New mums have expressed their gratitude to Bedford Hospital’s maternity stuff by presenting them with a commemorative book of pandemic babies.
The mums are all part of a Facebook group first launched in March 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown – who got together to create the special book of babies born at the hospital’s Cygnet Wing as a thank you to all the midwives, doctors and other NHS workers.
The group was set up by Lottie Bagnall, who gave birth to daughter Heidi at the hospital in July 2020.
Lottie explained: “I wanted to do something to connect new mums and pregnant women at a time where face-to-face support was impossible. All of our antenatal classes had been moved online: other activities like pregnancy yoga and aquanatal classes were cancelled, and I had been
really looking forward to making friends.
" I had hoped that maybe 20 people might join the group and four or five might be interested in meeting up outside of lockdown.”
But the group exploded with interest and now has more than 2,000 members as well as hosting regular meet-ups for new mums and pregnant women between lockdowns.
The idea for the book came from Emily Davy, an Obstetrics and Gynaecology Doctor at Bedford Hospital who also joined the group whilst pregnant in 2020.
Lottie felt that the book was an excellent way to thank the staff at the hospital and helped Emily to publicise the book in the group.
Lottie said: “I had a wonderful experience at Bedford Hospital: the staff were absolutely brilliant and made me feel very comfortable throughout the whole time I was there. Supporting birthing people must be a difficult job at the best of times: it must be even harder during a global pandemic! I loved the idea of Emily’s book, and the fact that so many women wanted to include their babies and birth stories in the book is testament to the hard work of the Cygnet Wing staff.”
The special book was presented to staff on June 16 by Amy Nightingale, one of the first members to join the support group.
Amy, who gave birth to her son Nolan in 2020 at Bedford Hospital said: “I felt so lucky to be able to revisit one of the most important days of my life with the people who made it special despite the restrictions. What will really stay with me is just how much the book means to them all and the memories it contains.”
Tara Pauley, Head of Midwifery at Bedford Hospital, said: “Our staff were extremely moved by the time taken from all of these families that gave birth in 2020 to compile their photos, stories and thanks, this is such a powerful collection of positivity during what has been a challenging time for so many. We plan to have the book on a display unit where we can change the pages, as a reminder of that gratitude and appreciated difference our teams have made”.