An evolving art piece which acknowledges those families who fitted a lifetime of love into a few precious moments with their babies, was unveiled today at a simple but moving ceremony at Waikato Hospital.
The unveiling of Memorial Heart was held on International Neonatal Loss Remembrance Day, commemorating babies who are lost before, during or shortly after birth.
The memorial board uses locally sourced recycled timber with a heart-shaped centre filled with Waikato pebbles.
It symbolises the enduring love and place in their family’s heart that a lost baby has. Memorial cards created by bereaved families will be attached to the board, which will be located in the unit at Level B2 in the Elizabeth Rothwell Building.
Representatives from Women’s Health, midwives, Sands New Zealand, funeral directors, birth photographers, cast makers and others who provide services to bereaving families gathered for a ceremony led by hospital chaplains Bruce Sligo and Sonny Poutapu, and facilitated by Te Puna Oranga, Waikato DHB’s Maori Health service.
Group manager Di Peers acknowledged the contribution of many to producing the board and arranging the service, in particular Rachael Kingsbury, charge midwife manager of Women’s Assessment Unit, and Tracey Williams who has taken up a new position as perinatal midwife specialist. Tracey is the main point of contact for families of lost babies and leads the perinatal bereavement service at Waikato DHB.
Speaking at the event, clinical midwife director Corli Roodt said: “When we walk past the board we will all remember the families who have to fit a lifetime of love into those few minutes they have with their baby.”
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