After the tragic still-birth of her first grandchild in October 2012, Sue Pullen and her daughter Vicky embarked in May on a campaign to purchase a refrigerated cold cot for the maternity unit at GWH.
Cold cots delays the physical deterioration of still-born babies so that grieving parents have longer to say goodbye and on 29 July announced on Facebook that she had been successful in the huge effort to raise enough money after a major contribution of Santander (See her Facebook entry below).
Describing the horror of her daughter’s experience Sue said: “Unfortunately Vicky’s ante-natal care was very disrupted and she didn’t have a permanent mid-wife until her 25th week of pregnancy. At that point the baby was identified as being tiny for its term and although a growth scan was promised it never happened.
“Then at 31 weeks Vicky was told that her baby had died. Princess Margaret Hospital made provision for mums in Vicky’s situation with a separate entrance and section for still-births, but GWH doesn’t have this.
“There was a lot of confusion when Vicky turned up to deliver her baby at the allotted time. She was treated like a normal mum and told to stop crying because she would soon have a lovely baby.
“Vicky had to go through a very difficult labour alongside women who were delivering healthy babies. Ultimately Honey Rose was delivered in theatre under general anaesthetic.
“In the end the mid-wife team on the ward were wonderful and really looked after Vicky. It was just very sad that when other members of the family wanted to come and see Honey Rose the day after she was born she had already started to deteriorate.”
Vicky’s sister Rachel came up with the idea of a cold cot having read about them in a national newspaper.
Commenting on Vicky’s new-found focus to lead the campaign for GWH, Sue said: “Vicky doesn’t want to dwell on losing Honey Rose. She wants to do something positive and she never ceases to amaze me after what she’s been through. She’s not going to stop at GWH, she wants to make sure that every maternity unit in the country has a cold cot.”
The Honey Rose Cold Cot page on Facebook gives the latest news on the campaign, including how to buy Vicky’s hand-made angel feather charms and appeals for items to sell at car-boot sales.
Help sponsor a Cold Cot at: justgiving.com/honeyrose2012
Response from the Great Western Hospital
Further to the July article about Vicky Pullen’s experience of giving birth to a still-born baby at Great Western Hospital and her fundraising to supply the hospital with a cold cot so that babies can be presented to grieving parents and family, above, Sandra Richards, clinical midwifery manager, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has responded to assure parents that GWH works hard to ensure the best care possible for mothers.
We are so sorry to hear about Vicky’s experience. Each of our mothers is cared for by a dedicated team of highly trained midwives who make every effort to provide high quality care tailored to their individual needs.
We work hard to provide mothers with the privacy, dignity and respect needed during such a distressing experience, however their safety is always our absolute priority, which can mean being cared for in a more clinical environment.
All of our mothers are offered specialist support including bereavement counselling. The Great Western Hospital was one of the first hospitals to invest in trained bereavement counsellors and the team received national recognition from the Royal College of Midwives earlier this year.
We are always looking at how we can improve our services and welcome ideas and suggestions. Work is currently taking place to create a dedicated bereavement suite and sitting room. This area will be a completely private, homely and comforting space for woman and their families. A cold cot is an important part of these plans and we are grateful to Vicky and her family for their brave and generous support in raising money for one.
We are continuing to fundraise for the bereavement suite and welcome donations towards this. If you are interested in supporting us please contact our fundraising manager Hannah Persaud: Hannah.email@example.com
I would encourage any patient or relative who has concerns or questions to speak to a member of staff at the time or ask to speak to the customer service team on 01793 604031.
From the Honey Rose Facebook Page on 29 July 2013
Vicky Rose writes
Hello everyone, we have a huge announcement to make.
First we would like to thank everyone who has helped us fund raise from conquering their fear of heights to fun days and table top sales a huge thank you to every single person who helped or attended any event we did and for the constant stream of donations for our car boots.
As a Mother without her baby in her arms I know how important those few days in hospital are to a Angel Mum, you have to built a life time of memories in what feels like a blink of an eye. I know how much a Cold Cot would have meant to me.. to give me and my family more time with my Beautiful Daughter Honey Rose.
We are very excited to tell everyone that thanks to Santander with a very big donation and all the money we have raised we now have raised enough money for the Cold Cot and it has been purchased today to be taken to the Hospital.
I want to say a huge thank you to my mum and sister who without their love and support I would not have had to strength to do any of this at all, they are my rocks and my reason to live each day.
Now I bet everyone is wondering what is going to happen now we have reached our aim!
When the new hospital was made a bereavement unit was not on the plans so every women who has to go through the worst moment of their lives has to do it on the maternity ward where every other room has cries from a new life as your room is filled with silence and tears. I believe every women who has to endure this loss has the right to do it in a separate room where they do not need the added pain and heart ache of hearing and seeing new born babies like I did.
We are now going to fund raise for a bereavement suite for the hospital so every women who has to endure this nightmare can at least do it in peace and comfort in a separate room.
I also know Swindon Sands have also been raising money for the bereavement suite and have been doing fantastic charity events. Because we have gone over our target for the cold cot we are supporting them and hopefully with everyone now getting together the suite will be open as soon as possible.
Thank you again to everyone for all their help and support words cannot describe how amazed I am at the support we have received and will keep on receiving.
Love Vicky Rose mummy of Honey Rose x