A family has donated specialist equipment to Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s labour ward in memory of their son, Charlie.
Alison Bowler and partner Chris Paget sadly discovered their unborn baby had no heartbeat during a scan on 2 February 2017 when Alison was 40 weeks pregnant.
Alison explains: “I had a perfectly normal pregnancy up to 40 weeks. We were very excited to start our little family.
“I wasn't due to see the midwife for another week, so I gave them a ring to see if they could fit me in just to re-assure me that everything was okay.
“We were sent to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for an ultrasound which showed our baby had no heartbeat. It's the most surreal, shattering, heart breaking pain that words can't even describe.
“We were told I would have to be induced into labour to give birth. Later that night on 3 February I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Charlie John Paget, he was perfect, cute beyond words. We cuddled him, bathed and dressed him, loved him. To hold him in our arms and have to say goodbye, and come home without him was heart breaking.”
A cold cot, also known as a cuddle cot, is a specialised piece of equipment that fits into a Moses basket and is designed to keep baby cool to allow bereaved parents to spend extra time with their baby. Some families choose to take their baby home from hospital and with the additional support of a cold cot at home this will extend the time that they have.
Alison added: “Charlie used a cold cot. As a family we were so grateful of this. All the staff at Stoke Mandeville were so good to us, and we wanted to be able to give something back and help other families.”
Alison, Chris and Charlie’s older brother Ryley, 12, visited Stoke Mandeville Hospital on Tuesday 1 August to donate the cold cot they had bought in memory of Charlie to the labour ward. The family has raised more than £2,200 by setting up a Just Givings page and selling bracelets and badges for the charity 4Louis, which helps bereaved families and purchased the cold cot on the family’s behalf.
Heidi Beddall, Head of Midwifery at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This will have a positive impact for other families who sadly have to go through a similar situation. To have this equipment is invaluable. For the family to do this fundraising so soon after their baby died is incredibly admirable and for them to share their story is so brave. We can’t thank them enough.”
Jenn Higgs, bereavement support midwife at the Trust, who supported Alison and Chris after Charlie died, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Chris, Alison and Ryley for raising the money to buy this cold cot in Charlie’s memory. It will make a huge difference to us. It is sad to think that we will have parents in the future who will need it, but when they do it will enable them to make choices about how long and where they spend time with their baby.”
If you would like to give money towards further donations to the maternity unit at Stoke Mandeville in Charlie’s memory please visit www.justgiving.co.uk/alisonbowler