Carmarthenshire mum's call for urgent baby care unit as Glangwili hospital's future hangs in the balance
A MOTHER who tragically lost two daughters after premature births has thrown her support behind plans for a dedicated high-dependency baby care unit to serve West Wales.
Melissa Shore, 28, of Ffynnonwaun, Johnstown, said there is a desperate need for such a unit at Carmarthen's Glangwili hospital.
She has an 18-month-old son Cian and is expecting another baby.
However, she has lost two babies and said the stress of seeing sick babies being moved to hospitals in Swansea and Cardiff for specialist care was something she and other mothers should not have to face.
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Melissa's daughter Tia Louise died after just 40 minutes in August 2007, and Cadey died after 27 days in May 2009 after being transferred to Cardiff's University of Wales Hospital.
Melissa said: "Carmarthen needs this baby unit desperately, it will save mothers and their babies facing the possibility of being moved to any hospital for emergency specialist care. Things need to change.
"Having a unit in Carmarthen will be a huge benefit to women in the town and the whole of West Wales so that other mothers don't have to go through what I did."
Hywel Dda Health Board's plans for a high-dependency baby unit at the hospital were unveiled last month. Mothers and babies involved in risky and complex births will no longer have to travel to Swansea if plans for an advanced neonatal unit in Carmarthen go ahead.
The level two unit in Glangwili Hospital would be the first of its kind in West Wales, and is part of a significant shake-up for the Hywel Dda Health Board.
Melissa added: "When Cadey died I was called to go up to Cardiff when she deteriorated, she was an hour up the road from me, that was the worse part being away from her when the hospital was trying to care for her."
"Tia was taken straight to Swansea when she was born."
Melissa said she felt enormous strain at having to travel across South Wales during such an upsetting time.
"That is the main reason for a unit in Carmarthen, to ease the stress and upset following a premature birth.
"If care can be given within the hospital where babies are born that will help so much to ease the stress at a very difficult time for a family."
Over the past five years Melissa and her mother Edwina have been fundraising for the existing special care baby unit along with creating memory boxes for parents of babies who have passed away.
Melissa's mother Edwina Shore has been crocheting and knitting tiny hats and blankets for the babies that do not survive.
The memory boxes are something for parents to fill with items and hold onto to remember their babies.