Home-Start offers practical and emotional support to new parents, and on these two incredible occasions, that support was even extended to the delivery room. Here are Kirstine and Cody's stories: 

When Kirstine Rode faced the prospect of giving birth to her second child alone she reached out to the one person she trusted the most, Kerry Dickson, a family coordinator at Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

Kirstine said: “I was facing going into labour to have my daughter with no one to hold my hand. My partner was at home looking after my son so couldn’t be with me. There was only one other person I trusted enough to be with me at my daughter’s birth.

I called Kerry and told her I was on my way to the hospital to have my daughter. By the time I got to the hospital she was already there. Seeing her in the waiting room I felt such relief. It was then I realised I could depend on her for anything.

Kerry was a huge support to me the day Enija was born, but she’s also been a huge support to me ever since I was four months pregnant when I was first referred to Home-Start. I was all the time alone. My partner worked long hours so I’d spend day after day with just my son for company. I was totally isolated.

Without Home-Start supporting me my life would be completely different. I went from having no one to having people in my life who I know I can depend on. Now, I’m happy, my children are happy and I have plans for the future.”

Cody's story: 

Cody Blake found herself in a similar situation during lockdown as she prepared to give birth to her second child.

As a single parent with little family support, Cody faced the prospect of giving birth alone. Like Kirstine, Cody turned to the one person she trusted, Marie Ashford from Home-Start South Warwickshire. Cody said: “Marie didn’t leave my side until baby Finley was safely delivered. When you have a baby you want to share the experience with someone.

Facing it alone feels so lonely, so isolating. Having Marie there turned it into something positive.

It was only when I was settled on a ward did she leave. Marie returned the next day with premature baby clothes including sleep suits, hats, nappies and vests. It was such a huge relief because I had nothing that would fit my tiny 3lb baby.

Finley and I were in hospital for a week and then he was then transferred to Warwick Hospital’s special care baby unit. I don’t drive so visiting Finley would require six buses to do the round trip, but even then the timings made it impossible. The thought of not being able to see my baby was unbearable.

I couldn’t face not being able to feed or change him. But one phone call from Home-Start removed all that stress. Marie arranged for Home-Start volunteers to take me to and from the hospital, so that I could visit and bond with my baby.

With these daily lifts to and from the hospital I could hold Finley, change his nappy and feed him. Skin-to-skin contact is especially important for prem babies, and thanks to this support I was able to do that. Finley was in hospital for four weeks.

Without this support I wouldn’t have been able to see him, bond with him, I can’t imagine how I’d have been able to function. Both my own and Finley’s mental wellbeing would have suffered immensely.

Going home from hospital without your baby is tough. All around me were new parents excitedly taking their babies home. I felt so low about it. My time to take Finley home came four weeks later. Marie was once again there with me. It was such a relief to finally have him home and away from the sterile environment of the hospital.

Home-Start support helped us to find our feet as a family of three. Home-Start volunteers picked up the special prescription milk Finley needed and would bring over shopping so we didn’t have to leave the house. They made our early days manageable, I honestly don’t know where I would have been without them. Life with a premature baby is a complicated mix of clinics, hospital appointments, tests and check-ups. 

Home-Start made sure I didn’t have to face this alone and was constantly there to help both practically and emotionally.”

Find out about how Home-Start could support you

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