”This appeal will make a huge difference to the families that have to use these suites; using the rooms isn’t really a choice that you want to make, they are a necessity and anything that can be done to improve them is so important.
Just before week 32 of our pregnancy with our first baby, we found out that we had lost her, there was no explanation and nothing showed up on any of the tests or the post mortem, we did everything we could to find out the cause of death and why it had happened so we would know what we could do to prevent it happening again.
We lost our daughter on Monday and were given the medication to start labour, we didn’t return to the hospital until Wednesday lunchtime to start the process of delivering her. We were taken straight into the Willow room from the moment we arrived at the hospital to when our daughter was born at 5 am on Thursday morning.
The bereavement suites are really important places for people who are going through such a traumatic experience and the only thing we ever had criticism of was the soundproofing. You know where you are, you know you’re in the maternity unit, but what seems like such a small thing like hearing new babies crying is huge when you’re in one of the suites. Soundproofing so you have one less thing to think about would definitely be something that would improve the overall experience, the last thing you want to hear is excited new families and crying babies when you’re trying to deal with your own grief.
The day after our daughter was born we were taken up to the Maple room where we got to spend some real time with our daughter who had been placed in a cold cot, and again we knew exactly where we were. We had a mum and newborn baby in the room next to us and it was just an extra layer of stress that we didn’t need.
The Willow room gave you a real sense of peace, and time to spend as a new family somewhere that felt less like a hospital room, more homely and comforting.
The Maple room feels a lot more clinical, it definitely feels more like you’re in a hospital and your surroundings are a lot more noticeable.
This appeal would make a huge difference to the families that have to use these suites, using the rooms isn’t really a choice that you want to make, they are a necessity and anything that can be done to improve them is so important.
Aside from the rooms, the whole bereavement team were amazing throughout the entire process, they helped us arrange the funeral and other extra bits that you wouldn’t normally think about as new parents.
We were lucky enough to get pregnant with our second daughter. We were really anxious throughout the whole pregnancy – not knowing what caused our first baby not to make it to full term was hard to deal with and makes the next pregnancy even harder as you don’t know if you’re living with a ticking time bomb. Every small thing turns into a big thing and you don’t know if you’re worrying for no reason.
The Rainbow team were absolutely amazing, it felt like a really long journey and they were there to support us the entire way – I think at the time there was 100 other couples on the rainbow list going through a similar journey and it never felt like we were a bother or taking up too much of the team’s time.
I think anyone that has to go through this situation is lucky that the Royal Berks has a dedicated rainbow team because I don’t think a lot of other hospitals do and the extra support they have given us has been invaluable.
Not having to repeat your story to a different person every time you come in to the hospital, in fact not having to speak your story at all, unless you want to, because the bereavement team has already filled them in making the impact of having to answer lots of questions minimal. Not having to explain why you’re ringing with a question every time there’s something you’re not sure about made the world of difference to us.
You build a relationship with the team, you trust them and they put you at ease. I think you can tell they genuinely care and love what they do even though the bereavement midwives, who obviously can’t really love what you do, but you know they really care about every parent and every baby they see.
It’s amazing that the hospital has the suites and dedicated bereavement and rainbow teams and it’s really great that the charity is looking to support the hospital in continuing to improve on it too.
This situation may not impact a huge amount of people, but it has a huge impact on the people it does affect.
”We are extremely lucky to now have a healthy and happy little girl who arrived looking exactly like her big sister did, with a full head of dark hair and the same features which is really comforting to us.