When Ivy-Rose was born, Fiona and Chris knew they would only have a short time to spend with their precious girl. They stayed with Ivy at Bluebell Wood for three magical weeks before she passed away; making wonderful memories and even creating Christmas in the middle of May. Mum, Fiona, shares her story:
“At my 20-week scan, the doctors noticed that Ivy’s heart didn’t look right, and said we needed to go for a scan at Leeds General Infirmary. I knew straight away that we weren’t going for tea and biscuits.”
Fiona and Chris found out that one of the valves in Ivy’s heart was narrow, and that she might have cystic fibrosis. Fiona said, “When they told us there was something wrong with her heart, my whole world just crushed. We couldn’t believe it.”
Despite months of testing and scans the hospital still didn’t understand quite what was wrong, but Fiona and Chris knew they wanted to carry on and hold Ivy in their arms.
Ivy was born on 19th March in Leeds, and Fiona and Chris spent the next six weeks in hospital with their baby girl, before doctors told them the devastating news that the thickening in Ivy’s heart had got worse and there was nothing more they could do.
“The hospital put us in touch with Bluebell Wood, and we decided to come and stay with Ivy. Within the first five minutes of arriving, we felt at home. I walked Ivy down to her room – which I’d never been able to do before – and we unpacked all her clothes, and bathed her for the first time.
“Bluebell Wood helped us learn to be a mum and dad to Ivy. We were able to go outside and push her in her pushchair – the sun was on her face, and the wind blew her hair about. It was such a special moment and we did it together.”
One of the things Fiona always wanted to do was have Christmas with Ivy and her family, so on a sunny afternoon in the middle of May we helped her turn Bluebell Wood into a special winter wonderland.
“I knew we’d never really have Christmas with Ivy, but the Care Team helped us create our very own Christmas Day. We decorated the tree together, pulled crackers over a roast dinner, and played festive music. We even got a special card from Ivy which we’ll treasure forever. It was such an exciting and emotional day, and it was great to see Louisa, Lucy and Heather having fun with their baby sister.”
After creating some magical memories together the family went home for three days, but on Sunday 28th May Ivy took a turn for the worse and Fiona decided to call Bluebell Wood.
“Diane came out and saw us and said Ivy didn’t have much time left. We wanted her to be christened so the Care Team arranged for someone to christen her at the hospice, with all our family around her.
“At 11:18pm Ivy did her very first and last smile, and four minutes later she passed away in my arms. It felt right knowing that I’d brought her into the world and that she’d left the world in my arms.”
Fiona and Chris spent the next two weeks in our Forget-Me-Not suite, where they could be away from the world but could still see the Care Team whenever they needed. Fiona said, “It was lovely being in Forget-Me-Not. Pam helped us decorate Ivy’s bed with hedgehogs and butterflies, and create special pink memory boxes for all the family, filled with moulds of her handprints and locks of her beautiful hair.
“In the short time we had at Bluebell Wood, we got to be mummy and daddy to Ivy. The moments we had there aren’t just in our memories; they’re in our hearts. If we couldn’t have come here, I don’t know what we’d have done.”
In 2016-2017 we were there for 27 families during the toughest of times by providing 196 nights of end of life care. It’s thanks to you that we’re able to be there when families need us.