I raise money for hospital that let my poor baby die
Stillbirth mum battles grief by helping others
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.
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