Wakefield mum's thanks to hospital that allowed grandma to meet granddaughter before she died

The mother of a baby girl who was able to spend some precious moments with her critically ill grandma before she died thanks to the efforts of hospital staff is raising money for the department.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 4:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 4:38 pm

In July last year Donna McEnery was in labour with her daughter Esme when she got the news that her mum, Marie Fenn, who had a long term respiratory illness, had deteriorated and did not have long left to live.

When Esme was born it was not possible for her to visit her grandma on the Brearley 4 respiratory ward at the Northern General Hospital because of the infection risks to babies with immature immune systems, so the staff arranged for Marie, who was dependent on oxygen therapy, to be taken outside so she could see her new born granddaughter.

“After Esme was born I was despairing at the fact I couldn’t take her onto the ward because I so badly wanted mum to be able to meet her,” says Donna, 40, of Wakefield.

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Marie Fenn with baby Esme.

“But the doctors and nurses bent over backwards to find a way they could make it happen.

"With the help of a support worker mum was brought outside where my husband and I met her with Esme. It was so emotional because we thought it may well be a first and last meeting.

"This came at a time when we had to have some very difficult conversations about ending mum’s care because she was in respiratory failure.”

But Marie, who Donna described as ‘resilient and a real trooper’, held on for long enough to see Esme again while she was receiving palliative care, and her granddaughter was by her side at the moment she passed away.

“Again the staff did so much to make sure mum was comfortable and we could be with her when she died.

"Mum was able to have Esme lay on the bed with her and hold her hand. When she died she told me not to be sad, that she had held on to make sure Esme was okay.

"It was the most painful conversation to have. I knew mum was terminally ill but I wasn’t quite ready to let her go as I had expected her to be involved in my maternity leave and to show me how to be a great mum.”

A year on from Marie’s death, Donna is doing a sponsored 10k walk in the Peak District with Esme in her pram to raise money for Brearley 4. She has raised £1,000 by taking part in the Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s Walk for Wards event, and a £1,000 with a collection at Marie’s funeral.

Donna’s fundraising 10k with Esme takes place on August 21st. If you would like to sponsor Donna, visit her justgiving page here