A South Tyneside couple who lost their beloved baby daughter have set up a charity to support families on the high-dependency neonatal ward which looked after her.
Grace Feltham and sister Bella were cared for at the University Hospital of North Tees after being born nine weeks early.
We can’t thank the staff enough who provided such amazing care for our little girls.Charlotte Feltham
Now mum and dad Charlotte and Scott, from Hebburn, have set up the charity Walking with Grace to support families using the hospital with Cuski Miniboos, mini comforters which help parents bond with their babies in incubators.
Diabetic Charlotte had been seeing a senior foetal medicine specialist at the RVI in Newcastle, and the girls had been due to be delivered by caesarean section at 34 weeks.
But Charlotte, 27, had to be rushed to North Tees when the girls decided to put in an early appearance and there were no intensive care cots available at the RVI.
“We were warned that Grace was very poorly and there was a chance we would lose her during pregnancy, and if she was born she had a very slim chance of survival,” she said.
“We desperately wanted Cuski comforters for our babies, as I had read about the benefits they brought in helping to develop bonding between mother and babies, especially those who were cared for in incubators.”
The comforters work by picking up a mother’s scent so the baby can smell her in the incubator.
The comforter then picks up the baby’s scent, allowing the mother to smell her baby.
Charlotte’s mum Angela rang Cuski direct and the firm arranged for comforters to be delivered the next day.
“Grace and Bella immediately took to their Cuski Miniboos,” said Charlotte.
“I carried them with me, so that my scent was transferred to them before they were given to the girls in their incubators.”
Bella was allowed home after six weeks, but Grace passed away at just 47 days old.
“We can’t thank the staff enough who provided such amazing care for our little girls,” said Charlotte. When Charlotte and Scott decided to start a fund in Grace’s memory, supplying comforters for the unit was the obvious choice.
Ward matron Debbie Bryan said: “We are so grateful to Charlotte and Scott, who have been extremely thoughtful to consider helping others. The charity will provide a big comfort to many parents in the future.”
l To support the charity, visit www.walkingwithgrace.org.uk.