I mourned with my dead baby for four days

Peter WalshA Norwich mum who lost her son at just 12 days old is to hold a fun day to raise money for a children's hospice which allowed her to spend precious time with the tragic toddler after his death.Peter Walsh

A Norwich mum who lost her son at just 12 days old is to hold a fun day to raise money for a children's hospice which allowed her to spend precious time with the tragic toddler after his death.

Oliver William Langen was born with Patau syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality which disrupts the normal course of development, causing heart and kidney defects among other features, and died on December 12 last year.

Most Patau's syndrome babies do not survive for more than a few days and the majority of pregnancies with this abnormality result in miscarriage.

Oliver's heartbroken mother Annie, 43, from Clover Hill, near Bowthorpe, knew her son had the condition, also known as trisomy 13, following the 20-week scan but made the brave decision to go ahead with the pregnancy to give her son every chance of life.

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She said: 'I was given the option to either terminate or not and I decided not to. I don't know if I was stupid, but where there's life there's hope and because he was growing normally at the beginning maybe he might be OK.

'I always wanted a son and was given one and he was being taken away from me.'

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Miss Langen was introduced to staff at Quidenham's Children's Hospice, near Attleborough, during her pregnancy and said they have helped her through every traumatic stage of her ordeal.

She said: 'They've just been terrific all the way.'

The hospice was where Oliver spent the last few days of his short life with his mother and sisters Charlotte Marshall, 23, Georgina Marshall, 20, and nephew Thomas Bousfield, four, by his side.

Miss Langen said: 'Quidenham's is where Oliver died after a 10 hour struggle for life. The best bit about the hospice is the fact that after Oliver died I could still dress him and still cry with him. I could do that for four days.'

Although devastated by the death of her son, Miss Langen is grateful for the help, care, and understanding that she, and the rest of her family, received from the hospice and now wants to do something to help others who need its help.

She said: 'I'm doing what I'm doing so I don't have to think and am getting a warm feeling that I'm doing something good, as, unfortunately, I'm not the first person who's going to need Quidenham's.'

She has organised a fun day at Squares on Norwich's Riverside complex on Sunday, May 2 which will feature a barbecue and raffle as well as the St John Ambulance, dancing, singing and other entertainment - as well as a collection bucket for Quidenham's.

The Norwich Time Travellers will be making an appearance as characters from Dr Who, while there might also be Star Wars characters turning up if the Norwich and District Star Wars Club can take a break from their busy schedule.

The event starts at 1pm and will go on until about 6pm with all proceeds going towards the hospice.

For more information about Quidenham, part of the East Anglian Children's Hospices, call 01953 888603.

Have you got a story about how Quidenham's helped you? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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