Help for parents of stillborn babies

An appeal set up by a couple whose baby was stillborn at 32 weeks has bought other parents in a similar situation precious time with their little ones.

An appeal set up by a couple whose baby was stillborn at 32 weeks has bought other parents in a similar situation precious time with their little ones.

The Snowdrop Appeal was set by Greg Phillips and Jennifer Hellier from Plympton.  In January 2009, Jennifer gave birth to Jasmine who was stillborn at 32 weeks. Jasmine was delivered in room 11, the specialist bereavement room in Derriford Hospital’s Central Delivery Suite and although they were very happy with the standard of care they received, they were surrounded by newborn babies and pregnant women.

As a result, Greg and Jennifer decided they wanted to help the Maternity Unit at Derriford Hospital raise £100,000 for a specialist unit slightly removed from the main labour ward in order to improve the experience for other parents who have lost their babies through stillbirth, miscarriage and early baby loss.

To date, the appeal has raised more than £23,000 and £6,000 of this has come from local branches of the HSBC bank.

This money has been used to purchase two pieces of refrigerated equipment which can be fitted inside a moses basket to keep babies who are stillborn cold, so that their parents can spend as much time with them as they like.

Deputy Head of Midwifery Nicky Phillips explained: “It is really, really hard for mums and dads to say goodbye to their stillborn babies. The baby’s skin starts to change and break down within a couple of hours and these changes usually limit the time parents can spend with their little ones. Often as midwives we get asked – how long can I keep my baby here with me for?

“These cots are cold and therefore they help delay the skin changes and so forth and that is so important because it means mums and dads can choose when they want to say goodbye, rather than feeling rushed into it.

“This is so important because this is the only time parents of stillborn babies will have with their child. These memories will stay with them forever.”

Greg added: “If the cold cots had been available when we were here, it would have meant we could have had longer with baby Jasmine and it would have given us time for Jennifer’s son to have come and seen her. Those are very precious hours.”

Sarah Smith, South West Community Support Officer for HSBC, said: “In June of last year we took the decision that instead of having one regional charity, we would fundraise for 10 local small charities. Our staff in the branches through Cornwall and Plymouth voted and Snowdrop was one of our overwhelming winners. We are delighted we can support Greg and Jen and help them make such a difference to other parents in a similar position.”

For more information about this appeal please visit http://snowdropappeal.webplus.net/

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