Supporting Families, Preventing Tragedies

A Grandmother’s story:

When my Grandson Axton passed away on the 22 of February 2009 my heart shattered, and I was plunged into a world that I thought I would drown in. I was trying to support my daughter and son in law to cope with the lost of their beautiful little boy, help my other children come to terms with the death of their nephew and suffered badly from Mum Syndrome, I was spinning and it felt like it would never stop! I was powerless to answer my daughter’s tearful questions as to why? What did I do wrong mum? Why was my baby taken? Mums are supposed to fix things and I couldn’t fix this!

Helplessly I watch my daughter blaming herself and watched as she lost the sparkle in her eyes and became a robot trying to function and still be mum to her 4 year old daughter. I saw her die slowly from the inside and I desperately wanted to help her but didn’t know how. All the time I was feeling my own grief and helping the other children to come to terms with it also. How do you answer these questions? No matter how hard I tried to convince Denise it wasn’t her fault she couldn’t comprehend it.

Finally we got to the inquest YES now we will get the justice my little Trooper Axton deserved, the midwife admitted she was at fault and something would be done, we were going to get justice! How wrong we were! When the results of the inquest came out we were stunned, as the midwife had undertaken 3 days of training nothing more would be done!! Again I saw my daughter sink lower and I was again powerless to help her.

January 2012 just before what would have been Axton’s 3rd birthday his story was published in the Daily Post. Most people, who read the story, were really supportive but again a few people were rude and callous thinking we just wanted revenge. From one of the contacts Denise was told about AIM.  Finally after 3 years I saw a ray of hope on Denise’s face, finally there was someone who could help us we weren’t alone anymore.  Jenn helped Denise to plan how to fight the justice and health system that had totally failed her. Finally we have a place to share Axton’s life and tell his story, we have other people who understand the pain we feel. Aim is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Jenn and all the other families are there to help each other and care. I am grateful as we get good advice and it’s not sugar-coated with false sympathy. Finally I can see some hope in Denise’s eyes. I finally have someone and other families that I can share the load with. We are people who need answers! My grandson was here, he is an important member of this family! With the help of AIM and Axton maybe we can ensure that this type of tragic outcome during birth, becomes less frequent than it is now.

Too many babies are dying! The AIM families just want to do something to stop these needless deaths and ensure that everyone including the midwives, have a much happier outcome!

Thank you AIM for giving us hope



Emma Steel Friday, 14 October 2011 15:00
My heart gos out to you Charley and all the kids like you! your a beautiful girl and very loved:) And Thank you AIM for everything you are doing! you have opened my eyes to all this and i hope there is some way that we all can prevent this from happening again and again! XOXOXO
Admin Comment: Admin comment:

Thanks for your comment – there are many ways to help! Just go to the “How you can help” tab to find out more ;)

penny Thursday, 06 October 2011 12:33

I just read the article about Jenn Hooper in today’s NZ Herald and couldn’t stop crying. Charley is so stunningly beautiful and I cant believe the strength that Jenn has to keep smiling and make her daughters life as happy as it can be.

I too have been skeptical of the midwife led system for many years and these feelings only intensified after giving birth. Although, luckily, my daughter was born safely there were times during labour when the midwife blatantly ignored our wishes and acted outside her scope of practice.

Reading about Jenn & Charley today served as a stark reminder to me how lucky I was and how lucky all NZ mothers are to have someone like Jenn fighting for them. She is an inspiration and she will forever be in my thoughts. Whenever I get fed up, frustrated or tired of motherhood or tell my daughter to be quiet or calm down I will remember how precious & sacred it is to be able to hear your childs voice and watch them running around.

Admin Comment: Admin comment:

Bless your heart Penny for your kind thoughts and words. We’re really pleased to hear that all was well in the end with you – please do consider sharing your (thankfully!) near miss story on the Our Stories section of AIM’s website. These stories really are making an impact in women’s choices and the future happiness of Kiwi families.

Bruce Conyngham Monday, 29 August 2011 13:08
Retired Ob/Gyn.

My main interest was mums and babies – learning about women and mothers. Relating closely to midwives -sharing care. Even a few home births! Now sad at the “Independent Midwives” set up.

Nobody in medicine is independent.

Wish you very well @ AIM

Jasmine Friday, 12 August 2011 15:41 | New Zealand

I so feel for you. Our wee baby girl was admitted to Starship with multiple seizures when she was 10 days old and was diagnosed two weeks later with a rare, untreatable, likely fatal brain condition that, if she didn’t die, would leave her vegetative. So I do know the depths of grief, the shock, the path of thought, the pain.

There have been dark days when I wondered how long I’d get in prison if I ended things for her – something I’d never have ever expected myself to have to think… and a thought that thoroughly surprised and frightened me.

People who don’t live our lives don’t get it. It’s nice to have people around that care, but it doesn’t make things any easier. Platitudes and words rarely help, no matter how well meaning.

Our situation wasn’t the result of a medical misadventure (not that we know of anyway), so we don’t have the ability to ‘blame’ anyone or anything, so I can’t imagine the anger that you feel. You’re *** to be coping with it – even though I’m sure you have many days when you don’t think you are.

All the very best with changing the system, hun. Since I heard your story I haven’t been able to get you out of my head.

Sending you lots of love from across the cyber-universe. You’re always in my thoughts.

Warmest blessings,


Liz Dyer Sunday, 24 July 2011 15:59
hi what a fantastic job you are doing at raising awareness, i had a near miss with my daughter Sophie due to what i consider complete lack of care from my midwife thankfully after a few days in nicu and fantastic care from hospital staff we were able to take our healthy baby home but so very easily could of ended differently:)
Louise Wednesday, 20 July 2011 14:04 | Hamilton
Hello charley – love you very much – and your mum too, for working so hard xx
Flowergirl Friday, 15 July 2011 15:03
After a prolonged second stage labour and forceps delivery I have a beautiful son but suffered horrific injuries myself from, I believe, lack of care. Although my son, luckily, is now fine, my specialist needs to be a little kinder next time. Gd luck with your mission for better maternity care.
Sue Buckley Friday, 15 July 2011 13:24 | Porirua New Zealand
Keep up the good work you are doing Jenn we are all so proud of you and will work beside you as you continue the fight for change.
Michelle Harrison Friday, 15 July 2011 08:55
Continue to fight for changes – DONT give up, we all need to be a voice for these children and babies who have lost their own.
Bronwyn Zander Friday, 15 July 2011 07:26
It is good to know there is a voice for little ones like Charley who cannot speak for herself.
Gill Crooks Friday, 15 July 2011 02:07
Keep up the good work.
Shelley Gifford Thursday, 14 July 2011 22:15
 I had two very competent and professional midwives for my three difficult births, so my personal experience with the system has been a great one and I am truly thankful for my midwives. But I am gobsmacked to learn of the deficiencies in our system! Sadly there are those in any profession who don’t make the grade – but the repercussions of that in maternity are absolutely tragic. I can’t understand the resistance to common sense improvements to our system. Why does it have to be such hard work to make it better? I am grateful to you for taking on this fight.
Rosie Thursday, 14 July 2011 20:43
AIM is a fantastic organization which is an absolute necessity in NZ right now. Jenn you are an inspiration.
Toni Daane Thursday, 14 July 2011 20:05
You guys are doing an awesome job, i’m so glad my midwife knew when to stand back and let the doctor take over, she even stayed when she didn’t have to, its so frustrating, that some are just in it for the money.
Porcelina Thursday, 14 July 2011 20:03
 I am a nurse and I totally agree, we have good LMCs but we also have some terrible ones. I have worked with newborns and I have seen newborns who couldn’t breathe on their own after botched births, suffering from constant seizures and blue from the chest down. I don’t think midwives get enough training and they have far too much sole responsibility.
Sarah Thursday, 14 July 2011 16:02
 Read the article in North and South and am appalled by what is happening to our babies because of substandard maternity care in NZ. Will support change all the way!
Courtney Peck Thursday, 14 July 2011 12:53 | New Zealand
 Hi guys. i cried when i saw the video. you guys keep up the good work of looking after your little girl. :cry
Vikki Brown Wednesday, 13 July 2011 22:06
 You guys are doing an *** job. Keep on fighting.
Tracy Abbott Wednesday, 13 July 2011 20:45 | Wellington
 Well done, all of you.
Stacey Tuesday, 12 July 2011 18:34 | New Zealand
;) Hi all, just want to be a part of the fight to make all babies safe. xx
Awhina Monday, 11 July 2011 20:44
tons of love and support to a special girl kia kaha arohanui


Tem Ormsby – Friday, 7th March 2014

It is with the utmost sincerity that we, the families of Casey Turama Nathan and baby Kymani, extend our appreciation to Jenn, Lynda and the team at Action to Improve Maternity (AIM). Without your support and genuine guidance throughout the tragic loss of (Casey) our grand daughter, daughter, daughter-in-law, niece, cousin and aunty and (Kymani) our grandson (Moko), son, nephew and cousin, we may not be where we are today.

Tragedy causes behaviours to change in more ways than one can imagine, families become unsettled and can cause emotions to escalate to another level. Tragedy is described as “An event causing great suffering, destruction, distress, and catastrophe”. I take my hat off to my family for the restraint that they have maintained during this time of great suffering, particularly through the later stages leading up to inquest (17 – 26 Feb 2014). It has been almost two years since we lost our loved ones, each day since 21 May 2012 has been a living hell for us. If it was not for you, Jenn, whom made the initial approach at our marae during the tangihana, we would not have grown to know and love you so dearly. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

I echo the very words you mention on the AIM home page:

1. Information around what happened to them;

2. The right supports in place for their circumstance; and

3. The knowledge and confidence that, where ever possible, it will never happen again.

It is these very words that our family asked each other after the deaths and that if it were not for you, my family would still be pondering those questions to this day.

I take my hat off to the Coroner (Gary Evans) for the excellent way in which he conducted the inquest. It was hard to listen to the evidence being given during the inquest; our emotions ran high hearing the detailed evidence from each witness on the stand and the questions from each of the representative lawyers as they stood to seek the answers that they were looking for. We extend our genuine admiration to the doctors and medical staff from Waikato Hospital for the concentrated endeavors that each person involved gave towards our loved ones. We thank each and everyone one of you dearly.

If I could say one thing that I would like to see changed around maternity care, it is this:

“To those whom have authority around maternity care, make a difference and cause a positive change toward the future for expectant mothers and babies”

Tem Ormsby


Lia – Friday, 7th March 2014

AIM is a fantastic support group for families who have lost their beloved babies as well as mums through childbirth. AIM has helped us through a very traumatic experience of losing a beautiful and very loved new mum, Casey, and her beautiful baby boy, Kymani. AIM is here to help discover what happened and help the family with complaints proceedings & legal aid. AIM supports families by collecting the information necessary right through to the inquest and beyond. I can’t thank Jenn and the AIM team enough for the tireless hours and sleepless nights they have put in to help the family.


Red Flags

        RED FLAGS

  • Lack of monitoring
  • “Normalising” the abnormal
  • Lack of action/delay in getting emergency care
  • Going over due date
  • Failure to progress in labour
  • Meconium-stained liquor (waters)
  • Lengthy handover during emergency
  • Inconsistent reporting and documentation
  • Your concerns being ignored

    Click here to read more about common warning signs


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