Couple raise over £25,000 for bereavement suite

Louise Gray was 35 weeks pregnant when her baby son Henry was stillborn in May 2022.

Just days beforehand, the expectant mum had attended a routine checkup with her midwife, Fiona O’Kane, in Magherafelt. As she lay on the bed in Thompson House at the Mid Ulster Hospital site, the experienced midwife struggled to find a heartbeat using a doppler.

Ballinascreen couple raise more than £25,000 for bereavement suite

The Ballinascreen woman was then swiftly taken to the antenatal clinic in the main hospital building where she was scanned by five different medical professionals.

Louise’s husband Harry made a frantic dash to the hospital however, after an anxious wait of almost three hours, the couple received the heartbreaking news that their baby had died.

For Louise, her ordeal was made worse by the fact that she was expected to give birth on the same ward as other expectant mothers.

“That Saturday, the 21st of May, I really feared having to go into that delivery suite. That’s where I went to have Olivia and other women were there having babies From being down on the Thursday night to get the medication and hearing babies crying then, I was thinking to myself how am I supposed to go down here and do this?” she said.

“Whenever we went down on the Saturday, we had to walk through the whole delivery suite in Antrim Area Hospital, which meant walking past an induction bay and four or five delivery suite rooms to the room where I had to give birth. We were also directly opposite the double doors where women would go in for a section,” she said.

“When people see you in the delivery suite they are looking at you and automatically assuming you’re in the same boat as them and they ask ‘when’s your baby due?’ or ‘how far along are you?’ That’s the kind of questions we were faced with. We went down on the Saturday afternoon and Henry was born early on the Monday morning. People were looking at you and nodding at your bump and saying things like ‘you’re in the same position as ourselves’. Some people you just nodded to and said ‘yes, that’s right’ but sometimes the frustration and the anger got that much that you had to just say ‘no, it’s not the same’.

With no explanation as to what happened to their baby son, who they named Henry, Louise said midwives told her ‘it was just one of those things’.

Despite being plunged into grief, Louise and Harry felt that they needed to do something to make sure no other parents have to go through the same ordeal as them.

“About four or five weeks after Henry died we contacted one of our local MLAs, Emma Sheerin, and she proceeded to write letters on our behalf to Robin Swann. I know from talking to the midwives in Antrim Hospital that they have had a battle on their hands for years, upon years to get this bereavement suite granted in some way. I know it has constantly been brought to the board and rejected for years. At the end of June, we found out that Robin Swann had given in, for whatever any number of reasons. We believe Emma’s letters were obviously a factor but I know this dispute has been ongoing for years.”

The bereavement suite, which is set to be constructed from an existing part of Antrim Area Hospital and is expected to open in March 2023, will provide a separate, private space away from any other expectant mothers, according to Louise.

The couple also set about organising a fundraiser for the new suite, setting a target of £3,000 to purchase a CuddleCot, an ‘invaluable’ piece of equipment, which Louise said allowed them to bring baby Henry home.

“There were only two CuddleCots in Antrim Hospital when Henry was born so an important factor for us was to raise enough money to purchase a cot because if it hadn’t been for it we never would have got Henry home,” said Louise.

“For us, that piece of equipment was invaluable because it just meant so much to get him home for the night. He met his aunts and uncles and his grandparents. Everybody wanted to see him because he was absolutely perfect.”

The couple’s fundraiser soon ‘spiralled’ and in no time they exceeded their original target. By the time their fundraising night of music and an auction in The Market Inn, Draperstown came around on November 25, they had already raised £14,000.

“We want to allocate the money to services that we think are best appropriate for the bereavement suite. We had nothing like that but I feel like the money we have raised will go towards making things a bit more comfortable so that if you are going through it and you don’t want to leave that room for five days, you don’t have to. You will have everything there to make you feel comfortable,” said Louise.

“We talked about things like an Amazon Alexa for mood music, and things like diffusers. I have also discussed setting aside a sum of money for an in-house counselling service – someone to talk to other than each other. When Harry and I were going through it, we were absolutely heartbroken and devastated and we tried to comfort each other but we didn’t really know what to say to each other to really help. Tensions are so high, you are so emotional and in disbelief. Even now months down the line, I think I would have benefited if I had someone to talk to. The mental health implications of the actual situation we were in were bad enough without having no further support from an actual professional.

Donations towards the bereavement suite can still be made here

Read the full article here

Posted in

A mother’s grief inspires her efforts for others in tragic situation

In 2017, Kelly Knauer from Merritt Island lost her baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy. What followed: anxiety attacks, postpartum depression and even a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. “We call it the dark year,” Knauer said, relaying how it all started when she went for an ultrasound after feeling something was wrong. The doctor…

Couple donates CuddleCot to Orange City Area Health System

If parents experience a stillbirth or the death of their child, they typically only have a few hours with them. A recent donation of a CuddleCot to Orange City Area Health System can provide extra hours to days to ease the grieving process. Mackenzie and Nathan Kanis live in Washington state but met in Northwest…

Costa del Sol hospital becomes first in province to introduce CuddleCot for bereaved parents

The Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella has become the first in Malaga province to receive the donation of a CuddleCot for parents who have lost babies during pregnancy or at birth. The introduction of the CuddleCot at the hospital’s maternity and infant area is included in the Andalusian public health system’s humanisation plan, which…

Preston dad raises £33,000 for CuddleCots following baby daughter’s death

It appears to be a joyful family scene, as two siblings play under the hospital bed while their mother tenderly cradles the family’s newest addition. But dad Sam Brown’s photograph lays bare the heartbreaking reality of baby loss, as his third child, Rosie, died shortly after her birth. The family were able to spend four…

Cuddlecot donation for better baby loss support in Preston

Parents suffering baby loss will now have time to make memories before saying their final goodbye thanks to the gift of a CuddleCot for the Children’s Ward at the Royal Preston Hospital. The CuddleCot has been jointly donated to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals’ Charity Team for its Children’s Appeal by two other children’s charities, Midlands-based Remember Rufus and…

Sisters join forces to help families grieving after miscarriage

It isn’t often that career paths cross for the Rev. Lindsay Kirkpatrick and her sister, Andrea Wursche, a registered nurse at Houston Methodist Hospital.  But when inspiration struck, the two launched an action plan to help women during one of their greatest times of need — after a miscarriage or stillbirth.  Kirkpatrick, the senior pastor…

Freeman Health System receives CuddleCot donation

An Arkansas couple made a donation of a CuddleCot to the Freeman Health System. Michelle and Dusty Hurst donated the CuddleCot after losing two newborns themselves. Michell says, “Don’t let anyone tell you that how you’re grieving is right or wrong, there is no right or wrong. Do what you need to do to help…

Letham couple donate CuddleCot in memory of daughter they lost

A grateful mum was determined to help other parents after suffering the devastating loss of her baby. Linzi Govan’s third daughter, Maci, was born almost 14 weeks early on September 9 this year. Despite the efforts of medical staff in Glasgow and at Forth Valley Royal the tiny tot lost her fight for survival in…

Family donates cooling cradle to Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) – A family that has lived through the tragedy of losing a newborn child is making sure that others in a similar situation have the chance to say goodbye. Baby Asher’s family honoured what they call his “heavenly birthday” on Tuesday, December 20th with a donation of a CuddleCot to Sentara…

Dublin mum raises money for a CuddleCot following the stillbirth of her son

Dubliner Gillian Lee and her husband Cathal O’Brien were thrilled to find out that they were expecting a baby just four months after the birth of their little girl. At 41, Gillian wanted to add to the family, and knew that time was of the essence. They already have two daughters, 15-year-old Ellarose and 2-year-old…

Family donates CuddleCot to Trueta hospital

A family has donated a CuddleCot to the Josep Trueta hospital in Girona. The couple who made the donation, Anna Sánchez and Llorenç Ramon, lost a daughter and at that time they had “six hours to be with her”. As a result of their experience, they discovered that the CuddleCot could keep babies cool. They…

Couple raise over £25,000 for bereavement suite

Louise Gray was 35 weeks pregnant when her baby son Henry was stillborn in May 2022. Just days beforehand, the expectant mum had attended a routine checkup with her midwife, Fiona O’Kane, in Magherafelt. As she lay on the bed in Thompson House at the Mid Ulster Hospital site, the experienced midwife struggled to find…

Leeds girl thanks Martin House Children’s Hospice staff for care shown when her brother died

A girl from Roundhay who lost her brother in May 2021 has decided to throw her support behind the charity that has helped her family cope with the tragedy. Mohammad Hayyan, 13, died of a rare condition at Leeds Children’s Hospital and his family have been helped with their grief by Martin House Children’s Hospice, who have a…

Niceville mom receives gift of time with stillborn son. Now, she helps others get it too.

Kristyn Szala knows time is a gift. It is one the Niceville, Florida, mother received after her unborn son, Asher, was given a life-limiting diagnosis. Her neighbor led a fundraiser to purchase a CuddleCot for the Szala family. While Szala delivered Asher stillborn August 3, 2018, at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola, their family was able to spend two-and-a-half days with…

Baby Ashtyn’s legacy lives on through CuddleCot donation

The impact of Ashtyn Robert Michael Eckersley’s too-short life will be felt for years to come by families across western Sydney following the generous donation of a CuddleCot from his family to the Westmead Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Ashtyn was born in April 2022 at Westmead Hospital in Western Sydney Local Health District, but…

CuddleCot donated to Canton-Potsdam Hospital in New York

Tom, Amanda, and Isabella Norman recently donated a CuddleCot™ to the Birthplace at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. The Norman Family suffered the loss of their daughter Emma Rose in October 2020 at a hospital in Albany, NY. They plan to donate a CuddleCot™ every year, in memory of Emma Rose, to a different hospital to help other…

Ashlie’s Embrace donates CuddleCots to every state in the US

Ashlie’s Embrace have donated over 190 CuddleCots to hospitals and medical centers in every state in the US.

CuddleCot donated to hospital in Chile

Recently we were able to help Cencomex in Santiago place a CuddleCot in the San Borja Hospital, Chile.  Increasing our global reach in this way gives more families around the world access to CuddleCot and the all-too-important gift of time when experiencing baby loss. This allows families to spend precious time making memories they otherwise would…

York General Hospital, Nebraska, helps grieving families with the gift of CuddleCot

York General Hospital in Nebraska and its community have come together in a time of need for families who have experienced infant loss. They raised money to buy a CuddleCot to help grieving families spend time with their babies who have died. The CuddleCot’s cooling technology slows the decomposing process, giving families invaluable moments. After…

Northwestern Medical Center receives donation of CuddleCot

Northwestern Medical Center recently accepted a donated gift of a CuddleCot in the Family Birth Center donated by Scarlet’s Mission. Scarlet’s Mission is a non-profit organization that helps families grieving from the trauma of a stillbirth. The organization was founded by Katie Irwin and Jim McGonigal of Woodbridge Connecticut and was named after their stillborn…

Leave a Comment