For many people the journey to having a baby can be an extremely difficult one. The worry, anxiety, and sadly sometimes grief, can be overwhelming and many people can feel like they have no one to turn to. Amy Lucas, our UHCW Charity Administrator, knows this all too well. Throughout her journey Amy benefitted from fantastic support from a variety of teams at UHCW, and now Amy wants to share her story to highlight the amazing work that they do.
In January 2017, while waiting to start IVF treatment, Amy sadly suffered a miscarriage. Although she had conceived naturally Amy and her partner Chris decided to carry on with their IVF as planned, under the care and guidance of Mr Stephen Keay at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at UHCW.
The treatment was successful, but at 25 weeks Amy’s waters broke suddenly. Her son Callum was born at UHCW Labour Ward in November 2017 weighing just 2 pounds. Callum’s strength surprised everyone during his time on the Neonatal Ward, but sadly he passed away at just 28 days old.
In the first few hours after Callum’s death, Amy and Chris were visited by Specialist Bereavement Midwife, Steph Carter. The bereavement team offer immediate and long term support to parents who have lost a baby, guiding them through the practical requirements, such as registering the death and funeral planning as well as helping to create positive memories of their baby. Steph also supports families through subsequent pregnancies and beyond.
For Amy and Chris, Steph’s support made a huge difference during the most difficult time of their lives.
“Steph is a truly extraordinary person. The support she gave to both me and my partner when we lost Callum was invaluable and she continues to support us to this day. One of the first things Steph said to me was that she would be there for me for life, not just for a few weeks, and she has stayed true to her word. Her personal touches make what she does so special and I am so grateful for everything she has done for my family. Her genuine care and compassion for the families she looks after shines through and she is a true asset to the Trust”
Following on from Callum’s death Amy and Chris decided to embark on a second round of IVF, but sadly this resulted in a second miscarriage. Needing a break from the rollercoaster of emotions of the last two years, Amy and Chris decided to pause their fertility journey.
However, in May 2019 Amy was surprised to find out that she was pregnant again.
Due to her history Amy was placed under the care of world renowned Obstetrician Professor Siobhan Quenby, an expert in pre term labour and recurrent miscarriage. Thanks to her close monitoring, expert input and thorough treatment plan Amy gave birth to healthy baby boy Ryan in December 2019.
“Professor Quenby has a true passion for the work she does and strives to make a difference. Her patient care is second to none. She is approachable, she listens, understands, and is empathetic to the challenges faced by the families she works with. I feel very privileged to have been treated by her. Thanks to Professor Quenby and her team I have been able to realise my dream of taking a healthy baby home”
As well as receiving support from medical teams, Amy also found comfort in the support she received from the Chaplaincy team at UHCW which continues to this day.
“The Chaplaincy team were amazing. They were always on hand to provide a listening ear or a comforting word, or just a familiar face. Their help in planning Callum’s funeral was so appreciated. I don’t personally follow a faith but it doesn’t matter – they are there for everyone and anyone regardless of faith or beliefs. They are such warm and caring people and even now they pop into the Charity office to ask how I am, to see pictures of Ryan or just for a chat. I know I can approach them whenever I need to. They are such an integral part of the support available at UHCW and often what they do goes unnoticed”
Amy’s story highlights just one of the many difficult situations faced by our patients and their families each day, but it also shows the compassion, understanding and extraordinary support given by our staff that makes all the difference.
“I can’t fault the support I have received from the amazing staff at UHCW. When Callum was in the Neonatal Unit his care was second to none, it was truly outstanding. From my IVF with Mr Stephen Keay to my pregnancy with Ryan where I was looked after by Professor Quenby and her team, I have felt cared for, listened to and not just ‘another patient’. I am forever grateful to everyone involved in my journey and I hope that my story helps to show the wonderful care and support that is available at UHCW”
You can help to make a difference and support the amazing work that happens at University Hospital Coventry and Rugby St Cross Hospital. Click here to donate to UHCW Charity and help us to make things better for our patients and their families. If you would like to donate to a specific area or department, please add this to the message section when you process your donation.
Please contact us if you would like to speak to our team on 02476 966913 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have experienced baby loss there is support available. Support groups at University Hospital we be restarting in the near future. They include Dandelion Baby Loss Support Group, HOPE (a pregnancy after loss support group) and Parenting After Loss Group run by UHCW’s Bereavement Midwives and Chaplains.
There are also local support and counselling groups, including: The Acorn Centre (02476 381878), The Laura Centre (01162 544341), Sands (07896 500237) and the LilyMae Foundation (01676 535716) who provide our memory boxes.
Our Bereavement Midwives team can be contacted on 02476 967310.