A new mum has thanked the UHDB staff who helped her through an “emotional rollercoaster” of a year that saw her lose her first baby and then later give birth again.
Natalie Haw was given the devastating news on 11 August last year that baby Frances Grace had tragically passed away, just a few hours after being born early at 21 weeks.
Following her sad loss, Natalie was able to spend priceless time with her daughter in the privacy of the Royal Derby Hospital’s ‘Butterfly Room’, with the Bereavement Midwifery team then providing her with ongoing support both while and after she was in hospital.
She said: “I had no time to come to terms with what was happening, as I came into hospital with what I thought was back pain but it turned out that I was actually in labour and the next thing I knew I was having Frances and then she was gone. It was all over so fast, so it was huge to have the bereavement suite available just for me to have that space to be able to deal with what happened. Having to go through that and not having that space and privacy would’ve been horrible and would’ve made it even more painful than it already was.”
After going through every type of emotion possible, Natalie has paid tribute to Angela Thompson, Specialist Bereavement Midwife, and her team for the part they played in helping her through her darkest and most difficult moments.
Natalie said: “The support I got from Angela and the hospital was just incredible. It was horrendous trying to think about planning a funeral and registering the birth and death but she was there right from the beginning and arranged all of those things for me. Ever since then, Angela has been there whenever I’ve needed her and I’ve been able to talk to her about anything without feeling judged in any way.”
Incredibly, just one day before Frances’ original due date, Natalie then found out last December that she was once again pregnant and after a long and at times anxious pregnancy, she was finally able to welcome baby Isabelle into the world on 16 August.
She said: “I probably should’ve waited a little longer before trying but you just have this empty void that you feel like you need to fill. It was amazing when I found out I was pregnant again because I was upset about Frances’ due date but it took some of that sting away. After that, the pregnancy was really tough; it was an emotional rollercoaster and I felt like I was going to lose her at any time. Angela was my rock throughout everything. She was there for me through the whole pregnancy and I don’t know what I would’ve done without her, to be honest. It was amazing when I gave birth to Isabelle. I was over the moon to find out that I was having a girl again. The whole pregnancy, I thought I was having a boy, but there she was, another girl, and it was incredibly special.”
Following her experience, Natalie made the decision to help other bereaved parents by making and selling candles to raise money for UHDB’s Bereaved Families Fund. The candles cost £16 and can be purchased at the Royal Derby Hospital’s main entrance, at the Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity hub.
She added: “During Baby Loss Awareness Week last year, I noticed that lots of people were lighting candles to remember babies they’d lost, so that sparked the idea to make my own candles. All of the profits will go to the Bereaved Families Fund and I’m really proud with how they’ve turned out.”
Baby Loss Awareness Week this year takes place from 9-15 October, with Specialist Bereavement Midwife Angela praising Natalie for her bravery and for giving something back to others going through the same experience as her.
She said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Nat. She has been an absolute joy to work with and is so passionate about supporting other bereaved parents. This has all come about in the sad journey of her own loss but she’s turned that around and made it into something that’s so generous to benefit other people who sadly will have a similar experience to herself. Baby Loss Awareness Week is all about raising awareness that baby loss isn’t something to be hidden. We need to get this message out into society to let people know how much it happens, how it affects people’s lives and what we can do to help support bereaved parents.”
UHDB has two Specialist Bereavement Midwives across the Trust, with both the Royal Derby Hospital and Queen’s Hospital Burton having dedicated bereavement suites, with Burton patients benefitting from the privacy provided on the ‘Snowdrop Suite’.
The support provided by the team in Derby has seen the hospital nominated for an ‘Outstanding Team Care’ award at the upcoming national Butterfly Bereavement Awards on 19 October.