News Update

News Update

Maternity Bereavement Suite Re-visited

On 29th April 2022 the Ocean Pearl Maternity Bereavement Suite was opened at Hillingdon Hospital.  It was the fruition of a two-year project. Requirements for a suite had been gathered from mums who had experienced a stillbirth on the Labour ward at Hillingdon, and two years followed during which £400k was raised to make it a reality.

Just over a year later we thought we would check in with a mum to see what the experience of using the suite has been, and to see if there was anything further the charity could add to make it even more comfortable.

Lucy Gibbs and her husband Scott spent 3 days in the suite in July 2022. They had three children and always longed for a fourth. When Lucy was 3 months pregnant, she had the regular blood tests to identify risk of Down’s, Edward’s and Patau’s syndromes. The results came back as a high risk for all three. Lucy continued with the pregnancy in love with the baby that grew inside her. At the 5-month scan Lucy and Scott were heartbreakingly told that their little boy Scott Junior (SJ) had a malformed heart and collapsed stomach. He would not survive. For Lucy’s wellbeing they were booked into the Ocean Pearl Suite on 15th July for a medical inducement. On the 17th July at 23:55 SJ was born and died shortly after in their arms.

Lucy said that at the worst time in her life she felt comfort from being in the Ocean Pearl Suite. When they arrived at the suite on the 15th her first impression of entering through the garden gate was one of feeling surprised at how unlike her expectations it was. She said she felt immediately eased into feeling less stressed. “It was homely and nice” she said, “the garden was just lovely”. The care they received from the specialist midwives Pamela and Catherine was wonderful. A tragically sad experience was made less traumatic.

Lucy said they couldn’t hear any other sounds from the labour ward, no crying babies, no celebrating or hearing other mums giving birth to live babies. They didn’t feel rushed to leave. SJ was treated with love and respect, being wrapped in a beautiful crocheted white blanket after hand and feet prints were thoughtfully taken.

Lucy and Scott were keen to tell me that no further improvement is needed to the suite, they couldn’t think of anything that could be added. Lucy commented that even her 14 year old daughter was ‘blown away by it’.  Considering the merits of the suite Lucy said “I felt that I didn’t need to be brave when I wasn’t. I had the privacy to grieve openly, it felt like a safe space”.

Below is an Instagram screenshot that Lucy posted whilst in the suite, it sums up the features.

Lucy and Scott were offered the specialist Petals counselling service for baby loss that the Charity is funding, they haven’t taken it up yet, but know that it is there if they need it.

The fantastic news is that Lucy is now pregnant, 5 months pregnant, and all blood tests are fine. She finds out next week what gender the baby is. The baby’s due date is a week apart from what SJs would have been.

Lucy says to return to Hillingdon Maternity doesn’t hold any fear for her as it will be on the labour ward, a separate location from the Ocean Pearl suite, where she doesn’t have to be reminded of her experience last year. She says she wishes all hospitals could provide the care she has received at Hillingdon.


Your generosity makes all this possible. Find out more about the charity here.