HAVING a stillbirth is devastating, but there are hopes that the introduction of a new bereavement suite at the GWH could go some way to easing the emotional trauma of the experience.

The new Forget Me Not suite features a delivery room and a separate family lounge area. It has been developed in an area of the maternity department that is set apart in a more private setting.

The suite is the product of combined efforts by hospital staff and Swindon Sands, a support community for those who have experienced stillbirth and neonatal death.

Laura Kirby-Deacon is the co-chairman of the group and a sister in the intensive care unit at the Great Western Hospital.

She got involved with Swindon Sands after losing her own baby girl almost five years ago. Her baby was delivered in the same room which she proudly opened as the transformed suite on Monday.

“After my baby was born I was wheeled onto Hazel Ward with my baby still in my arms,” said Laura.

“I remember at the time thinking that there has to be more than just this.”

The suite includes a delivery room which, while featuring all the clinical equipment necessary to make it a safe working environment, is tastefully decorated and furnished to offer comfort and calm for families.

“Parents can stay here and they’re protected and isolated,” said Karen.

“You’re exposed to an environment that should be a really joyous occasion – you come into hospital and find out that your baby has sadly passed away in the womb but you still have to deliver your baby and that is very challenging.

“Within this space they can create their lifetime of memories with their baby away from other parents.”

Sandy Richards, clinical midwifery manager, said: “This room was very much more clinical looking before – we obtained the funding from government to do the building work and then Sands have secured the money to do all the furnishing and decorating.

“Our whole ethos is to provide an environment that is home from home and this is an extension of that – it makes a major difference.

“We roughly have about 12 or 13 babies a year that are intrauterine deaths but we also care for women who have very late miscarriages or who sadly have babies with deformities. This room will be used for those cases as well.”

Further details about the bereavement charity at swindonsands.org