When Lentil died my husband and I really wanted to do something positive. We wanted something good to come from his incredibly short life. We wanted his existence to make an impact on others rather than just on us. We also wanted to help others who would have to go through the same horror that we went through. Nobody should ever have to lose a child and nothing can take the pain away when it does happen but there are things that can be done to make it easier.
We were lucky when we lost Lentil because the legacy of baby Jasmine meant that we had a private room where we could grieve for Lentil in peace, away from the maternity ward. A room where our family could come and meet Lentil. A room where nursing staff and doctors could prepare themselves emotionally before coming in.
As with all of these things there are however improvements which could be made. The other day we met with the bereavement midwife at Derriford Hospital to talk about changes that we would like to see. She has an excellent understanding of what needs to happen and she has the passion to get it done but she still needs more funds! Next month Paul and a group of his friends are going to take part in the Plymouth Half Marathon in order to raise more money. Paul’s out riding his bike right now, putting the effort in to make sure he’s fit enough. He’s hurt his ankle and currently can’t run but he’s so determined to raise money for the hospital that he’s continuing to train and is just hoping his ankle will be better in time. I can’t take part in a Half Marathon but I can ask for your help! If you can spare even just £1 it will help enormously. Every little helps!
We originally set our fundraising target as £5000, we quickly met that and upped it to £10000, we have smashed that target but we would really love to raise more. I think I worry about increasing the fundraising target as I’m scared of failing to reach a new target and letting our little boy down but really the unit needs £200000 to make all of the changes needed so anything extra that we can raise would be amazing.
I feel bad asking people for money again but it’s such a good cause and Paul is working so hard so I feel I have to do my bit. A few of the changes that the hospital are looking to implement are:
-Soundproofing- I think that this would really help. One of the hardest things about being at the hospital was hearing newborn babies crying when my baby was so silent.
-A double bed- After I gave birth to Lentil I was stuck in a hospital bed, it made me feel quite isolated. There was a sofa in the room but it wasn’t very comfortable and I was so exhausted that really I needed to lie down. A double bed where Paul and I could have cuddled up with Lentil in those hours afterwards would have made a real difference.
-A second room- The plan is to have a separate room attached to the first room, a room with a double bed, decorated to be more homely and less sterile than the room where the birth takes place. The second room will also give parents the opportunity to keep their baby close by without having to have the baby in the same room. Not all parents want to spend time with their baby after death, sometimes two parents want different things, a second room will give parents that choice.
-A shower – There is a shower that is available to use but you need to go out into the corridor to get to it. After Lentil died I really wasn’t ready to face the world and the prospect of leaving the safety of that room, the worry of bumping into a smiling new mother wasn’t something I was ready to do. They plan to move the shower so that it is directly accessible from the room where bereaved parents are.
-Another room- The room that is currently provided is for parents who lose a child just before, during or soon after birth. The hospital would like to have another room that can be used specifically by those who lose their baby earlier in pregnancy.
-A separate entrance- It is so hard being wheeled out through the maternity entrance without your baby. A different entrance and exit for those who lose their babies would really help.
These are just some of the changes which will hopefully happen soon. We’ve also spoken to the bereavement midwife about having some sort of plaque to show that improvements have been made because of Lentil. His legacy will live on and others will be helped because he was here and that makes us so proud.
If you can afford £1 to sponsor Paul and his friends please do. Every penny will go towards improving this horrible experience for others. You can either click on one of the ‘Sponsor Me’ buttons or you can donate by texting LENT75 £1 (or however much you would like to donate) to 70070.
Thank you so much for reading and for your generosity.