DISTRAUGHT parents who have lost a baby during pregnancy or labour could soon be offered space to grieve away from the main maternity ward and delivery unit in a new bereavement suite.
Stillbirth and neonatal charity SANDS has set out to raise £30,000 to build the special set of rooms allowing bereaved couples to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the maternity department at a deeply traumatic time.
So far the organisation has collected £15,000 towards the ambitious project and members are appealing for businesses and generous benefactors to help to make the suite a reality.
Laura Kirby-Deacon, 37, SANDS’s fundraising coordinator, was caught in the clamour of the maternity ward after losing her baby daughter at 31 weeks.
“If you lose a child during pregnancy you have to deliver in the delivery ward and then you get taken to the maternity ward, “ said the GWH intensive care unit nurse.
“I lost my daughter Iashia in December 2011. “I was put in a side room on the maternity ward and I was among the throes of it all.
“I was by the entrance and I remember a dad was on his mobile phone outside my door saying his wife was knackered after giving birth to their baby boy.
“When you leave you have to pass people with their babies, there are balloons everywhere and you walk out empty-handed."
"I had an auto-immune condition but I didn’t find out until after losing her. I don’t want parents to go through what we’ve been through,” added Laura who welcomed a healthy baby daughter, Surshia, 15 months ago. “It’s such a tragic time in somebody’s life and we need to protect parents as much as we possibly can.
“It’s the only time you have to create treasured memories with your baby. But your grief takes over you and you feel numb. It’s a bitter sweet moment.
“If I can change what I went through for somebody else, make it easier for them, and give them the space to create those everlasting memories then my job is done.”
The bereavement suite would include a couple of informal rooms, complete with a double bed and tea and coffee station.
“It will be less clinical and more comfortable,” she added. “The suite would be for people who experience stillbirth or neo-natal deaths. We want to get the suite established and built by the start of next year.
“There would be a book in there with tips from parents on their experience to allow people to make memories.”
SANDS will hold a ball at Alexandra House in Wroughton to raise funds towards the suite. Tickets cost £40. The charity is also looking for raffle prizes. n To book or make a donation visit www.swindonsands.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.