A grieving mum has said that being able to take her stillborn daughter home in a ‘cuddle cot’ for a few days before her funeral was “immensely comforting”.
Amy Dutch, 25, gave birth to her stillborn daughter Alicia-Mae, on 18 April. Sadly her daughter had died in the womb shortly before she was born. After leaving the hospital she visited the funeral home every day to see her daughter. A bereavement midwife then arranged for a refrigerated ‘cuddle cot’ so that Amy could take her baby home for the final 12 days before the funeral.
Amy was able to sleep next to her daughter and spent hours reading Star Wars storybooks, and taking her on walks around the house as a way of grieving and bonding with her deceased daughter.
She said: “All pregnancy I’d been fixated on this image of falling asleep curled around a Moses basket on my bed and then waking up to my baby crying”.
“That image will never be complete but the fact I could still make half of it come true really warmed parts of my heart that I thought had died with Alicia-Mae”.
“I know the thought of someone staying in the house with a dead baby is maybe not everyone’s idea of comforting, but I think we all deal with grief differently”.
Amy works selling handmade items online and during her time at home with the baby she was able to sew a tiny nappy and dress which she put on her daughter.
“I now have photos of my baby girl in my bedroom and that just fills me with joy. There was something immensely comforting about seeing her at home amongst her things where she belonged. Her journey felt more complete”.
‘There’s no heartbeat’
Amy had a difficult pregnancy but it wasn’t until the 26th week that she realised something was wrong. She hadn’t felt her baby move for a few hours and as she had a midwife appointment the next day, she decided to wait until then. When the midwife was unable to find a heartbeat, Amy was rushed to hospital for an emergency scan, her mum by her side the whole time.
“Those words never leave you once you’ve been told them for real: ‘There’s no heartbeat’. Suddenly I was thrust into a world no one wants to know exists”.
Amy was incredibly grateful for the ‘cuddle cot’, which was set up at her bedside so she could sleep next to her daughter like she had done at the hospital.
Amy said: “There is nothing that eases the pain of losing a baby but the gift of time is something incredibly important”.
Amy is now in the midst of setting up a charity to make sure that a cuddle cot is an option for more women.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Our hearts go out to Amy, her boyfriend Emced, and their daughter in this deeply sad case. Alicia-Mae’s death is a tragedy not made any easier by her very young age. This illustrates how precious life is even at its earliest stages, inside or outside the womb”.