Inspiring Lisburn mum Jemma Watson raises £12K to donate cold cots in memory of daughters
Lisburn mum, Jemma Watson, 34, is raising funds for the Ulster Maternity Hospital in memory of her daughters after they tragically passed away just 11 months apart.
Jemma, herself a nurse, has praised the NHS who she says were ‘‘incredible’’ throughout her care, vowing to raise enough funds to donate a cold cot, the special type of cot sometimes called a ‘cuddle cot’ needed for babies who sadly pass away, to the hospital where she gave birth.
To date, Jemma has raised a staggering £12K for the worthy cause.
Jemma’s amazing fundraising efforts, in memory of her daughters Maddie and Eve, were inspired by the team at the hospital who cared for Jemma and her family, who will always have a special place in her family’s hearts after their “kindness and compassion” during the births of her daughters Eve and Madelyn.
Jemma explained that whilst her first pregnancy with Ozzie was ‘‘pretty standard,’’ following issues with high blood pressure, Jemma was transferred to the hospital.
Despite having a ‘‘rough start’’ thankfully, little Ozzie’s health improved ‘‘quickly’’ and he did ‘‘really well.’’
In 2020 Jemma and husband Andrew, who owns Andrew Watson Hairdressing on the Lisburn Road, fell pregnant.
But at their 20 week scan it was discovered that their baby had Turner’s Syndrome, and due to complications little Eve was tragically born sleeping.
Soon after their second child, baby Eve was born sleeping, Jemma fell pregnant and was once again under the care of the hospital and Foetal Medicine team.
Jemma was seen very regularly because of her medical history of complications.
‘‘At this point everything was looking great,’’ Jemma says. ‘‘This pregnancy felt like the most straight-forward.’’
However when Jemma was 38 weeks pregnant, she sadly suffered a placental abruption and was taken to theatre where she delivered Maddie by emergency section.
‘‘They stabilised Maddie and she was taken to NICU from there. They worked with her but we had to make the decision to withdraw her treatment. Our little Maddie had suffered so much and the machines were doing the work for her. She kept deteriorating.’’
Madelyn Nita Watson passed away in Jemma’s arms, with her loving dad Andrew by her side and ‘‘the most special midwife and team.’’
Such was the level of compassion and care that Jemma and Andrew received, they gave Maddie the middle name of Nita in honour of her Neonatal Consultant.
‘‘The consultant never left us. She stayed all night with Maddie, even beyond her shift,’’ Jemma recalls.
‘‘One of the midwives who delivered Ozzie was at Eve’s delivery and one has been heavily involved in my outpatient care this time. I can’t put into words how incredible they are. They just guided us through it.’’
Jemma, herself a nurse, continues: ‘‘The vast majority of the public often underestimate the cost of equipment and resources needed for such specialist care, and if we had been placed in a less fortunate country, or one that charges for healthcare, we simply wouldn’t be able to avail of such a high standard of care.
‘‘It’s vital we begin to appreciate how fortunate we are to have an NHS and not take for granted the dedication of those powering it, in all roles.’’
This is why Jemma is fundraising for a cold, or cuddle cot, which is a special type of cot for babies who have sadly passed away, as a sign of the family’s sincere gratitude.
Jemma was also touched recently when CEO Mark Regan of Kingsbridge Private Hospital, where she works, ordered one of the cots himself.
‘‘Mark has been just incredibly kind. We are so grateful and comforted by the kindness we have been shown by everyone,’’ Jemma said.
Jemma added she would also like to bring awareness to pregnant women, explaining: ‘‘I’d like other mums to understand the importance of listening to and trusting our doctors and midwives.
‘‘Even as a nurse, I was so naïve to the complexity of pregnancy and childbirth. That is not to panic mums, as these complications are thankfully very rare and overall I have embraced my labours as a welcome privilege many are sadly denied.
‘‘But our doctors and midwives are highly skilled experts, with the mum and babies best interest as the sole rationale for any advice and treatment. There is a lot of information online, particularly on social media, nearly glamorising lack of intervention. And whilst it can be helpful in empowering mums to not fear pregnancy or birth; information online is not always the most evidence based or accurate.
‘‘Expert advice should always override this in order to reduce any risk. Placing trust in healthcare professionals is the best way to ensure a healthy pregnancy and ensure a positive birth - by knowing we are in good hands every step of the way.’’
To donate to Jemma and her family’s fundraising page in loving memory of Maddie and Eve, visit: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jemma-watson-1.