'Our baby's death in July left us devastated - but on Tuesday we have somewhere to grieve with friends'

Devastated mum and dad Rachael and Ben Wigglesworth will never forget July 2019.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 3:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 6:32 pm

Their little girl, Isobel, had suffered a difficult year. In March she had gone through complicated heart surgery to correct a rare condition that left her with a hole in her heart.

But after the stress of going through the surgery at St James Hospital in Leeds, she seemed to have got through that and seemed to be on the mend.

But in July, they were left devastated, when they found their 14-month-old daughter had died.

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Rachael and Ben Wigglesworth, with baby Isobel and Max earlier this year.

Her tragic death was not related to her heart condition, Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a rare combination of several defects. She had stopped breathing, a result of bronchial pneumonia.

“It was so hard,” said Rachael, from Armthorpe. “She was over the surgery. For her to be taken away from us a few months later was devastating. She was only 14 months old.

“She had been in hospital for a few processes before the heart surgery. but she was at home with us most of her life, just like any other little girl.

“Isobel was a really happy child who doted on her big brother, Max. She used to love making noise banging things together, she loved chocolate and she loved playing.

Doncaster Minster. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-02-03-19-Doncaster-10

“She was only 11 months old when she had her operation, and her heart was fully repaired. The broncho-pneumonia was a complete shock. It’s been three months now, and it has been hard for both of us.

“Max seems fine, but he’s only four and a bit young to fully understand. He’s started school and doing fine. Me and Ben are plodding along, and we’re both having counselling.”

Rachael is now finding speaking to others who have been through similar tragedy is a source of great comfort and help, giving her the chance to share their feelings.

She has struck up an online friendship with the mum of the baby boy who is buried in the plot next to Isobel at Rose Hill Cemetery, in Bessacarr.

“It helps having someone to speak to,” she said. “There isn’t really a support group for bereaved parents in Doncaster, although there are social media groups. But it does help to be able to talk to someone else who has been through the same as you.”

But on Tuesday, Rachael and Ben, and many other parents who have been through the same, will be visiting Doncaster Minster together, as the venue hosts an event to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week an annual event to remember all the babies that have died. It culminated with Wave of Light on Tuesday at 7pm.

Those taking part lit a candle. Some photographed their candles and share them on social media with the hashtag #waveoflight.

Church leaders agreed to open the Minster for the event after being approached by Doncaster mum Michelle Slack-Torres, who lost her son Isaac when he was a baby.

Rachael said: “It's extremely important for Doncaster. There will be bereaved parents who may feel the don’t have anywhere to go. This is a chance to light a candle and remember out babies together, with other people who have had a similar experience. I hope this will happen every year.”