Precious memories for grieving families

Maternity nurse unit manager Jenny Pople and the Clayton family, Erin, 8, Karen, baby Jake, 4 months, Ben and Cody, 6, with maternity nurse unit manager Wendy Newman and the new camera kit. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON

Maternity nurse unit manager Jenny Pople and the Clayton family, Erin, 8, Karen, baby Jake, 4 months, Ben and Cody, 6, with maternity nurse unit manager Wendy Newman and the new camera kit. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON

WHEN Emelia Clayton died soon after her premature birth, the staff at Launceston General Hospital made sure her mother didn't have to return home empty handed.

With their limited camera gear, nurses recorded memories that would help Karen Clayton and her family through their grief.

A friend later put Mrs Clayton onto Heartfelt, a volunteer organisation of professional photographers who take photos of stillborn, premature and ill babies or children for their families.

They edited her photos to a professional standard.

"We felt very fortunate - it's not something we thought about at the time," Mrs Clayton said.

"It meant that we had something to take home, because you think you're taking a baby home. It's comforting to have something to remember her by."

Yesterday Mrs Clayton presented the LGH maternity ward with a Heartfelt camera kit, including a small portable printer, ink and photography tips, in memory of Emelia.

She said the kit would be important in circumstances where a Heartfelt photographer wasn't available.

"My hope is the camera will never have to be used, but the reality is it will be, so I hope it helps other families," Mrs Clayton said.

"This is something that's been in the making for a while, so today's a bit bittersweet, but it's nice to give back to the hospital because they were wonderful to us at a very difficult time."

For more information on Heartfelt, visit https://www.heartfelt.org.au/.

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