It is a place that gave her precious time with her stillborn daughter and as a family they had time to come to terms with their loss.

In 2017 Aude Lombard was given the devastating news that her daughter would not survive birth. Juliette had been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 13, which prevents a baby’s vital organs from developing properly. She died during the 36th week of Aude’s pregnancy.
Mrs Lombard and her husband Baptiste were blessed to be able to turn to Robin House, in Balloch, a charity run by Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

While the couple were initially hesitant, as the concept of children’s hospices does not exist in France where they are originally from, the emotional and practical support they received surpassed any picture they could have imagined as they faced their heartbreak.

HeraldScotland: Juliette, published in both French and English, she talks about the help received from her local hospiceJuliette, published in both French and English, she talks about the help received from her local hospice (Image: Aude Lombard)
Now five years on Mrs Lombard, from Glasgow, has written a book to highlight how important the role of children’s hospices are and has also retrained as a counsellor
In Juliette, published in both French and English, she talks about the help received from her local hospice from the moment she and Baptiste, received the prognosis that their daughter would not survive birth.
“Without spreading fear, these professionals encouraged us to think about every possible outcome and to decide how we wanted to face them,” said Mrs Lombard. “We couldn’t decide anything before the birth but we could as least express what we didn’t want – such as aggressive treatments that would prolong any suffering.”
After Juliette died, the couple moved into Robin House with their older son, Raphaël, seven. Having professionals who understood the mixed emotions they were experiencing, and could help, was invaluable.
“We moved in as a family and Juliette was placed in the Rainbow Room, a cold room brightly designed to welcome a child who has just died. She stayed there for five days,” Mrs Lombard said. “To be honest, when I was still pregnant the thought of spending time in this room was very difficult to think about but, actually, when the time came it was a very calm and peaceful experience. It was life-changing for me in fact, having that time to process Juliette’s death, to hold her and carry her in my arms and just having the space to think and breathe in everything that was going on was a real gift.”
Over the following days and weeks, staff and volunteers at the hospice provided empathy, care and comfort that the family would not have been able to find elsewhere.
She added: “They helped us make footprints and handprints with Juliette which we will forever cherish. They supported us emotionally and practically by taking care of the administrative procedures and the organisation of the funeral. The staff also spent time with our son and took him to play games and do arts and crafts which he loved. The time we spent at Robin House was an experience which had a very profound effect on me. It enabled me to say goodbye to Juliette in my own way and in my own time.”

HeraldScotland: Robin House helped the Lombard's create memoriesRobin House helped the Lombard's create memories (Image: Aude Lombard)
The children’s hospice movement is a relatively young one having only started about 40 years ago. Yet the UK leads the way when it comes to hospice based palliative care for babies, children and young people, with 54 venues compared to only 12 in America, Canada and Australia combined. However, hospices rely on more than 80% charity funding to be able to carry out their work.
Robin House Hospice was one of the 54 venues visited by ex-BBC Children’s in Need nurse Francesca Lennon on her recent 3,200-mile cycle ride across the UK. She rode 46 miles a day for 10 weeks, raising £86,000 on behalf of children’s hospices.

By writing this book I hope to show why we need to support these charities as they care for families through times of unimaginable heartache

And recently Ms Lennon, who recently met up with Mrs Lombard, said: "I looked after lots of sick children working in the NHS but I didn't know that much about hospices before I worked in one. Talking to people and their perceptions of what a hospice does, I feel like it’s probably the same for most people. We tend to think of them as separate from the NHS, given that they’re charities. But what I thought was quite a small cohort area offered families all these other ranges of support. Seeing what families go through and the difference it makes, was incredible.”
Data published by MBRRACE-UK shows a 20 per cent drop in stillbirths and neonatal deaths across the UK since 2013. While another report, shows that babies with life limiting conditions born to families living the most deprived areas of the UK are eight times more likely to die.
It’s figures such as these that Mrs Lombard felt compelled to help raise awareness.
For Mrs Lombard her experience with CHAS inspired her to retrain as a counsellor specialising in bereavement support and trauma management.
She added: “By writing this book I hope to show why we need to support these charities as they care for families through times of unimaginable heartache. I will always be grateful to CHAS for all the help and support they gave my family.
“I also wrote this book to provide strength and healing to anyone looking for encouragement in life, whether due to loss, sickness or other difficulty. Through knowing Juliette, we learned that life has value no matter how short. My heart is to communicate that.”

You can buy a copy of Juliette here.

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