A recently bereaved mother is channelling her grief into fundraising for every hospital in Northern Ireland.
Eilish Telford, 34, from Moy, gave birth to a “sleeping baby” at the 18-week point in her pregnancy but was unable to spend time with her daughter because there was no cuddle cot available.
Cuddle cots are refrigerated cribs which allow stillborn babies to stay with their parents for a while rather than being taken straight to the hospital morgue.
Now Eilish is raising money so grieving parents at every hospital across the country can have access to one.
Eilish gave birth to her daughter Cara at Craigavon Area Hospital earlier this summer but a nurse had to carry her little body to be stored in a medical refrigerator as there were none available at the time.
The mother-of-three is now fundraising to secure more cuddle cots, which cost £1,570 each, for every hospital in Northern Ireland.
“She (Cara) was completely perfect,” explained Eilish, who has three young daughters. “But it wasn’t her time yet; she was only near 18 weeks (into pregnancy).
“That is considered a late miscarriage so there’s very little help and very little options which is why I’m focusing on fundraising for a cuddle cot in my daughter’s memory.
“I wasn’t able to have one when I gave birth so they had to keep taking Cara back and forth to their medical fridge as to keep her body for post mortem.
“No other parent should go through what I went through but the reality is one in four lose their baby; it’s such a sad statistic.
“And it is still a very big taboo subject here,” she added. “I found it very hard to talk to people about it because they get very uncomfortable but it needs so much awareness and support.”
A Southern Trust spokesperson said there are five cuddle cots at Craigavon Area Hospital, with plans to introduce more.
They added: “We are disappointed to hear reports of this lady’s experiences whilst in our care and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to her about those experiences and respond to the issues/concerns she has raised.
“We greatly appreciate efforts made by parents and others to fundraise for additional cuddle cots for stillborn babies in our hospitals.
“Our obstetric and nursing staff follow care guidelines and a pathway is in place for late miscarriages which is followed by all our staff.
“As part of this pathway, information is always given to parents ahead of delivering a late miscarriage and what will happen next is fully explained to them.
“The Trust expects high quality care to be delivered and our priority is to ensure that patients receive high quality treatment.”
Eilish is doing her fundraising through the charity Angel Wings who helped her through her own grieving process.
To find out more or to donate, please visit the GoFundMe page here.
Eilish is also hosting a coffee afternoon at 2pm on October 22 in ‘Synge and Byrne’ in the Linen Green, Moygashel.
*Main picture: Eilish with her eldest daughter Isabelle (8)
More Angel Wings support links:
Angel Wings Baby and Child Loss Support – https://m.facebook.com/mumsangelbabys/
Angel Wings Forever Dressed In Love cause – http://m.Facebook.com/foreverdressedinlove/
Angel Wings Bedside Packs – Elaine.Somerville@sky.com or https://m.Facebook.com/foreverdressedinlove/