Baby Loss

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:37 pm on 13th October 2016.

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Photo of Will Quince Will Quince Conservative, Colchester 12:37 pm, 13th October 2016

I thank the hon. Lady for that point, which I will come to in a moment.

Begging the indulgence of the House, I would like to share my experience, in the spirit of showing people outside the Chamber how important it is to talk about this, if we are able to. We found out at our 20-week scan that our son had a very rare chromosomal disorder called Edwards syndrome, a condition that is rather unhelpfully described as being “not compatible with life”. We knew throughout my wife’s pregnancy that the most likely outcome would be stillbirth, but our son was an incredible little fighter, and he went full term—over 40 weeks. He lost his life in the last few moments of labour at Colchester general hospital.

To pick up on the hon. Lady’s point, Colchester has a fantastic hospital that has a specialist bereavement suite called the Rosemary suite, where we got to spend that really special time—including before the birth, because we knew what outcome was, sadly, likely. I got to stay with my wife; we got to stay there overnight; we had a cold cot, so that we could have lots of cuddles. We could continue, the next morning, to spend time with our son. I completely agree with the hon. Lady, which is why my hon. Friend Antoinette Sandbach and I had a debate in November last year on bereavement care in maternity units. Bereavement suites are so important. In this country, in the NHS, there should never be any excuse for a mother and father, or a mother, who have lost a baby to go back on a maternity ward with crying babies, happy families and balloons; that is just not appropriate or acceptable. Having gone through that experience, I know that what people need is the peace and quiet to come to terms with the personal absolute tragedy that has just happened.