Brave Salford mum Becky Allan will be marking Mother's Day 24 hours earlier this year. On March 25th she'll be supported by twenty good friends on a sponsored walk to raise support for a 'cuddle cot' in Greater Manchester.
Becky and her partner Adam found out that she was pregnant on the day before her 21st birthday in late August. She was thrilled to learn that she was carrying identical boys but in late November heard the heartbreaking news that her pregnancy was showing as Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).
The little known condition affects one in six identical twin pregnancies and meant her babies shared the same placenta, with one getting more blood and fluid than the other.
Within hours Becky was referred on from St Mary's in Manchester to the National Women's Hospital in Birmingham for specialist urgent laser treatment. The next day, supported by her sister in law Chantelle Rahman and Adam, she booked into a Birmingham hotel after her pre-op, and the day after that she was told that one of her babies was dead. Even then her sorrow was not over. 24 hours later, on the journey back to Salford, she went into labour.
Becky gave stillbirths to Blake and his brother Bryson on the hard shoulder of the M6. First on the scene was a Road Traffic Officer, Keith, "who couldn't have helped us enough: he was lovely"'. She was taken to nearby Warrington Hospital with her twins.
The very next day she was back at her home in Salford facing the sudden, terrible deaths of her two boys and aware that she was sharing a loss felt by her own mother and by her nan, who had also delivered stillbirth babies before her. She had been through a nightmare that lasted for four days.
"If there was a cuddle cot, I would have brought them home" says Becky referring to the refrigerated mattresses that slow up the process of decay and allow time to grieving parents coming to terms with their loss. There is no central register of cuddle cots in the country.
Becky and her friends will be doing a sponsored walk on Saturday 25th March, to help raise £1,600 that the suit costs, and place a plaque on it to her boys, Blake and Bryson.
"The more people that want to join in the better, I wanted to do the walk on the Sunday but then I thought I might not be up to it" she says "I want to help another parent who's going through the same thing in the future..."
The walk begins at noon, from Levens Street, off Littleton Road, M6 6DY, and anyone can join in.
You can support Becky by donating at https://www.gofundme.com/salford-cuddle-cot
Update: 22nd March: The Sands Helpline can provide a safe, confidential place for anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby – whether a baby died long ago or recently. The number is 020 7436 5881 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Helpline is open: Monday to Friday: 9.30am-5.30pm and Tuesday and Thursday evenings: 6pm-10pm.
* Since this article appeared it has been pointed out to the Salford Star that there are indeed some existing cuddle cots in Greater Manchester, so the piece has been amended to reflect this.
Words by Conor Hartnett