Tag Archives: midwife

“AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE MY BABY IS BURIED!” Oh For An NHS Future-Gazer!

None of this for my friend 49 years ago...

None of this for my friend 49 years ago…

Today I heard a tragic tale from someone I count as a friend. They had seen that I had been shortlisted for a Butterfly Award for my work with parents who have lost their babies (see my profile here: http://www.thebutterflyawards.com/index.php/voting/userprofile/revdavidsouthall ).

It started as a friendly good morning hug and a chat about the glorious weather and then she said: “I wish you’d been around 49 years ago!” I looked puzzled and so she explained why: “I was pregnant with my fourth child, and my Son was stillborn. There was no one to support me and when he was born I didn’t even get to hold him! It was barbaric and inhumane! And then they said: “we’ll bury him for you” – and that was the last I knew. My guess is that he was buried with 6 or so others but I just don’t know. I don’t even know where my baby is buried … and I never had the chance to grieve.”

I listened.

49 years ago … and it still leaves its mark!
49 years ago…and when her husband died recently she had a plaque in honour of her Son put on his gravestone: “RESTING ELSEWHERE.”
49 years ago and the questions persist.

We hugged and said our goodbyes.

And I was left with the questions:

How did this practice come about?
Who thought it was a good idea: medics; midwives; society?
Were the midwives compassionate?
Was any thought given loss and grief and bereavement?
Was the system to blame?

And the comparison struck me hard. Just the other day I took a funeral of a little one. Tragic, desperately tragic. Always desperately tragic! But this couple had been supported by our Specialist Bereavement Midwife and by the Chaplaincy. They had been able to hold their little one and spend time with her. They had photos and a lock of her hair; handprints and footprints. They stayed for a couple of days in a special hospital room on Delivery Suite without the noise of other babies around them. They had a full funeral service planned by them with my help; and they will get on-going support from the Hospital and other helping agencies.

How different the world is now. But then 49 years is not that long ago is it?

And it set me thinking …

Are there things which we are doing now which will be seen in the future as barbaric and inhumane?
Are there practices which we will look back on in 50 years’ time and shudder to think that we were part of it?
Are systems in place which militate against compassion and humanity?

It seems to me that the real geniuses in the NHS are the ones who spot these things ahead of time; who see into the future and say:
“Hang on a minute…can’t we do this another way; a better way?”

I wish someone had done that for my friend 49 years ago…

but because I can’t turn back the clock, I hope there are visionaries and future-gazers looking now.

Two Little Superstars- My guess is that the Weavers will remember your care forever

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You may have seen the post the other day from Stef and Sean Weaver celebrating the care they had in the hospital. I pushed my luck and asked for photos and they sent these (thanks so much both of you). These beautiful babies were born in Worcester Royal and Stef and Sean could not say how pleased they were. Now no one cand doubt that Rabia Imtiaz always looks gorgeous (!) but these pictures are even better. So I post their comments again, this time with pics of the little ones, which makes it all worth while.

Dear Reverend Southall, I detail below comments I would be grateful if you would place on your blog.

Having recently given birth to twin daughters at WRH after a high risk pregnancy I want to highlight the excellent care and support that I have received from the Maternity Unit at WRH. During my pregnancy I used the services of all that the unit has to offer, triage, ante natal clinics, ante natal unit, delivery suite, neo natal unit, post natal unit and transitional care unit. I was under the watchful eye of Mrs Imtiaz and for those of you who know her she needs no introduction and for those of you who don’t it is suffice to say that she is a professional who is respected for her skills and expertise as an obstetrician by both staff and patients alike. I have never encountered such a large team that works so well and efficiently together and this includes housekeeping staff, administrators, midwifes, nursery nurses all the way up to senior level staff . My only regret is I cannot name them all! Despite being a team under immense pressure I felt that I was treated by all the staff with respect and when I needed it most to help me through a difficult time they went out of their way to support and care for me and my daughters nothing was ever too much trouble. For instance, my daughters were on the neo natal unit and I was on post natal often when I was visiting my daughters the ward would call to let me know lunch or supper was ready and this may seem insignificant to some but to me it meant that they always had my health and well being in mind. We are and will always be eternally indebted to the professionalism and skills of all the staff on the unit.

kindest regards Stef and Sean Weaver