I raise money for hos­pi­tal that let my poor baby die

Still­birth mum bat­tles grief by help­ing oth­ers

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Tammy Hughes

A MUM is get­ting over the grief of suf­fer­ing a still­birth by rais­ing money for the hos­pi­tal that let her baby die.

Staff re­fused Michelle Rodd’s des­per­ate re­quests to be in­duced with drugs eight months into her preg­nancy.

The 32-year-old was re­peat­edly sent home de­spite hav­ing a con­di­tion that can cause still­birth.

She was told to “eat ice” to bring on labour nat­u­rally.

But de­spite the death of the son she named Har­ri­son, Michelle is rais­ing money for East Sur­rey Hos­pi­tal in Red­hill to help other pa­tients.

She said: “A lot of peo­ple think, ‘Why is she do­ing stuff for that hos­pi­tal?’

“Even though what they’ve done is so ter­ri­ble and has wrecked the rest of my life in a sense, I am try­ing to help oth­ers be­cause it helps me deal with my grief.”

Har­ri­son had been healthy through­out the preg­nancy but Michelle felt him stop mov­ing af­ter the hos­pi­tal sent her home for the last time.

When she re­turned the next day, he had stopped kick­ing.

“All they kept telling me at the hos­pi­tal was, ‘Eat some ice, eat some ice’ to get him mov­ing,” she said.

Michelle was fi­nally given a scan that re­vealed he was dead in her womb.

Heart­break­ingly, she was then taken to a de­liv­ery suite and given the same pills to in­duce her dead baby that she had been ask­ing for all along.

“I re­mem­ber say­ing, ‘I told you, I told you, I told you I needed help’,” she said. “I felt like my knees were giv­ing way. “You go back to that mo­ment ev­ery now and then and think, ‘How did that hap­pen?’ You re­play it over and over. “But you can’t live like that.” Af­ter Har­ri­son’s death, Michelle con­tacted a so­lic­i­tor who asked for her hos­pi­tal med­i­cal notes and found she had a con­di­tion called poly­hy­dram­nios, or ex­cess fluid in the womb.

The mum of eight had never been told about the con­di­tion, which can cause pre­ma­ture birth and still­birth.

“I wasn’t looked af­ter prop­erly dur­ing that time,” she said. “Had they done a c-sec­tion at 37 weeks...who knows?

“I imag­ine he would have lived. They ad­mit­ted that there was a lack of care and I shouldn’t have been sent home.”

Michelle only re­ceived an apol­ogy from the hos­pi­tal in March this year, nearly four years af­ter Har­ri­son’s death on June 4, 2014.

“It does make me cross that it took them so long to apol­o­gise,” she said.

Twins

Be­fore the tragedy, Michelle had worked at East Sur­rey Hos­pi­tal as a ‘bounty lady’ – a pho­tog­ra­pher tak­ing pic­tures of new­borns. Now she has raised enough money for one cold cot for the hos­pi­tal and two for other hos­pi­tals. Cold cots al­low be­reaved par­ents more time with their chil­dren as they slow down de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. Af­ter the birth of her twins Ava and Esme last year, Michelle set about rais­ing more money for two spe­cial gad­gets called BABI carts that al­low bedrid­den moth­ers to “face­time” their sick new­borns. Michelle had been un­able to see Ava, who was taken to spe­cial care, be­cause she was re­cov­er­ing from a c-sec­tion. As soon as she was out of hos­pi­tal, she set about try­ing to rec­tify the prob­lem.

“In that sit­u­a­tion I want to turn a neg­a­tive into a pos­i­tive,” she said.

“I think that’s prob­a­bly the way I helped with my griev­ing for Har­ri­son, and I still do in a way.

“I al­ways fund-raise in his name to keep his mem­ory alive.

“That’s the only way I have car­ried on. That’s the way I stop my­self from col­laps­ing into tears, which I still do. “All us an­gel mums do.” Michelle lives in Reigate, Sur­rey, with hus­band Terry, a builder’s mer­chant, and their seven kids: Cal­lum, 16, Ella, 14, Kait­lyn, 10, Tyler, nine, Aby­gail, two, and twins Ava and Esme, nine months.

The fam­ily still cel­e­brate Har­ri­son’s birth­day.

“You get sent back to that raw grief ev­ery year,” she said. “We still cel­e­brate his birth­day. “We go down to his grave and re­lease bal­loons and we do a lit­tle gath­er­ing.”

The hos­pi­tal has ad­mit­ted that they should not have ig­nored Michelle’s re­quests to be in­duced and that she wasn’t given a glu­cose tol­er­ance test, de­spite be­ing told she had.

Michelle Cud­joe, head of mid­wifery at Sur­rey and Sus­sex Healthcare NHS Trust, said yes­ter­day: “We would like to ex­tend our grate­ful thanks to Michelle Rodd for rais­ing money to buy two BABI carts.

“The BABI carts will have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the ex­pe­ri­ence of moth­ers be­cause it will al­low mums on the ma­ter­nity high-de­pen­dency unit to see their baby whilst be­ing cared for in our spe­cial care baby unit.”

FAM­ILY: Michelle with Terry & kids TRAUMA: Mum with photo of Har­ri­son

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