CuddleCot donation grants gift of time for bereaved parents

A thoughtful donation has been received by our maternity department, to help parents who suffer the loss of a baby. Amber and Josh Goddard fundraised to purchase a Flexmort CuddleClot, which they have kindly gifted to Derriford Hospital in memory of their baby son, Mylo.

“It had been a real struggle to get pregnant because of having polycystic ovaries,” describes Amber, “but then I was put on Metformin, and everything changed. I found out I was expecting in February 2017.

“Looking back, it was a very good pregnancy, by the book. Not even any morning sickness. So what happened a few months later came as quite a shock.”

On 3 June 2017, Amber suddenly found herself having contractions and, with the paramedics on hand over the phone, gave birth to baby Mylo at home. Although an ambulance arrived immediately afterwards, at 21 weeks and 3 days, dear little Mylo had, very sadly, arrived too early.

“I’d suffered a placenta abruption, which can affect up to 1% of pregnancies,” explains Amber. “We were brought into Derriford, and I needed to have surgery afterwards. There, the staff were just brilliant. Two lovely midwives came to clean Mylo up, and it meant I could have skin to skin contact with him.

“We spent two days with Mylo in the Snowdrop Suite, which gives grieving parents some much-needed privacy. It’s a nice, normal room, outside of the clinical area, so it’s not like being in a hospital environment. Understandably, we both felt traumatised by what had happened, but it offered us a tremendous amount of comfort to be able to spend that quality time with our little boy, and to grieve as much as we needed to. We are so very thankful.”

What made the family’s stay in the Snowdrop Suite possible during these two days was the use of a Flexmort CuddleCot. The system involves placing a cooling pad inside a cot, basket or crib, which is kept consistently cool by a unit attached by an insulated hose. The CuddleCot helps to preserve the baby by keeping them cool, and therefore stopping their condition from deteriorating too quickly. This allows families to spend every precious moment with their baby, granting the gift of time.

“We had no idea that this incredible piece of kit was available,” said Amber. “After what we had experienced, we cannot begin to describe how important having the CuddleCot was. It allowed our family to visit and meet Mylo, and they were able to go through the grieving process with us, too.

“It was so comforting, to feel so empty but still have him there with us. It gave us some much-needed closure and, most importantly, gave us all time to say goodbye.”

It was after this stay that Amber felt inspired to fundraise, in order to purchase another CuddleCot for Derriford Hospital.

Amber and Josh with the CuddleCot “I didn’t want to sit around, do nothing and feel sorry for myself. I had to do something,” explains Amber. “We both feel very strongly that everyone should be offered the same chance to spend time with their baby.

“I also wanted to do something for the maternity ward, in Mylo’s memory. I’ve been amazed by everyone I’ve had contact with, and I’ve felt really supported throughout the whole process. The staff even put in so much effort to validate Mylo as a person. The memory box that they provided us with is just wonderful, giving us records of our baby’s hand and foot prints, and a certificate that you otherwise wouldn’t get. So a week after Mylo’s birthday, I started fundraising.”

Amber set up a JustGiving page and soon friends and family were helping the cause.

“Our families were amazing, it snowballed constantly. A big chunk came from my employer, City Sprint Couriers, who contributed with their own fundraising efforts. It all meant that, in only two weeks, we’d already hit our target of £1,375 to buy a CuddleCot.”

Amber and Josh ended up raising a grand total of £1,692, and so decided to donate the rest towards Aching Arms and Daddy’s with Angels, which are both charities that support parents with baby loss.

But their story doesn’t end there. In October 2017 Amber discovered she was pregnant again, this time with the couple’s “rainbow baby” and, last month, baby Beatrice arrived safely.

“I wrote a blog shortly after we lost Mylo, as I wanted to encourage people to talk about baby loss, and to encourage parents to speak the names of their children, as it’s so important,” adds Amber. “I hope that in telling our story, we share the importance of celebrating our children’s lives, however short, and, importantly, spread the message of hope.”

Last month, the Goddard family paid a visit to the labour ward, to see the CuddleCot that their fundraising efforts had paid for. A commemorative plaque has been engraved with Mylo’s name and birthday, a very touching tribute.

“It’s lovely to have little reminders, like this, of the babies that were here,” explains Kirstie Willis, Bereavement Midwife. “It helps to keep their memories alive.”

Sheralyn Neasham, Maternity Matron, added: “We’re really grateful to Amber and Josh for their kind donation, as well as their ongoing support. The CuddleCot is invaluable, giving that extra time to allow families to stay together.

“We really care about our patients and so it is really important that we are able to support them, especially with baby loss. This generous donation also means that we’ll always have Mylo with us.”

To find out more about the Flexmort CuddleCot, please visit: http://flexmort.com/cuddle-cots/

To find out more about how you can fundraise or make a donation to University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, please visit https://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/fundraising