn’t feeling well. I had a constant pain in my stomach and nothing helped ease it. I was calling the health professionals explaining what I was feeling and being given advice on how to deal with it.

Then on 20th September 2016, our life was shattered forever. I went to the doctors as I was at my wit’s end and as I felt nobody was helping me. They checked me over and told me that they couldn’t find my daughter’s heartbeat. I knew then that our baby had gone.

I was rushed to the QMC by my husband and I was given a scan which confirmed our fear. Yes, our baby had gone, our beautiful baby was far to precious for this earth and from that day, our lives would never be the same again.

On 21st September 2016 after 18 hours of labour, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Ava who was stillborn. She weighed 6lb 9oz. We later found out that the reason Ava died was because I was a carrier of group B Streptococcus – a condition that in rare cases can cause early labour or stillbirth.

While we were in the hospital, we were told about the charity Forever Stars and the serenity suite that we were able to use. It had a double bed, TV, Sofa and kitchen. It was very private and had to be accessed by a card scanner. It was very peaceful as we were away from the labour suite. The best bit about it was the fact that we could take our daughter outside privately on the patio area and it allowed us to see a lot more of her features that we couldn’t see inside.

The suite really helped us as it gave myself and Ben time to reflect and be with each other away from the labour suite.  We cant praise the suite enough as we got to spend precious time with Ava who was with us the whole time we were in the suite. It was amazing that our family could come when they wanted and make memories with her too.

Since that day, we have felt indebted to the charity which has become very close to our hearts. It all started when we raised £350 in donations from Ava’s funeral, and since then we have done everything we can to raise money and help in the charity.

On 30th April this year which happens to be my birthday, We held ‘Ava’s Family Fun Day’ at Carlton Town Football Club. We had a charity football match, stalls, Raffle and Tombola.

The day was centred around the football match with Ava United V AC Ava. The teams were made up of our friends and family with Ben and his Brother Brett being Captains and my Brother Jake and Stepdad Steve being managers.

We had set a target we would like to raise for the day which was £1500, but as raffle ticket sales were going so well, we increased the target to £2000. The final total had us all in tears and we completely overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity, time, and donations. We raised £4,349.70!!! We couldn’t believe it and were in shock for a few days after that.  Since this initial event, we held a second Ava’s Fun Day and have raised in total over £10,000! We are honoured to have been asked to join Forever Stars as Trustees and we hope we can continue to help within the charity.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our family & Friends for all the support you have given us over the last year. You have been amazing and we would be lost without you all. We would like to thank Christa, our bereavement midwife, who is just amazing, kind and supportive. We cant thank Richard and Michelle enough for the charity and suite as we got to spend precious time with our Ava which is priceless. You have become lifelong friends.

Most importantly we need to thank our Angel Ava as if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have been involved with the charity, met some amazing people and had the opportunities we have had and will continue to have in the future.  We will continue with doing our work with Forever Stars, hopefully help others who have been in our situation and guide them through with our love and advice.

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Forever Stars is committed to working in partnership with all our corporate support partners and as a charity, we focus on supporting families in the Nottingham and East Midlands area.