This lovely picture is of happy family, Sam and Anthony Lowes from Billingham, with their beautiful twin daughters Lucy and Freya, who were born in November 2015. With them is Sharon Wilson from Butterwick Hospice Care Family Support Team. To look at them Sam (29) and Anthony (34) are an ordinary young couple. But theirs is an extraordinary story of tragedy, grief, despair and finally great joy. Their ordeal could have ended very differently.
Sam and Anthony really wanted a family and Sam became pregnant with twins. They were overjoyed and full of plans. But tragedy struck 16 weeks into Sam’s pregnancy when it was found that one of the twins had died. At 17 weeks Sam went into labour and neither of their little boys survived.
The couple were distraught at their terrible loss and then grief took hold of Sam and she spiralled into a despair that altered every aspect of her normally very sunny personality. Sam said: “I didn’t want to go out of the house; I might see other young families which would make me really upset.”
She was in the darkest place and although he tried Anthony could not seem to help her. It was at this point that Sam was referred to the Family Support Team at Butterwick Hospice Care. Sam didn’t want to come to Butterwick. She said: “I couldn’t understand how someone could say something that would make me feel better. I was at the end of my tether. That was when we met Sharon, from Butterwick Hospice. I felt in such a bad place. I told Sharon about my terrible feelings. Sharon explained I was experiencing the effects of grief. Over the weeks Sharon helped Anthony and I to talk through our feelings together as a couple. She helped Anthony and I to understand each other’s fears and emotions.”
Eventually Sam fell pregnant again with twins. Sam compared everything with her last failed pregnancy, but Sharon was there to help her cope and Sam gave birth to two healthy little girls.
“We came back to Butterwick for the final time when the girls were three weeks old. We wanted Sharon to share in our joy and to thank her for all the help and support she had given to us.”
Butterwick’s Family Support team provide a counselling service to patients whose GP surgery is within the Borough of Stockton on Tees. The Family Support team relies upon charitable donations to continue its work.