Help get a Bereavement Unit at Antrim Hospital for use by grieving parents and families

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On Saturday 6 July our baby John was born sleeping at 34 weeks 6 days due to a concealed placenta abruption. He was absolutely perfect and weighed a healthy 5lb 2oz.

Delivering John was the most precious, along with the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, or will ever do, knowing he was already gone and that was not going to change!

If I didn't have the amazing delivery suite staff of Antrim Area Hospital, my world would have been a lot darker for those first few days. They could not do enough for us and went above and beyond the call of duty in everything they did. My amazing midwife on Saturday came on shift while I was in the midst of labour and was there to deliver John and take care of us throughout the day. She apologised to me about the room I was in. The room next door with its own private bathroom was occupied by a seriously ill patient under observation. This resulted in me having to use the bathroom in the induction suite of the ward; passing rooms of ladies in labour, those who had given birth, or were still to have their babies. She also explained that they have plans for a bereavement unit, but as yet funding has not been made available, the same issue existing with a bereavement midwife post also.

None of the above would have improved the personal care I received from the staff, but I know they would feel better if they had the additional facilities and support available to make me more comfortable. By Monday, it was emotionally too much to still be there with all the sights and sounds around me. This is something that would have been different, had the bereavement unit been available.

You shouldn't have to deliver your stillborn baby in a room on a ward surrounded by mothers with living babies and stay in that same room until you feel you have no other option but to leave the hospital, despite how you are physically feeling in yourself. I received two units of blood on Sunday afternoon and by Monday morning I could not mentally face staying in the hospital any longer, despite physically feeling as though I should.

Had the bereavement unit been available, I have no doubt that I would have received the same excellent personal care from the staff. The extra resources would have enabled them to provide additional care tailored to my needs, and the needs of others who will unfortunately, require their services in the future.

I am requesting, before more families must experience the same as I and my family did, that the bereavement unit be approved and funding provided for it.