Ipswich: Couple fought back from baby tragedy to help new mums

The birthing pool now on Brook Ward at Ipswich Hospital.

The birthing pool now on Brook Ward at Ipswich Hospital. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A NEW birthing pool at Ipswich Hospital is helping to bring more water babies into the world.

Roger and June Cox cut the ribbon with help from daughter Abbey, 3 and director of nursing, Lynne Wi

Roger and June Cox cut the ribbon with help from daughter Abbey, 3 and director of nursing, Lynne Wigens. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

The purpose-built pool on the Brook maternity ward was officially unveiled by a couple who helped fund the project after a personal tragedy.

June and Roger Cox, of Bramfield, raised £1,800 towards the birthing bath fund after losing their first daughter, Emma, just hours after her birth in November 2008.

June, 40, said: “I had her in water – in one of the very large baths on Brook – and it was a fantastic experience, the birth itself was wonderful, it just all went horribly wrong when they cut the cord.

“At the time, we had to stay in hospital for a night and there was something up on the wall for the birthing bath fund and Roger just said, ‘We’ve got to do something positive out of this, let’s raise some money for this’.”

The couple asked for donations instead of flowers after Emma’s death and were overwhelmed with the response from friends and family.

Roger, 44, said: “We put a notice in the paper saying we were going to have a private family funeral and any donations were to be made to Ipswich Birthing Bath Fund and lots of people donated lots of money to it.”

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June used to work for Lloyds TSB in Halesworth and Roger works for Ridgeons and both companies set up collection points.

June’s brother-in-law also asked for donations instead of presents for his 60th birthday.

June said: “You don’t realise so many people care until something awful happens but it was nice to know that people were there for us, that’s what got us through.”

The couple cut the ribbon with help from three-year-old daughter Abbey, who was born on Deben Ward but spent her first night in Brook.

June explained: “We had her up on Deben Ward because they had to keep a closer eye on me.

“Then they said the aftercare could be down on Brook and we came back here and spent another night on Brook Ward, in the same room that we’d had when we lost Emma, so in a way it went full circle.”

Fundraising for the purpose-built pool started in 2007 and the first baby was actually born in the pool on February 12, with 12 more born since then.

Ward matron and supervisor of midwives, Mary Shilton, said the new pool would make a big difference to women opting for a water birth.

She said: “We know that being in water in labour is very soothing and relaxing and it can help relieve pain.

“Being able to immerse yourself in a deep bath, rather than just an ordinary household bath, is better because you can get the bump under the water.”