A new maternity bereavement suite has opened in York Hospital after seven years of fundraising.

The Butterfly Suite opened today (March 22) to offer families who have either just experienced a late pregnancy loss, a stillbirth, or the death of a baby soon after birth, their own space in the hospital to say their goodbyes.

The York Sands group, a stillbirth and neonatal death charity, the York and Scarborough Hospitals charity, as well as bereaved families have all done their share of fundraising.

York Press: The new Butterfly SuiteThe new Butterfly Suite (Image: Newsquest)

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Unlike the previous facilities, the new suite provides families with a private and spacious place to take in their grief and to meet and spend more time with their baby.

It has been designed with attention detail: the colour scheme is in different shades of purple to ensure families would not likely come across reminders of that room in their everyday lives, a small private garden, and a door which allows families to exit without passing the labour ward.

York Press: : Bev Shelly, Bereavement Midwife and Kim Reilly from York Sands: Bev Shelly, Bereavement Midwife and Kim Reilly from York Sands (Image: Newsquest)

Bev Shelly, a bereavement midwife at the hospital said: "We were grateful to have the old room but we knew we could do better.

"We wanted a nice environment for families feel supported and secure, and to create the feeling of a normal living space where they can express how they feel in private.

“It is designed for families to stay longer and to create more memories with their baby, they can spend as long as they need in here, we don’t rush anybody out.

"This room is two thirds bigger and has more seating than the old one to encourage families to bring more of their family in to see their baby and to share their grief.

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“The outdoor space not only provides more space to the room, but also provides somewhere tranquil for families to breathe.

“We involved the families in the design as they have the insight into what others would need. They chose unique colours that they wouldn’t be likely to have at home, so they would only associate this with a certain period of time, and don’t have reminders when they’re out and about.

“It’s a tragic event, but we want to lessen that pain in a small way, and to allow families to have the chance to meet their baby the right way.”

Kim Reilly, from York Sands, said: “The bereaved parents were our driving force with fundraising for this room, and we couldn’t have done this without their involvement.

“It provides them with an enclosed space where nobody can see or hear them, and they don’t have to stay or go back to the labour ward."