'Heartbreaking' loss of two boys inspires mum to help bereaved parents
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Premature baby loss is "heartbreaking" for any new parent, an Ipswich mum has said - but worse if you have no clothes to put them in.
Kylie Dorling recalled how she gave birth at 21 weeks aged 16. Her child would be alive for less than half an hour.
"I started bleeding and went into hospital scared as hell," she said.
"They told me I was gonna have my baby early and he might not make it.
"Then I went into labour, I had my baby boy, and he lived for 27 minutes."
Kylie then realised that the only clothes she had were too big for her premature baby and "swallowed" him up.
"My mum was running around town trying to find something and she ended up buying doll clothes."
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This harrowing experience inspired her to start Shining Star last month, which gives Ipswich Hospital handmade knitted clothing for premature babies.
It took her some time to be able to get over the loss of this child, Lewis.
Yet tragedy would strike again when she lost Curtis, who she gave birth to at 23 weeks, when she was 18.
She said: "At 25 days old, the day came when the doctor told me we needed to turn his machine off.
"This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.
"It was very hard to accept that both my boys had gone. I never wanted to try for a baby again."
Kylie also lost her brother, dad and nan during this time and dropped out of college.
"I just really couldn't handle life. It's a different kind of loss when you go through labour, just heartbreaking."
The 30-year-old Chantry mum did give birth again to two more boys. But her post-natal depression with one of them made it difficult to be there for him.
"We now have regular visits," she said, before adding how "grateful" she is to family and friends for their support.
Kylie's friend Laura Leathers, who cares for disabled adults, also started the group.
Laura explained how after her mum, a nurse, died in 2018, she wanted to honour her baby loss.
"My mum sometimes felt very depressed," she said. "And she used to worry about everything after my 23-month-old brother died."
The 34-year-old also thought her son Jamie, now 14, was going to die after they found a hole in his heart.
"If it weren't for Guy's Hospital in London, he'd be dead."
When lockdown ends, Laura and Kylie hope to start a support and fundraising group in the Chantry area for those grieving the loss of children that died at any age.
The Shining Star team is made up of Kylie's partner Andrew Perks and Laura's husband Peter Leathers - as well as Karen Lea, Sarah Saggers and Tracey Bailey, who do the bulk of the knitting.
To donate, click here or join Shining Star by searching Facebook.