Skydive is my way of helping others

A WOMAN whose child was stillborn is determined to help other women in a similar position.

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Jacqueline Miller was 41 weeks pregnant with her first child when she was told that doctors could not find her son's heartbeat.

The 32-year-old, from Parkhead, Glasgow, was devastated. And now she is determined to raise cash for a charity which helps people in the same horrific situation by jumping from more than 10,000 feet up.

The nightmare for Jacqueline and her partner Colin Bonner, 32, began when they were expecting their first child and had gone to hospital because the due date was past.

Jacqueline said: "We went in on June 21 to get a date to start me off because I was due on June 16.

"We went in for a normal check-up and then they said they wanted to send me for a scan. It was at that point I thought something was wrong."

As the couple waited for their scan, Jacqueline's worries grew.

"We went into the room and they started doing the scan," she said. "They were looking about and the nurse didn't even get the chance to tell me what was wrong.

"She just said my name and I knew. I just started screaming."

A doctor confirmed their worst fears - their son's heart had stopped beating and Jacqueline was later given medication to induce labour.

"It was devastating," said Jacqueline.

"That night was horrible. When I got home I could still feel movements and I couldn't understand why the baby was still moving if they told me he had passed away. We were hoping they had made a mistake."

Before going back to the hospital the next morning, the couple looked at all the baby clothes and toys they had laid out.

"We had a travel cot in the living room," said Jacqueline. "It was one of those ones which played music and vibrated, and before we left the house we played some of the tunes on that."

The couple named their son Liam Bonner and gave him the middle name of Columba, after Colin's father who had passed away just eight weeks before.

A funeral was held for baby Liam, at Linn Crematorium in the South Side of Glasgow, where the couple were supported by friends and family.

Since their son's death, Jacqueline and Colin have undergone several unsuccessful cycles of IVF, and are now looking at adoption if they are unable to conceive naturally.

"It's really important to us to have children" explained Jacqueline, who is now training in childcare. We are planning to get married in November. We've got it all booked and are really looking forward to it.

"It has been hard because we've been trying for nearly nine years, and we've still been unsuccessful in having another child.

"Part of me says it's maybe my body telling me it doesn't want to go through this again."

Jacqueline has helped to support other people who have lost a child, including one of her close friends, and said that talking about Liam's death has helped her come to terms with it.

"I took far too long to go and get help to speak about it. Be proud of your baby, talk about them as much as you can. It really helped me to get through it."

Jacqueline will take part in a tandem skydive on March 15 to raise funds for Saying Goodbye, a charity which gives support to grieving parents.

It is part of the Mariposa Trust, which last year held the first commemorative services - including one in Glasgow Cathedral - for people who had lost a child.

Strapped to an instructor, Jacqueline will face her fear of heights and leap from a plane flying between 10,000 and 12,000 feet up and parachute down.

She hopes to smash her fundraising goal of £600, and has raised £550 so far.

"It's a great charity and well worth jumping out of the sky to raise money for," she said.

"There's nothing else I can do for my boy now, so this is a way of remembering him and trying to help other people"

To sponsor Jacqueline, visit her fundraising page at com/fundraisers/jacquelinemiller1


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