ANTONIA Fitzpatrick was more than eight months pregnant when doctors told her that her daughter’s heart had stopped beating.
Amaya Kimberley Stevens was stillborn that night.
Ms Fitzpatrick said the day was a blur, and she hadn’t had time to consider what would happen to her daughter’s body after the birth.
However, thanks to a special cot at the North West Regional Hospital, the Burnie mother had four days with Amaya before she said goodbye.
Yesterday, Ms Fitzpatrick presented a similar $3500 ‘‘cuddle cot’’ to the Launceston General Hospital, after raising funds with the West Coast community and a Burnie-based organisation called The Fairy Godmothers.
The cot reduces the core body temperature of an infant after its death, giving a family more time with their baby.
It meant Ms Fitzpatrick and her partner had the opportunity to bathe Amaya for the first and last time, get sculptures of her hands and feet, have professional photos taken, and introduce her to their extended family.
‘‘We had the opportunity to take her home as well, but we didn’t, because I wouldn’t want to hand her back if we took her home,’’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
‘‘I stayed there [at the hospital] an extra night after she’d gone – I didn’t want to go home without a baby.’’
Ms Fitzpatrick said her time with Amaya had helped her heal and given her closure.
‘‘One of my friends, her baby had to go the next morning, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like having to say goodbye straight away,’’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
The Fairy Godmothers’ president Jess Tabart said the organisation had been raising funds for the cots since one of their committee members lost her daughter.
‘‘She only got to spend 12 hours with her, and the grieving process isn’t easy anyway, but it was worse that she didn’t get to spend much time with her,’’ Ms Tabart said.
The organisation has now bought cots for North West Private Hospital and the Mersey Community Hospital as well as the LGH, and is raising funds for one at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
‘‘It’s amazing how it has helped the grieving process for the people who have got to use them,’’ Ms Tabart said.
The Fairy Godmothers raises funds to support families who have children with disabilities, special needs and medical conditions. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/thefairygodmothersnonprofitorg.