When Beau Matilda was born at just 23 weeks, she was so tiny she could fit into the palm of her dad’s hand. Jody and Ben’s ‘little miracle’ battled for survival for two weeks, before drawing her last breath in their arms. Jody explains how Bluebell Wood guided them through the darkness, and how Beau’s memory will always live on.

“Everything was fine up until our 20 week scan, where they realised my cervix was actually open and I was in active labour without even knowing,” said Jody.

The following three weeks saw repeated, nerve wracking visits to the hospital until they were given the news they’d feared the most. Doctors told them their baby girl, Jody’s first and their first as a couple, would be stillborn. 

After another false start, Jody went into labour the very day they’d signed for their new family home.

“She was born at 3.33am and weighed just 1lb 4oz. She was born alive, which none of us had expected or even prepared for. She really was our little miracle.

“We had a conversation with the consultants about what it all would mean, around potential complications and disabilities, but were determined to do everything we could for her until it got to the point of being cruel.

“The doctors did so much for her. The amount of medical procedures she had in those two weeks was crazy, but it got to the point where they were struggling to keep her underdeveloped lungs inflated.”

Jody and Ben rushed back to the hospital several times when doctors thought the end was near, but Beau Matilda, which means beautiful and brave, fought on.

After two weeks, doctors told Jody and Ben there was nothing more they could do.

“We were able to stay with Beau that night as they took her off life support. We both held her as she passed away. It was the first time we’d been able to hold her.”

The next few weeks were the darkest they’d ever faced, but they found a glimmer of light at Bluebell Wood.

“We called the hospice and Angie, one of the counsellors, called me and said: ‘what are you doing right now?’”.

“I was actually sat in my pyjamas sobbing and I got straight into the car without even getting dressed and went to the hospice.

“Angie was brilliant, just amazing. Since then Ben and I have visited Bluebell Wood together and separately for support, as well as taking part in the hospice’s Bereavement Group.

“Bluebell Wood helped us to make sense of everything.

We had all kinds of emotions going on and, without sounding too cliched, the hospice saved us."

“I honestly don’t know how we would have coped without that support, and I don’t say that lightly. We genuinely owe our sanity to Bluebell Wood.”

Although Ben and Jody came to the hospice in the worst possible circumstances, it’s become a happy place for them and their wider family who often join them for visits.

“We love sharing Beau’s story because at Bluebell Wood we’re Beau’s mum and dad. We’re not celebrated as that anywhere else.

“Many think of hospices as incredibly sad places, but it’s not that for us. Visiting is a massive highlight.

“We hold it together every single day, so Bluebell Wood is that place where you can go and laugh and cry all in the same moment. They get it, and other families there get it. It’s one of those very strange and very beautiful places.

“We’ve done things that we never thought we’d have to do. We registered Beau’s birth and death at the same appointment. We don’t have the same photos that other people have, the same memories.

“But we do have a daughter. Bluebell Wood have helped us put that together in our minds.”

Jody and Ben supported our Light up the Lake appeal, by sharing Beau's story and dedicating a candle in her name.


Support families like Beau's by making a donation in tribute to a loved one