This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week, throughout which bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy.
Demelza often receives referrals from neonatal teams, when babies have complex clinical needs. We are experienced in providing compassionate care and support for the whole family from the first contact until after a child has died. Children’s Palliative Care Nurse Charlotte shared her experiences of supporting a family who was referred to us:
“We had baby Adam* here a while ago who’d had an antenatal diagnosis that sadly meant he wasn’t going to survive, due to a heart condition. After birth, the family were in neonatal intensive care for a couple of days before coming to Demelza, and though Adam was here for end of life, he did manage to go home for Christmas. We arranged for some of our nurses to go out to the family home to support them, building the parents’ confidence, by teaching them to do everything that Adam needed.
Adam died peacefully at home and the family chose to return to Demelza. He laid at rest in our Butterfly Suite, which is a special bedroom that allows parents and families to spend up to five days with their child, giving them that precious time to say goodbye before a funeral.
I think the most important thing families take away from being able to have the time together at Demelza is the memories they make. We encourage them to take lots of pictures and we can make imprints of hands and feet. Our Music Therapist even sang to one baby after they had died, at the request of a mum who wanted to connect her child to their culture.
If a family chooses for their child to die at Demelza, we’ll ensure they have the support they need to focus on loving each other and making lasting memories. We can’t make the loss any less painful, but we can give a family a dedicated and private space to be together, without fuss or interruption.”
*Name has been changed for privacy.