Ashleigh French is happy the room for grieving families she's fought hard to set up is finally open, but sad it will be used by those who have lost a baby.

The Ngā Awhi Rito Room was officially blessed and opened on Friday, six years after French herself lost her child, Luka Pixie Morris, shortly after birth.

"Our time together was okay. The only thing that would have made our time better would have been a specific room, a less clinical room."

Since then, French has helped raise enough money to buy the hospital a cuddle cot - a special cooling device that fits inside a bassinet or basket to allow families of babies who have died to take them home for a short time.

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Midwife Mandy Griffiths and nurse Ashleigh French have been the driving force behind the opening of the room. Photo / Ben Fraser
Midwife Mandy Griffiths and nurse Ashleigh French have been the driving force behind the opening of the room. Photo / Ben Fraser

After buying the cot, French, who is also a nurse at the hospital, kept pushing and fundraising for a specific room for grieving parents.

She was helped by midwife Mandy Griffiths.

"At the moment people give birth in normal rooms which are very clinical," Griffiths said.

"Families are obviously very sad, they need space to grieve and spend time with their baby and family and it's upsetting for them to hear other families rejoice and other babies crying."

Griffiths said the hospital looked after about 20 to 30 babies a year who were stillborn or died shortly after birth. She said anyone who needed to use the room would be welcome to stay for as long as they needed.

The bereavement room was created from a corridor, store room and clinic room but now has its own kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

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Donna Mayes, the service manger of the Woman, Child and Family Service at Lakes District Health Board, said she was proud of her team.

"We all came into health with the desire to make a difference.

"We look after the person that's in front of us, we look after each other, and we look after our community."

She said the death of babies was a "heart-rending" part of the job.

"It's nice to have a safe place to be able to walk along the journey with families who go down this path."