Supporting families through difficult times

12 May 2022, 7 a.m.

Last year, Hannah, one of our intensive care nurses, supported a family through an incredibly difficult time in their lives, when their daughter Margot sadly passed away 24 hours after she was born. 

Today, in honour of International Nurses Day, Margot’s parents, Charlotte and Alan, share the impact Hannah and her colleagues at GOSH had on their family:

Our amazing first child together; Margot Alicia Bennett was born after a super speedy first labour and delivered at Homerton Hospital. For reasons we don’t yet understand she was born struggling for her life and died just 24 hours later at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

In truth, GOSH couldn’t do anything medically for Margot by the time she reached the hospital; she was too poorly for any intervention that would work, but GOSH enabled us to say goodbye to Margot in the right way.

Those 24 hours with Margot were the most surreal, painful, and beautiful hours of our lives and have changed us forever. Margot was a longed-for child and we are very proud to be her parents. Being parents without a child is a complex and painful thing to navigate, but we will always be grateful to her for her existence and thank her for making us parents together for the first time.

Alan and I rode in the ambulance with Margot at top speed in the early hours of a Saturday morning. The CATS team placed Margot in a blue incubator for the journey, which had something like ‘Baby Go’ written on the front of it. The CATS team lifted her at an angle while they connected her to the machines and she looked like a tiny astronaut, in a mini rocket, about to take off into space.

This mini rocket has become our symbol for Margot. We played Rocket Man at the funeral and our six-year-old niece drew this rocket picture to remember Margot. We displayed it on her funeral cards and shared it with our friends far and wide, with a message on how much Margot had taught us all about how lucky we are to be alive.

A child's drawing of a rocket, in memory of Margot.

Charlotte and Alan's six-year-old niece drew this rocket picture to remember Margot.

The doctors at GOSH were really clear with us about Margot’s health and what it meant. They were direct and kind. They acted quickly to support us being with her as she died, and they enabled us to spend time with her immediately after, as well as providing us with accommodation to stay in. The accommodation really was a lifesaver, because our flat was filled with a new cot, baby clothes, and toys. The thought of going back there was too much to bear.

After Margot died, Hannah, one of the intensive care nurses, came in and explained how she would put a baby grow on Margot. She talked to Margot as if she was alive, and initially, I found this painful. I remember saying to my sister ‘why are they pretending?’, but then I realised how important it was to treat Margot with the kindness Hannah was showing, and to make sure she was dressed and cared for.

Margot's nurse, Hannah, on Flamingo ward in her uniform.

Margot's nurse, Hannah, supported Alan and Charlotte after Margot passed away.

Charlotte and Alan went on to set up a Brighter Future Fund with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSH Charity) in Margot’s name. 

The main reason we set up the fundraiser for GOSH Charity was because of Margot’s nurse, Hannah, and how she treated our family. She helped us take lockets of Margot’s hair, prints of her hands and feet, and photographs. Hannah recognised our pain but encouraged us to make the memories we now treasure – gently and with the kindness we needed at that moment.

In and amongst all the pain we were experiencing, we were so aware of how lucky we were to have GOSH try and help us, and we recognise how amazing it is that this hospital exists.

The first thing we remember seeing was the corridor with the under the sea theme. We remember thinking what an amazing, colourful, and fun place it is when it is treating children who are so unwell. Since our time at GOSH, we have joked that we felt like we were in Harry Potter, seeing this magical underworld for the first time, when all this time, it had been right on our doorstep.

When Margot died, I was holding her in my arms and I remember seeing another baby’s tiny toes poking through a curtain next door. Their toes were wriggling. I remember having a moment of overwhelming sadness that my baby’s toes would never wriggle again, but then followed quickly by such a strong hope that this baby’s toes would keep on moving even though mine wouldn’t.

GOSH helps children’s toes wriggle and every child deserves that. So, if Margot’s existence can help other children live longer, then that is important, and a beautiful legacy.

In just one year, Charlotte has raised nearly £20,000 for GOSH Charity and is hoping to reach £25,000. This incredible support will go on to fund life-saving research, specialist medical equipment, and much more. Learn more about how GOSH Charity supports our hospital.

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