“The care we received in our hours/days of need was the most compassionate anyone could hope for - truly exceptional.”

03 May 2021
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Each week, alongside the Monday night premiere of Channel 4 docuseries Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles, we are featuring an incredible St George’s Hospital Charity supporter who has gone through similar experiences.

Today, we share with you the story of Ottilie Barrett, daughter of Giles and Phoebe, whose memory lives on through the incredible fundraising they have done to support other patients and their families at St George’s Hospital.

In Giles’ words:

“Ottilie arrived on the 17th April 2018, the hottest day of an otherwise cold year. She was 37 weeks old and weighed a delicate 5 lbs 2 oz. Otty was just beautiful and although clearly ‘our’ daughter she was (thankfully) more like Phoebe in her looks!

Ottilie was born at 20:03, it was a natural birth and, sad as it was, Phoebe and I experienced her journey into the world together exactly as it would have been had she been alive. With the help of the excellent team at St George’s Hospital (Hollie and Jade in particular) we dressed her in the clothes we’d hoped to take her home in, gave her her teddy, cuddled her and told her everything we wanted to. Her grandparents met her and then, after some time, we said a painful goodbye - a kiss on her cold cheek and a hold of her tiny hand.

Two days prior to Ottilie’s birth, Phoebe and I had gone to St George’s for a check-up - we were concerned by lack of movements, but not overly so. After an initial hook up to the heart monitor, we were led to another room for a scan. I know that moment will forever haunt us. The words, “I am so sorry, it’s bad news” will remain with us always.

To have all of our hopes shattered in an instant was heart-breaking. We are so sad that we never saw Ottilie with her eyes open, never heard her cry and so, so much more. We know already that she has given us so much - a closer, tighter relationship than I ever thought possible, a new depth of relationship with family and friends and a renewed sense that life should be lived to the full.

After the event, we learned that our experience is shockingly common, 1 in 200 parents in fact.”

Giles and Phoebe said “The care we received [at St George’s] in our hours/days of need was the most compassionate anyone could hope for - truly exceptional.” Which is why back in 2018 Giles and Phoebe set out to do “something we believe will help parents in their darkest hours as they grapple to come to terms with the life-changing news” and they began to raise funds for St George’s Hospital Charity.

3 years later, Giles and Phoebe have raised an incredible amount and alongside some other amazing fundraisers over £56K has been raised for our Maternity Bereavement Fund.

This money is going towards a project to refurbish the ‘Forget Me Not Suite’ a separate private suite within St George’s Hospital Maternity Unit where stillborn babies are delivered, their family can visit, where couples can grieve, sleep, cook, bathe etc.

Giles said: “Our hope is that Ottilie’s legacy can be, in part, to offer comfort, calm and solace to others in their darkest hours. That would certainly give us reason to be proud of her and something to, one day, tell her siblings about.”

And 3 years later, Giles is still fundraising…this year he is taking part in the London Marathon to continue to raise funds for St George’s Hospital Charity.

If you were inspired by his story or the stories from Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles then you can donate to support him by visiting his fundraising page here

Thank you

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