Yesterday was pregnancy and infant loss day, and what better way to honour the day than to open Mount Isa Hospital's new Hummingbird Room; a safe space where families who experience pregnancy or infant loss can grieve in private.
The rooms were the brainchild of Mount Isa mum, Jackie, who sadly lost her precious baby, Amelia, in 2013.
"I went into labour early; I was only 21 weeks along, so she was premature and passed away not long after she was born. At the time there was no privacy and very little in the way of resources to help mums and families in general," she said.
"We were in a room close to other mums and their babies. We were disturbed quite a bit by babies crying and other families celebrating, which makes it harder to grieve... It can also make it more difficult to know that you're going to have to walk out of hospital empty-handed."
After her experience, Jackie said she noticed the need for a private space where families can grieve and immediately started fundraising.
"We fundraised quite a bit in the early days; we were fundraising from 2013 where we started crocheting little booties and beanies, ...we then started doing bigger fundraisers where would raise $5000- $6000 a fundraiser," she said.
The fundraising effort was bolstered by Alice, a 2015 Queen Quest entrant, who helped them raise around $20,000, Paul from Isakit who donated the labour and fit-out, and Glencore who donated $10,000 to buy a speciality double bed.
The Hummingbird room is private and beautifully finished, with a nice bed, rocking chair, and equipment to ensure that families don't miss out on those early special moments that they're never going to be able to carry on within life.
"I remember sitting up one night and thinking, 'oh my gosh I never got to bath her, I never bathed my baby', so we installed a baby bath so families can bath their babies and change their babies. It's a safe place to take photos, to rock with your baby, and to keep the baby in the room with you as long as possible until your able to muster up the courage to let go and go home," she said.
"I hope that it helps families now, and for a very long time to come."
Maryann Wipaki, General Manager for Health, Safety, Environment and Community said the bereavement room is designed to provide a safe and homely environment for families whose newborn has passed away through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.
"Through the funding, Glencore hopes the project can provide support, safety and time for families to grieve after the loss of a baby, and provide a much-needed service to families within Mount Isa and from remote communities," she said.
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