Heartbroken mum’s life-changing gift in daughter’s memory
A HEARTBROKEN mum who gave birth to a stillborn baby girl in 2017 has donated a "life-changing" gift to the Gympie Hospital in her daughter's memory.
Jasmine Williams was only 17 when her daughter Helina-Grace was stillborn at 32 weeks.
Thanks to the "life-changing technology" of a Cuddle Cot, Ms Williams and her family were able to spend a few extra days making memories and saying goodbye to her daughter.
Often when babies are stillborn, parents and family only have a few hours before they are taken away, which can be traumatising and devastating, having lasting effects on mental health.
The Cuddle Cot is a small refrigerated device which helps families take their time to say goodbye, as the small containers, worth between $4000-$6000, allow the baby's body to remain for a longer period of time in the maternity unit.
"I was able to spend three days with her because I was lucky enough to be in a hospital where a cuddle cot was an option," Ms Williams said.
Ms Williams, who has since given birth to a son, said the experience she had of being able to spend more time with her daughter inspired her to donate a Cuddle Cot to a hospital without one, and she chose Gympie Hospital.
Ms Williams raised half of the money for the cot through a fundraiser, and the non-profit organisation she bought the cot from, Emerikus Land Foundation, contributed the remainder. "It broke my heart knowing that other families don't get the opportunity to spend extra time with their baby," Ms Williams said.
Maternity, Women's Health and Paediatric Unit Manager Shaneen Osborne said she was "beyond delighted" at the donation.
"When Jasmine phoned me to offer her support in raising funds for a cuddle cot, our unit was extremely surprised and grateful," Ms Osborne said.
"The cot will be an amazing addition to help support our mums, here at the Gympie Hospital."
This week Ms Osborne met with Ms Williams and her partner Joss to receive the donation, and thank them.
"We were just blown away to have the Cuddle Cot here at Gympie," Ms Osborne said.
"We probably have one to two stillbirths a year here at Gympie, but in the Sunshine Coast region it's about 19-28 babies."
"It will just allow the parents and family to spend time with the baby before they have to say their final goodbye.
"It allows the close contact, cuddle time, to make memories, take photos, those sorts of things that mum and dads do."
An emotional Ms Williams wants other parents grieving the loss of a stillborn child, to take their time to say goodbye.
"Utilise the time you do have with your baby," she said.
"Take as many photos as you can, sing to them, take videos, what you would do usually because it's good to have as many memories as possible."
She said she was overjoyed to be able to provide the Gympie Hospital its first ever Cuddle Cot.
According to the Stillbirth Foundation of Australia, one in 135 births will be stillborn, yet the cause of many of these deaths will never be known.