Abby-Leigh Greentree and her partner Liam Slaughter – photos NNUH
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has joined forces with charitable organisation CRADLE to provide support to bereaved parents during or following early pregnancy loss.
CRADLE ambassadors launched their service at NNUH last month and have donated the first set of early pregnancy loss comfort bags to the Trust.
The comfort bag project has been set up to support women who may be admitted to hospital unexpectedly. The bags are filled with toiletries and are provided to bring comfort and dignity during a difficult time. They also allow couples to stay together in hospital without partners or companions having to rush home for essential items.
The most important item in the CRADLE comfort bag is the ‘Dear Friend’ letter, which signposts women from their hospital beds directly to the organisation’s online and local support.
Claire Wells, gynaecology matron at NNUH, said: “We are extremely grateful to our CRADLE ambassadors for their support and donation of these comfort bags, which will make such a difference to women during a difficult and stressful time in their lives.”
The CRADLE ambassador team for NNUH and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn are Abby-Leigh Greentree, Rachel Edwards, Jade Blaney, Amy Wright and Keeley Kemp.
CRADLE offer guidance and support to Health Care Professionals, who provide care to bereaved families affected by early pregnancy loss.
Abby-Leigh Greentree, from Wymondham, who is CRADLE Ambassador for NNUH, got involved after experiencing an ectopic pregnancy and had emergency surgery in January, resulting in the loss of her baby and left fallopian tube.
She said: “The staff at the NNUH were incredible but I couldn’t help feeling empty, lost and a failure. I searched through social media sites for some type of group where other families had been through similar. Then I found CRADLE. I first saw the comfort bag project and knew I had to get involved.
“Small items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste make you feel a little more normal and would have made such a huge difference for me. I knew if I had received something like this, my partner Liam wouldn’t have had to leave me, at the time when we needed each other the most.
“The Norfolk CRADLE team is so strong and committed to supporting other bereaved parents and the NHS. I truly think that being an ambassador for CRADLE has helped the journey of healing of losing our baby. If I can help one person through my loss, it will all be worth the pain I’ve struggled through.”
Jade Blaney, who is also part of the Norfolk CRADLE ambassador team, added: “I first came across CRADLE while searching for support following my own loss back in March 2019 and I instantly wanted to be involved. When I lost my baby I felt so alone, and I had to search for my own support. I really didn’t want this to happen to any other women and their partners.
“Our comfort bags are exactly that, bags of comfort during a really distressing time. It brings me comfort knowing that I am helping women, to let them know they are not alone, they are not just a ‘1 in 4’ statistic, they are us.”
CRADLE launched in the NHS in July 2019 and is now supported by a team of 55 CRADLE ambassadors across the UK. Each ambassador is linked to an NHS Trust of their choice, often where they received care themselves during or following pregnancy loss. CRADLE aim to provide a service to all NHS trusts in the UK by the end of 2023.