"Our daughter Bessie was born on 6th June 2014 at the John Radcliffe in Oxford. Following early contractions at 30 weeks gestation which Northampton General Hospital managed to stop, I developed polyhydramnios (increased amniotic fluid) and was sent to the JR for an amino-reduction 2 weeks later. Having an amino-reduction brings on a risk of going into labour as your body thinks your waters have broken. Unfortunately that’s what happened with me and within an hour of having the amino-reduction where 2litres of fluid was drained, Bessie was born. It was a very fast and scary labour. When she was born she wasn’t breathing and went immediately on a ventilator. Although we knew it wasn’t a normal birth, we were not too alarmed by the ventilator as she was premature and we had been warned she’d need help with breathing.

Doctors had initially thought the reason for the increase in amniotic fluid was likely due to a problem with Bessie’s oesophagus not being connected to her stomach. However early tests revealed that her oesophagus was connected fine as they could get a tube down into her stomach. Following other tests including an MRI, they realised that her brain had not developed as it should have done (it was smooth and not bumpy like it should have been at that gestation). They concluded that Bessie was brain damaged and that’s the reason why she couldn’t breathe for herself or regulate the amino-fluid properly. When she was 5 days old we were told the heart breaking news that she would not survive and if she did she would have no quality of life. There was no reason why this had happened to Bessie, for some still unknown reason she had simply not developed in utero as she should have done.

The next 7 days were all about doing more tests (some of which could only be done whilst she was still alive) and making memories with her before we had to make the decision to say goodbye. That decision came on Friday 20th June 2014. We got her dressed in a little outfit, took a lock of her hair and gave her a last clean and then all her wires were unplugged and we went to a private room where they removed the manual bagging that was continuing to keep her alive and she died peacefully in mine and my husband’s arms. Words cannot describe the anguish we felt. It remains one of the most difficult times in our lives. We will miss her forever. 💕

In 2015, to mark what should have been Bessie’s 1st birthday, we decided to do a “Fundraising Fortnight” to raise money for SSNAP and we raised over £11,000. Now as we approach what should have been her 10th birthday, we are embarking on another Fundraising Fortnight which we affectionately call “Bessie’s Buddies Fundraising Fortnight” (BBFF for short) as it’s a time when everyone who loved and cared for her (and us) can come together to remember her, raise money in her memory and keep her legacy alive.

The idea of the fundraising fortnight is to have at least one fundraising event taking place every day for SSNAP between 6th June (Bessie’s birthday) and 20th June (the day Bessie passed away). It can be anything from bake sales, race events, car boot sales, sponsor weight loss, afternoon tea - anything goes. We will be doing a lot of events ourselves but also friends and family involved will be organising their own events or activities. All proceeds will come through this page so that we have a complete running total.

To keep up to date with the events and news, please follow our BBFF 2024 Instagram page:

Instagram page

Thank you to everyone supporting us in our endeavours this year to mark this 10th anniversary milestone and help remember Bessie by raising money to help other babies and families in a similar situation."

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