“We just felt trapped and wanted to escape”

Leon and his wife Amy had already been through one difficult pregnancy with their first son, who was born prematurely. With their second, Amy had experienced heavy bleeding early on, but the couple remained hopeful that everything would be ok. Every week that passed felt like a blessing. However, at 23 weeks, Amy started to experience contractions and went into early labour. She was admitted into the hospital and their son, Ezra, was born shortly after. He passed away in their arms just three hours later.

Leon comments: “We went straight into the delivery suite when we got to the hospital. Ezra was born, lived and died in the same room. We were in there for hours, the midwives and doctors came in and out to speak to us, but we had nowhere else we could go. We just felt so trapped and wanted to escape. We wanted to get away from this room, this negative space, where our world had just been turned upside down.”

The couple left the hospital less than 24 hours later, but returned to visit their baby boy. The walk down to the hospital mortuary was a particularly difficult journey for the family. Leon, added:  “When we returned, there was no reception we could go to, to announce ‘we’re here to see our son!’ We were escorted, but had to walk past people who were just going about their day – happily chatting away without a care in the world. It felt like we had a secret to hide.”

Our plans for Woodland House include a family room, with its own private space and access, as well as a private and sensitive mortuary, offering families the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones in comfort and serenity. A large communal lounge area will provide a relaxed and safe space for bereavement support sessions.   

Being able to talk to other parents going through the same experience has been important for Leon. He said: “There really are limited services available for people who have experienced baby loss. Having somewhere like Woodland House, where people can come together in a safe place, that doesn’t feel clinical in any way, will be so important in helping people through their grieving process.”