“I didn’t want to leave my baby – I wanted her warm and close by”

It had been the perfect first pregnancy. Krishna Kaur didn’t experience any of the usual difficulties you’d expect, such as nausea or joint pain. However, as she was now overdue, she was ready for the baby to come. After she finally went into labour, Krishna went in to hospital where her baby was checked and appeared to be comfortable, so she was sent home. The next day, she and her husband came back to the hospital, where they were given the devastating news that their baby girl had died.

Krishna says: “I couldn’t understand what I was being told. I had only been in the hospital the day before. What had changed in 24 hours? There was no clear explanation of what had gone wrong.” Krishna struggled to accept the news: “I was asking the doctor what we could do – could she be delivered and resuscitated?”

Krishna was moved onto the Abby Suite – a private suite in the main maternity ward – where she gave birth to her baby girl, Rekha. Her and her husband then spent the night with Rekha, taking care of her. Krishna says: “We really valued that precious time with our baby, but it was a difficult night. We could hear other women in labour and babies crying, whilst we just wanted ours to wake up. I changed her nappy and clothes – I just wanted to do all the normal things a mother does but that I would no longer be able to experience.”

In the morning, the couple wrapped Rekha up and carried her down to the hospital mortuary with the specialist bereavement team alongside them. The walk is through public corridors and down to the lower ground, with the mortuary situated next to the hospital’s service entrance. Krishna says: “It was the first time we had left the Abby Suite and we really didn’t want to see anyone else. As we got closer to the mortuary, it was extremely unsettling. It felt like we were being taken to the deepest depths of the hospital – like we had done something wrong and were being hidden away. It was dark, cold and clinical and as a mother, you feel protective. I didn’t want to leave my baby – I wanted her warm and close by.”

Afterwards, Krishna and her husband returned to the Abby Suite, but they didn’t feel ready to leave the hospital. They spent another day there, but as the hours passed and with the nurses now busy tending to other new mothers, the couple felt the pressure to leave the suite.

Krishna comments: “Having somewhere like Woodland House would have made our experience a little easier. Somewhere separate, with a private entrance, so there was no chance of running into other couples. A larger, dedicated space, so we could spend as much time there as we needed, with our loved ones able to join us to make memories. Most importantly for me, somewhere we could come back to, to visit Rekha, without having to make that traumatising walk to the hospital mortuary.”  

When complete, Woodland House will provide a safe haven for our bereaved couples, away from the hustle and bustle of the main hospital. With key features including a comfortable and spacious lounge area, its own separate entrance and a private viewing room, it will be somewhere families can spend time together, in privacy, before they’re ready to face the world again.