Yorkshire father whose wife died during childbirth writing a book to keep her memory alive as son starts school

A man whose wife died after childbirth is celebrating his son starting school by writing a book to keep his mum's memory alive - and teach other children about grief.

Ric Hart, 38, was left to raise his son, Hugo, four, alone after his ‘soulmate’, Jade Hart, 33, tragically died after giving birth to her firstborn due to 'a very serious omission of care' by staff in July 2018. An inquest earlier this year has found a doctor at Bassetlaw Hospital, Nottinghamshire, 'caused serious errors' which led to her death.

The umbilical cord had been 'pulled at least four times by a doctor when her placenta had not separated' - which resulted in her uterus being turned inside out. She then suffered multiple cardiac arrests, brain damage and organ failure. Mrs Hart's cause of death was given as brain injury, multiple cardiac arrests and uterine inversion from inappropriate management during third stage labour.

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The investigation found that the mismanagement of an ongoing haemorrhage also contributed to her death, with regular checks not undertaken. Jade's care was described as 'truly exceptionally bad' decision that would result in a 'serious risk of death'.After his wife's death, Ric was faced with overwhelming grief but the responsibility of raising his newborn "kept him on track". Ric decided to channel his grief into writing a series of children’s books to explain bereavement to his son and other children who have suffered loss.

Ric Hart with Hugo and his teachers at Misterton Primary in DoncasterRic Hart with Hugo and his teachers at Misterton Primary in Doncaster
Ric Hart with Hugo and his teachers at Misterton Primary in Doncaster

The full-time-father, from Doncaster, said: “When Jade died, I wanted to fall apart. She was my best friend and soulmate, and I didn’t know how to live without her. But I had to find a way to get through it. Whenever I wanted to break down, I’d have half of her staring up at me. At that time, I never imagined that I would get through it and get him to the point where he’s ready to start school. It’s a huge achievement and milestone for us. I wanted to write the books to keep Jade’s memory alive, and to help Hugo and other families navigate grief.''

Ric met Jade in February 2002, when he was 18 and she was 17. They had instant chemistry and a "unique and special bond". They got married in Koh Samui, Thailand, on 6th April 2015, surrounded by 50 of their friends and family. The couple were over the moon to find found out that they were expecting a baby after returning home from a holiday in Turkey in October 2017.

“Jade was so excited to be a mum,” Ric said. “We were both over the moon when we found out that she was pregnant. She had a really easy pregnancy, there were no problems or reasons to be concerned.”

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Jade was induced on 6th July 2018 at Bassetlaw Hospital after doctors became concerned about her increasing blood pressure.

Ric Hart and his son HugoRic Hart and his son Hugo
Ric Hart and his son Hugo

She gave birth to Hugo Jaden Hart naturally on 8th July 2018. After giving birth to Hugo, Jade began to experience complications while delivering the placenta. Despite being transferred to intensive care she sadly suffered a series of cardiac arrests and passed away on 9th July 2018, only a few hours after delivering her son.

At her inquest, Assistant Coroner Dr Elizabeth Didcock issued a preventing future deaths warning against the trust, the highest level of concern she is able to express. In 2021, the Care Quality Commission also fined the trust for two breaches of duty of candour regulations in their treatment of the case. Mark Bowman, representing the family at inquest, previously settled a negligence claim against the hospital trust.

“The grief was crazy,” Ric said. “I wasn’t even on this planet, but I had to look after a baby that was only a few hours old. I was only getting two or three hours of sleep a night and was visited by frequent traumatic nightmares.

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"Both my family and Jade's have been amazing and supported me through my darkest times. But I knew I had to find a way to get through this by myself. I needed to find my inner strength to be the best Dad I could be for Hugo. I needed to grow from my grief. I’d promised Jade when she was pregnant that if she was going to carry our baby for nine months, I’d train for nine months after he was born and complete a marathon.

Ric Hart with his late wife Jade HartRic Hart with his late wife Jade Hart
Ric Hart with his late wife Jade Hart

“So I channelled all my grief and trauma into running. I was literally running away from everything, but it was the outlet that I needed.”

In October 2019, Ric completed the Yorkshire marathon in four hours 50 minutes. When the country went into lockdown in March 2020, Ric was unable to get childcare for Hugo and was therefore unable to continue running. Unable to run or see his friends and family for support, Ric was forced to face his grief head-on, which caused him to fall into a deep depression.

He started to get his thoughts down on paper by writing several thousand words every morning before Hugo woke up. This inspired him to write a series of children’s books to explain bereavement to kids. The latest book in the series 'Hugo and Daddy’s School Adventures' was released on 1st September 2022 - to celebrate Hugo starting school and the huge milestone they had achieved together.

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Author Ric, said: “During my darkest moments, I never imagined we’d be where we are now. Hugo is amazing – he's such a joker and is always giggling. He’s been with me every day, so we have a really tight bond. Losing Jade was the most horrific thing that could have happened, but she left the most beautiful gift behind. He has her smile, it’s phenomenal.

“There have been times when he’s lying in bed next to me at night, and if I squint my eyes, it’s like Jade is there with me. The books are my gift to Hugo, and Jade’s legacy. I had to find a way to grow from this – to find some light in absolute darkness. I hope one day, when Hugo is older, he’ll read these books to his children and grandchildren. 'Although my son has to live without his mummy, he knows he'll always have me.

"Jade would be so proud of the amazing little boy that Hugo has become, and I know she'd love the books too. Writing the books has saved me - and the support from my illustrator Jackie Tee and my publishers Grosvenor House Publishing has been amazing."

Ric is a non-profit book author and proceeds from books sales go to local and national charities. The money from his latest book will go to Hugo's school.

Some of the other books by Ric include 'Hugo and Daddy's Night-time Adventures' and 'Hugo and Daddy's Superhero Adventures'. Hugo and Daddy's School Adventures is available on Amazon.