A GRIEVING mum has shared heartbreaking photos of the precious 27 hours she spent with her "beautiful" stillborn baby.
Starr Richards and partner Gareth Johnson were devastated when daughter Emily Kate was stillborn.
The pair took a series of touching photos with the tragic baby over the 27 hours they spent with her at hospital in Caerphilly.
Starr, 25, has now shared the pictures to encourage others to speak up about miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.
She told Wales Online: "We knew we weren’t going to have a long time with her but those hours were everything. I wish I could have had more.
“All my memories of Emily are in that room. I got to cuddle her and dress her. Even the time she was in her cot it looked like she could have been sleeping.
“If I couldn’t have had that, I don’t know what memories I would have had. I would have been left with scan photographs.
“Not a lot of hospitals are able to give families that time. So we were lucky to have that time, talking to her and cuddling her.
“She looked exactly like what I expected Emily to look like.”
Starr was 23 weeks pregnant when doctors discovered baby Emily had Triploidy, a chromosomal disorder where babies have an added set of chromosomes.
She was devastated to learn her daughter wouldn't survive birth and made the agonising decision to be induced – giving birth with just under six weeks to go.
Emily weighed just over eight ounces when she was born on November 20, 2016, and measured a tiny 23cm long, with her feet less than the width of two fingers.
The couple were given a special room in the Royal Gwent Hospital designed for grieving parents to spend time with their child.
Starr said: "She was tiny when she was born, my beautiful little girl.
“I want the world to know Emily and how beautiful she was. How loved she was.”
The receptionist has bravely shared her experience to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, which unites bereaved parents, their families and friends.
She wants to see the kind of support she was offered made available to everyone and has been supported by stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands.
Starr explained: "A lot of my friends avoided me because they did not know what to say. A lot of people aren’t comfortable talking about it.
“But talking about Emily and having people remember her is the only thing that has got me through. Talking is the only thing I can do for her.
“I feel like if I can help someone else then Emily’s life had meaning and that was the purpose of her life.”
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