|Beth & Lauren in the Brasov Children’s Hospital
Five years ago this June, Chris and I lost our precious baby boy Isaac, his heart stopped beating when I was 36 weeks pregnant with him. We were living in England and received the most incredible, caring, sympathetic and compassionate care at our local NHS hospital.
I delivered Isaac in a private room, where Chris, myself and our family got to say goodbye to him.
There are no words that can begin to sum up that experience, none fitting enough to fully explain the sheer agony of having to say goodbye to our son that we never truly got to know.
But in the bleakness and the shock of those days we had doctors, nurses and consultants telling us every detail that we could possibly need to know. They told us our rights, our options and they made sure that every need was met and, more importantly, they gave us the time to say goodbye.
The hospital gave us a keepsake box, where we treasure a lock of Isaac’s hair, his tiny foot print and precious clothes. Isaac was given a birth and a death certificate which meant we could have a funeral, a place where our baby could be laid to rest. And after this we had options of counselling and support groups and follow up meetings with our consultant. We were cared for, in the thick of grief we were cared for.
Now living in Romania, I volunteer at the maternity hospital for Firm Foundations Romania. Each week we hand out care packages to mothers who live in poverty. This last Wednesday we were doing our normal shift when we met Amelia*, a 17 year old Roma mother who had just lost her baby. He had been born alive, but tragically he died in the night.
Amelia was in the same room as all the other mum’s who had just given birth, she watched them leave to feed there babies (babies and mothers are separated after birth). We got to chat to Amelia and hear what had happened and as we did I started to see just how different our two experiences were. She had no idea of her rights, no one had explained her options to her.
Her husband and family never got to meet or say goodbye to their son (men are not allowed past the reception of the hospital). There was no keepsake box, no tiny footprint, no clothes to remember her darling boy by.
I’m uncertain of how much was ever explained to her about what happened to her son and why he passed away. As we held her and let her share her heartache she explained that no one had come by to talk to her. This poor lady had just lost her baby and now she was alone in a room full of new mothers with no medical staff explaining what had happened, and what was going to happen.
Was it because she was Roma? Or is this just how death is handled here? In a cold, uncompassionate way. We managed to get some details for her from the medical staff, and get her sons wrist band. He wasn’t given a birth or death certificate.
We are going to continue to meet with Amelia and her husband to support them in any way we can. I totally believe God lead us to Amelia, and that we are to love, support and care for this precious, grieving family.
Having been through something so similar to Amelia, I am shocked at the stark contrast in our care. This is not something we can see and then turn a blind eye.
We would love to provide the hospital with some keepsake boxes, each box will contain support cards with our contact information, a casting kit and frame (so they may have a print of their baby’s hand/foot), two identical hats and two blankets (one for the baby and one for the parents to take home) and other support information.
Obviously getting these items will cost money and so we want to fundraise to ensure that unlike Amelia and her husband, future parents will have some lasting memories of their babies.
If you are interest in donating then please email us at email@example.com.
Please be praying for Amelia, her husband and family; also that we will see a change in the way the hospital handles these types of cases in the future so that other parents here in Romania who find themselves in this tragic situation may receive clear and more compassionate care.
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual involved