MOTHER Claire Hamilton knows just how parents feel when experiencing difficulties with pregnancy.
She lost four children during pregnancy and admits her healthy and lively three-year-old son Alfie is something of a miracle.
Now Claire and fellow childhood studies students at Huddersfield University are using their experience and knowledge to help a charity, Bliss.
Claire, Gemma Greene, Rachel Oliver, Kirsty Lodge and Leah Farrar will hold a market stall to raise funds and awareness of the charity which gives vital support and care to premature babies in the UK – and to their parents too.
Claire, who grew up in Halifax, is a second year student at Huddersfield University and gave up a 16-year career as a police officer when Alfie was born prematurely at 28 weeks at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Claire said she hopes sharing her experience will highlight the work Bliss does and encourage other parents to find out more.
She said: “Alfie was born at 28 weeks weighing 2lbs, which is about three months before he should have been born.
“My waters had broken at 26 weeks so it was an anxious time. But they had to deliver him and hope for the best – there was no other option.”
For Claire it was a worrying time because she had already lost four children during pregnancy and the year before her daughter was born at 21 weeks, but tragically died.
Claire added: “It was at that point I met my obstetrician, Shona Hamilton, who was investigating what may have gone wrong and she was there for me every step of the way.”
Dr Hamilton ensured Alfie was born at Calderdale Royal Hospital at Claire’s request and secured him a special care baby bed.
She went over and above the call of duty, quite literally, as Claire explained: “During my pregnancy she met me twice a week which was unbelievable and reassuring.
“When she went on holiday she gave me her number and said I could speak to her every day. She said she’d be on the top of a hill with a signal at 6pm every day waiting for me to call.
“She went over and above what she should do.
“A million things could have gone wrong with Alfie, but there’s been no complications.
“He is a typical, cheeky and lively three-year-old. He loves gym and swimming and he’s just fantastic.
“Thanks for that goes to the people like Shona and Bliss who research premature births.”
Claire first became aware of Bliss from reading leaflets in hospital and she and her fellow students are using part of their course to give something back.
Gemma Greene, from Manchester, had her three-year-old daughter, Molly, premature and the other students have knowledge to pass on to others.
So from today to this Saturday, November 17, the students will run a daily bake sale at Huddersfield Market.
Dubbed the ‘Cake A Difference’ project, they’ll be selling the home baking of local cake makers and promoting the work of Bliss.