A COUPLE whose son was stillborn have donated cash to provide reassuring medical equipment for South Tyneside mums.
Karen and Paul Humphreys have bought a £600, hand-held, ultrasound device for South Tyneside District Hospital, which gives parents their first opportunity to hear their baby’s heartbeat.
The gadget was paid for though the sale of toy boxes which were built by Mr Humphreys, who works at Fires & Fenders in Hudson Street, Tyne Dock, South Shields.
Mrs Humphreys, a Macmillan Cancer lead nurse at the Harton Lane hospital where she had son, Adam, who was stillborn on Christmas Day, 2009, and Joe, 20 months, said: “We wanted to do something that might help other couples, so we are delighted that we have been able to supply this equipment.”
What the 44-year-old did not realise when she started fundraising was that she’s be one of the women who will benefit from the ultrasound, as she’s expecting another baby this summer.
Alison Shepherd, the hospital’s ante-natal assessment services manager, said: “We are very grateful for this piece of equipment, which is very useful.
“We use these devices every day and we have several in the department because, when there is a busy clinic, one is required in every room.
“As they are hand-held, they are very portable.”
Mrs Humphreys, from Newton Hall, Durham, who suffered two miscarriages before having Joe, wants to raise awareness about the issues of stillbirth and miscarriage.
She said: “A postmortem examination showed that Adam died of pneumonia, which overwhelmed his body. The staff in the maternity unit were wonderful, and I don’t think there is anything we could have done differently.
“But I would urge mums-to-be to trust their instinct, and if they notice any change in their baby’s movements, to contact their midwife or doctor immediately, and be persistent about asking to be checked out.”
Mrs Humphreys added: “We will never forget Adam. When I look at Joe’s development, I can’t help but ask myself ‘What would Adam be doing now?’”
The couple have also raised £500 through the sale of the toy boxes for the Durham and Wearside branch of Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal charity which supports anyone affected by the death of a baby and promotes research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives. And they intend continuing with their fundraising.
Their next target is £1,000 to buy additional blood pressure monitoring equipment, which has extra functions, for the South Tyneside District Hospital’s maternity unit.
For more information on the boxes, call 424 2468.