A MUM has told how her heart was “torn into a million pieces” after losing her daughter at 15 weeks due to a rare genetic condition.

Kerryann Marshall, who works at the Ravelston House Hotel in Musselburgh, lost her daughter Aurora due to Patau’s syndrome – Trisomy 13 – which severely disrupts normal development and often results in miscarriage, stillbirth or the baby dying shortly after birth.

Now she is holding a fundraising event in the town in aid of a charity which helped her and her husband.

Kerryann said: “I had my 12-week scan on August 25, 2023, and it didn’t go well.

“We were informed the baby had fluid around the brain and abdomen, and NT measurement behind the neck was 7.1mm, which I could see myself wasn’t right.

“We were told at that time there was a high chance of a chromosomal disorder or structural disorder – something not developing properly with the heart, lungs and brain.”

She underwent tests and it was confirmed that the baby had Patau’s syndrome – Trisomy 13.

“[The] baby was incompatible with life and, in many cases, the baby dies before birth,” said Kerryann.

“After having three healthy children, you just take for granted that the next one will be fine too but for some reason I always said this is different and I didn’t feel pregnant. Something just felt off.

“I was booked into labour ward on September 8, 2023, and delivered my baby girl at 6pm.

“My heart was torn into a million pieces – she was so tiny but so perfect.”

Kerryann, 32, said: “After giving birth to her and getting ready to leave hospital to go home, the hospital gave me a little bag of items from a charity called Held In Our Hearts.

East Lothian Courier: Held In Our Hearts offers baby loss counselling and supportHeld In Our Hearts offers baby loss counselling and support

“At first I couldn’t bare to even look inside it and I honestly wasn’t interested in it at all.

“When I got home, I started to look through the items and, although they made me cry, they also brought me comfort.

“Inside there was a little key ring – one piece stayed with me and the little heart that popped out of the middle went with Aurora in her hand, and various other little items that stayed with her and we were given back just before her funeral.

“There was also a photo album that I have now managed to fill with photos of her tiny feet and hands, and forget-me-not seeds to plant.

East Lothian Courier: Prints of Aurora’s tiny hand and foot which the family have in her memory

“It is difficult to look at still but things I don’t want to forget, and can look at when I feel like I can. All of those items mean so much to me now and I am so grateful for that little bag. I will treasure it forever.”

East Lothian Courier: Kerryann Marshall with her mum Gaileen MacKinnon who is helping to organise the fundraising event for Held In Our Hearts. Kerryann said her mum also lost a baby girl in 1990 and back then these charities weren't available, and all she had to takeKerryann Marshall with her mum Gaileen MacKinnon, who is helping to organise the fundraising event for Held In Our Hearts. Kerryann said her mum also lost a baby girl in 1990 and back then these charities weren't available, and all she had to take home was a Polaroid photograph

A few weeks after the funeral, Kerryann made contact with Held In Our Hearts, based in Edinburgh, adding: “I reached out for some support as I was really struggling to come to terms with what had happened and, although I had family and friends that had sadly suffered a baby loss, they were great to speak to, none of them had experienced what I had gone through, so they didn’t always know what to say or do to help. I found it difficult to explain the emotions I was experiencing.

“I received a quick response by email, followed up with a phone call, and I was paired up for peer support with Vikki, who is just lovely and so easy to speak to.

“She understood my emotions and my thoughts as she had a similar experience to myself.

“I cannot thank the team at Held In Our Hearts enough for that little bag and for the support I have received from them so far.

“This charity will remain close to my heart and I hope to raise a good amount of funds to help them continue the work that they do and support families in the future that will sadly be in the same position as our family.

“I continue to receive peer support now.”

Kerryann, who lives in Edinburgh with her husband Andrew, 31 – originally from the Stoneybank area of Musselburgh and a former pupil of Campie Primary and Musselburgh Grammar Schools – and their three children aged nine, six and two, has organised a UV Glow Party at the Wiremill Social Club to raise funds for the charity on March 9 at 7pm.

Attractions at the event include a UV face painter, DJ, UV lights, glow sticks and a raffle.

Tickets, which cost £10, can be bought from Kerryann or Gaileen prior to the event. Go to facebook.com/events/s/uv-glow-party-night-held-in-ou/6991909824203912 or donate at justgiving.com/page/kerryann-marshall-1705485729915

Kerryann also paid tribute to Musselburgh-based M&F Funeral Services, which organised Aurora’s funeral, including Kirsten Swales, funeral manager, and brothers Daniel and Jordan Allen, funeral directors.

“Jordan had been our piper on our wedding day so we knew we were in safe hands with him. He also told me to contact Held In Our Hearts for support,” said Kerryann.

“The team went above and beyond, nothing was too much trouble.

“All the little added extras, from the prints of her hand and foot, down to the pink ribbons on the car – things I hadn’t even thought about, all taken care of. They took the stress away and made the hardest day that little bit easier.”

East Lothian Courier: Pink ribbons on the funeral cortegePink ribbons on the funeral cortege

Jordan and Daniel have climbed Ben Nevis in support of three charities, including Held In Our Hearts.