Baby loss support scheme launches at King's Lynn hospital
An organisation supporting bereaved parents following early pregnancy loss launches at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital today.
Cradle ambassador Jo Patrick, from St Germans, will be handing over ‘comfort bags’ to the gynaecology department and holding a fundraising raffle and cake sale.
The comfort bags contain practical items, some of which have been donated by Cradle’s retail partners, such as toothbrushes, soap and sanitary towels to help women who need to have unexpected surgery and their partners.
Cradle, which was launched in Liverpool in July, is currently made up of a team of 30 people across the UK – they expect to be a team of 100 by this time next year, as well as in every NHS organisation by 2023.
Jo, who also works part-time at a shop in Hunstanton and owns a kick-boxing club, said: “We work with the NHS to support parents who have experienced early pregnancy loss up to 23 weeks and six days.”
They also offer peer support on social media and work with the NHS to deliver training on bereavement care.
Jo, who has experienced loss herself, decided to get involved with Cradle when she saw a social media post offering their services.
“I had still been struggling from my loss in September 2018 and thought this would help me turn something so devastating into something positive,” she said.
Jo said she was “shocked” when she found out she and her partner were expecting, as they had used IVF treatment for their first baby.
After having some bleeding, she was seen by the early pregnancy unit and a heartbeat was found, so they were told to return for another scan a few weeks later.
When the day of the scan came around, Jo said she was worried as she had experienced more bleeding on and off, but the heartbeat was found once again.
At 10 weeks, they were due to have a private dating scan to allow them to receive scan pictures and announce the pregnancy, but Jo had sharp pains.
The scan showed the baby was “completely still” with no heartbeat.
“That image still haunts me to this day,” Jo added.
After a second scan confirmed the devastating news, Jo had surgery the following day.
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“The following weeks were a mix of emotions – anger, sadness, heartbroken,” she said.
Tests did not provide a reason as to why they lost their baby.
“I wanted to join Cradle to help others going through this and give something back to the nurses in the EPU (early pregnancy unit) who took care of me,” Jo said.
Cradle has already received support from the community in West Norfolk, with £700 donated by Downham Market Social Club.
There are hopes for further support in the future, as Jo said they are “urgently” looking for donations of toiletries for the comfort bags, and she is also appealing for donations of small caskets, which she says is her “next mission”.
Jo is holding a cake sale and a raffle – for which she has numerous prizes including gift hampers, restaurant vouchers and treatments – at the the Hub at the QEH today from 10am to 2pm.
Funds will go towards continuing the comfort bag project, and to provide fast-tracked bereavement counselling for parents where necessary.
To find out more, visit @cradleEPL or contact Jo on Facebook.
To sponsor a comfort bag, contact email@example.com.
More by this authorRebekah Chilvers