Mum of baby who died an hour after birth supports Sheffield bereavement suite appeal
A mum whose baby son died just an hour after his birth is supporting an appeal to transform the bereavement suite at Sheffield’s Jessop Wing Maternity Hospital.
Natalie Rebbeck is donating 20cm of her hair to help create a wig for children with cancer – with sponsorship money raised going to the Bereavement Suite Appeal and St Luke’s Hospice.
Five years ago, Natalie and her partner Steve, from Brinsworth, were excitedly expecting their first child but Travis was born at 33 weeks suffering from congenital high airways obstructive syndrome, meaning his windpipe was completely blocked, so he could not breathe.
Travis died within an hour and his devastated parents were able, with the support of the hospital’s bereavement service team, to spend time with their son over a seven-week period before his funeral, thanks to a refrigerated cot in the current bereavement suite.
The Jessop Wing Bereavement Service works with clinical teams to support parents who are given the chance to cuddle, bathe and dress their babies in the suite. Memories are made with photos, ink and clay hand and footprints, memory boxes and bears.
Natalie, aged 30, said: “It was like a living nightmare, but the staff were amazing and we were able to come up at any time to spend time with Travis before the funeral.
“Having that time got us away from the reality for a bit and even though we went up to the Jessop every day for seven weeks, the hardest day was the last one.
“We were in a room with a cuddle cot, a couple of settees and a garden area and even five years ago it was looking a little tired.
“But, the fact it was there was brilliant and I think the new refurbished bereavement suite will make such a difference at what is a horrible, horrible time.”
Sheffield Hospitals Charity is aiming to raise £230,000 over the next nine months to create a new bereavement suite where families can spend precious time with the baby.
Natalie and Steve now have son Austin, aged three, and daughter Elsie, who will be two next month.
Donations to the appeal can be made online at www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/jessopsappeal