A new suite for bereaved parents has been opened at The Women and Children’s Unit at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, Merseyside, thanks to generous donations from local families, Sands, Asda and hospital employees.
Parents who have suffered the heart-breaking experience of baby loss joined midwives and fundraisers for the official opening of the new Butterfly Bereavement Suite, that will provide a safe space for bereaved parents and families to grieve and spend precious extra time with their baby.
The Butterfly Suite which is situated on the labour ward, but away from the main delivery rooms, includes a double bed, adjustable lighting, a TV, cosy home furnishings, a private kitchen and a bathroom.
Support for bereaved parents and families will be provided by specialist bereavement care midwives.
Butterfly artwork adorns the walls and thoughtful items such as a memory book and a butterfly tree provides parents with the opportunity to share their thoughts about their precious baby.
To limit noise from outside the room, and to ensure parents are in a peaceful environment at such a difficult time in their lives, the walls have been soundproofed.
To help fund the suite, Julie and Clarke Pinnington raised £6,040 in memory of their baby son Harry who was born at 29 weeks. Clarke set himself a challenge to run 203 miles (a mile for every day Harry was alive). Their friends and family also took part in various running events to contribute towards the total.
Nicola Almond’s baby son Leon died at 20 weeks gestation in October 2013. Eight months later, Nicola’s daughter Maddison was stillborn at 28 weeks. She has helped to fundraise to furnish the suite and attended the opening of the Butterfly Bereavement Suite with her five-week-old son, Teddy.
Nicola said: “I love it. It’s bittersweet but when I think what I went through five years ago, this facility is fantastic. It makes you feel comfortable and safe. You can stay as long as you need and make the memories you want.
“I feel complete like I’ve come full circle. If it can help someone else who is going through what I went through, it will be an accomplishment and I can make my babies proud.
“I would also like to thank Heather Lennox, Bereavement Midwife, for all of her help and support with everything.”
Our chief executive, Dr Clea Harmer, said: “It is wonderful that the new bereavement suite at Arrowe Park Hospital has been opened. It will provide parents with a safe and private place to spend time with their baby at a devastating time in their lives.
“I’d like to say an enormous thank you to everyone at our local Sands groups in the North West for their hard work in raising substantial funds which have helped to make the suite a reality.”
Divisional Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Debbie Edwards, said: “Losing a baby is devastating and it’s important that we do all that we can to support parents experiencing such a loss.
“The Butterfly Suite will make a huge difference in helping us to provide the best care possible in a private and comfortable setting. We are grateful to have had lots of input from Sands and parents who have sadly lost a baby in both designing the accommodation and raising the money to make it possible.
“They have worked tirelessly alongside their own families, friends and hospital staff to fundraise and I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved. It is going to make such an important difference.”
Picture: Reverend Dr Paul Dempster, Head of Chaplaincy at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, officially opens the Butterfly Suite, pictured with Alison Horton, Associate Director of Nursing and Midwifery for Women’s Services; Jo Lavery, Delivery Suite Manager and Melanie Reynolds, Bereavement Midwife.