Beacon of hope

Neil and Kim Duffy, of Staining. The couple's fifth child Oscar was still-born, at 36.5 weeks on Remembrance Sunday

Neil and Kim Duffy, of Staining. The couple's fifth child Oscar was still-born, at 36.5 weeks on Remembrance Sunday

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NEIL and Kim Duffy, from Staining, went through one of the worst things a parent can experience just over a week ago.

Their fifth child, little Oscar Neil Duffy, was still-born just after midnight on Remembrance Sunday.

The heart-broken couple – both aged 39 – wanted to tell their story, in memory of their tiny son, who was born just a few weeks earlier than his due date, to help other families and to thank the hospital staff they say were second-to-none.

Neil, a former soldier, says the midwives at Blackpool Victoria Hospital who treated his wife could not have done more for the family and he wanted to show his gratitude, while raising awareness of the warmth and care they provided through the couple’s devastation.

He told The Gazette: “Kim was 36.5 weeks pregnant and everything was going fine, it was our fifth and it was the perfect pregnancy.

“She went for a routine check-up with the midwife on the Friday, but they couldn’t find a heartbeat. They took us up to the Vic really quickly and straight in for a scan in the delivery suite.

“We were devastated to be told the baby’s heart wasn’t beating.

“We were put into a special room, called the Oasis suite, which is just for still-births, so we had privacy.

“The two midwives who cared for Kim were just amazing.

“They behaved so professionally, but they were so caring and also had that personal touch.

“Kim was given as much help, as much pain relief, whatever she needed.

“It could have been a traumatic experience, but they made sure when our little boy was delivered, it was calm and peaceful.

“They gave me the courage to bath him and gave him to Kim to hold.

“They got the chaplain in at 3am and we were able to christen Oscar.

“They encourage parents to start a memory box and gave us everything we needed - we were able to take his handprints and footprints.

“And the help hasn’t stopped there, they have helped us since, with organising the funeral and so on.

“We were lucky enough to have never had any experience of still-birth before.

“It’s the most devastating thing.

“To us, it is still surreal. We never imagined this would happen to us.

“We just want people to know there are people in the NHS doing such good work.

“There are caring people, who go the extra mile, who do everything they can to help and more.

“Who at the most difficult time made things just that little bit easier for us.

“We also are grateful to the funeral directors D Hollowell and Sons for their help and support and the Rev Graeme Harrison, from the hospital chaplain team, who has been there from the beginning and will be conducting the service at the funeral.

“We are telling our story in memory of Oscar Neil Duffy.”

Oscar’s funeral will take place on Thursday.