Real Life

REAL LIFE: 'We lost our daughter, but we've found happiness again with our new son'

Sarah-Jane lost her baby daughter Halle to heart problems, but vows to always keep her memory alive

When Sarah-Jane Malcolm and her partner Cameron Weir lost their three-week-old daughter Halle, the last thing on their minds was another baby.

In 2014, little Halle had a cardiac arrest, after being born with heart complications and enduring heart surgery at just days old.

But the family, who also have a seven-year-old daughter, Keryn, are looking forward to a family Christmas again this year, thanks to their “rainbow baby” Noah, who was born this summer.

Baby Noah with a picture of Halle

From the day he was born, Sarah-Jane and Cameron were determined that Noah would know about his sister Halle, and have introduced them through photographs.

“The longing [for another baby] was always there [after Halle died] but I think we always knew that we couldn’t possibly try straight away,” explains Sarah-Jane. “When we decided we were going to have Noah, the ‘wanting a baby’ took over the fear.”

Throughout her pregnancy, Sarah-Jane, 30, was understandably anxious, and feared that she’d lose Noah too.

Keryn, Noah and Halle

“I was thinking that having the baby die would be the more probable outcome than having a healthy baby at the end. It just seemed like we were never going to have that, and the pregnancy was really difficult,” she recalls.

“Even now it’s hard to believe he’s here. There’s no way Halle could ever be replaced but it’s nice to have happiness again. He’s given us something we thought we’d never feel again.”

Halle is still very much part of the family. As well as including photos of her in family portraits with the other children, the family, who live in West Lothian, make sure she’s part of their Christmas.

“We have a Christmas tree up in the house, but we also put one up in the cemetery for Halle. So we all go up as a family and go and decorate that, and my little girl puts a star on,” she says.

The family with baby Halle

Halle’s memory will also join Noah in his new nursery, which the family are currently decorating. “We’re getting a wall mural done for Noah. It’ll all be about him but we’ll also have a rainbow which symbolises him being a rainbow baby, and we have a star with Halle’s name in,” Sarah-Jane tells Closer.

Noah’s name was also chosen to mark the fact that he brought hope to the family after their tragic loss. “We chose that after the story of Noah’s Ark, because that’s how Keryn has always had things explained to her,” Sarah-Jane says.

“She knows that Noah represents the rainbow baby, that she was the sunshine, and that Halle dying was the storm.”

Halle, before she passed away

Sarah-Jane is also in awe of how well little Keryn dealt with the tragedy. “Her understanding is amazing,” she tells us.

“If people ask Keryn about her baby brother, she’ll say, ‘I’ve got a sister as well in heaven’. If someone was to ask her to draw her family, she’d draw a brother and a sister. The only difference is she always puts wings on Halle.”

Keeping Halle’s memory alive, and talking about her regularly, has helped to make the experience less painful.

“We do loads of things for the British Heart Foundation in Halle’s memory.” says Sarah-Jane. “It means people aren’t worried about mentioning it. When you lose a baby, people are scared of upsetting you, but actually, not mentioning her is the hardest thing.

“Us doing as much as we do and talking about her all the time makes it easier.”

The BHF is the UK’s largest funder of cardiovascular research. Through the public’s generosity it will fund £500 million of research over the next five years to help those families like Sarah-Jane’s. www.bhf.org.uk

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