Heartbroken couple whose baby died shortly after birth helping others in her memory – Express & Star

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A Wolverhampton hospital worker whose baby daughter died shortly after birth has vowed to help other bereaved parents and raise £1,000 for charity in her memory.
Bethany Murray, 27, a clerk at New Cross Hospital, lost her daughter, Ophelia Storm Murray, after giving birth 32 weeks into her pregnancy.
Bethany and husband Zane, also 27, have decided to raise money for the Lily Mae Foundation, which supports parents and families who have experienced stillbirth or neonatal death.
Bethany’s loved ones will be running the Autumn Wild Wolf Run on Saturday – running through thick mud, trails and obstacles across open ground, woodland and lakes in The Offchurch Bury manor house, near Leamington Spa.
Losing Ophelia Storm has hit the couple, from Ashmore Park, particularly hard as they had been trying to conceive for two years after two miscarriages in 2020.
Bethany, who has worked as a patient access clerk in urology at New Cross for three years, said: “I was expecting in July 2022 and found out there was something wrong when my 20-week scan revealed she had fetal pleural effusions (fluid around her lungs).
“The fluid was being drained away but it kept coming back. A consultant arranged genetic testing and referred us to Birmingham Women’s Hospital fetal medicine department for a detailed heart scan.
“We found she had fetal pleural effusions – Noonan syndrome, a genetic condition with other characteristics which wouldn’t be certain until birth and beyond.
“Although devastated, we knew we could care for her, so we went ahead with every intervention we could to give her a chance.”
Attempts to drain the fluid from around the baby failed, and as she grew, so did the amount of fluid. Bethany also had her amniotic fluid drained as her waters around the baby were too high and it was a concern that she would go into pre-term labour.
“Twice we were asked if we wanted to terminate the pregnancy, but we wanted to proceed to give her little lungs a chance to expand and grow each week,” said Bethany, who has been married to Zane for three years.
Sadly, from 29 weeks, Ophelia Storm developed fetal hydrops, where fluid had accumulated in more than one part of the body, and skin odema – swelling under the skin – mainly around her head and neck. This diagnosis has a survival rate of 20 per cent.
“We always expected there was a high likelihood she might not survive,” added Bethany.
Bethany went into pre-term labour at 32 weeks and on Friday, May 27, Ophelia Storm was born by emergency Caesarean section at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
“The neonatal team did everything they could to save her but our baby girl died shortly after in our arms,” said Bethany.
After Bethany gave birth, the couple were able to spend some time with Ophelia in a private room and received a memory box from the Lily Mae Foundation.
Inside were sets to make hand and foot prints, a box to place a lock of her hair, matching teddy bears, a book and other items used to make memories.
In all, the couple spent four days with Ophelia Storm, coming to terms with her loss. Ophelia Storm was in a CuddleCot next to Bethany’s bed. A CuddleCot, or cold cot, is a cooled mattress which is placed in any Moses basket, crib, pram or bed and keeps the baby cool.
“We kept saying how beautiful she was, even though you could tell she was really poorly. There were a lot of tears,” recalled Bethany.
“I remember singing ‘You are my sunshine’ – a favourite in our family – to her and the words ‘please don’t take my sunshine away’ made me cry because I knew I was on borrowed time with her.
“We took every chance we could to hold her, and when the family was there, we all took it in turns to hold her and rock her.”
Their five-year-old daughter Myla Fox also received a keepsake of her baby sister – a sibling pack, containing a book that matched her experience as a sister that has lost a baby in her family, a worry doll and an emotions journal.
“Myla-Fox and I also sang ‘Round and round the garden’ on her hands and feet and I dressed her in a different outfit each day,” added Bethany. “I also read Ophelia and Myla-Fox a story called ‘Little Star Friends’ which was about a boy dreaming about the stars being his friends and helping him, and this is how Myla-Fox sees Ophelia now, looking over her.
“We were so grateful to receive these keepsakes at our darkest time and wanted to give something back to this charity and help families needing its support,” added Bethany. “We hope those memory boxes bring a little comfort to them like it did us.”
As well as the memory boxes and sibling packs, the Lily Mae Foundation offers support through counselling, podcasts, support groups and days out.
Zane, Bethany’s brother Adam Davies, 32, sister-in-law Poppy Davies, 31, and sister Nicole Down, 26, will join her friends Kyle Wilkinson, 26, Rhys Smith, 30, and Rich Lockley, 28, in the Wolf Run. Poppy is a breastfeeding peer support co-ordinator at New Cross Hospital.
“I’m proud that these beautiful humans in our life are doing this Wolf Run to raise money and to help parents and siblings to make a heartbreaking time in their lives a little more comforting,” added Bethany.
More than £500 has already been raised through Bethany’s JustGiving page and donations at Ophelia Storm’s funeral. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at justgiving.com/fundraising/OpheliaStormMurray
For anyone affected by this story, baby bereavement charity SANDS offers support at sands.org.uk
By Eleanor Lawson

Community Reporter at the Express & Star.


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