Highlands & Islands

'Cuddle cot' funds in memory of Alness couple's girl

David Aird and Emma McAllister Image copyright NHS Highland
Image caption David Aird and Emma McAllister raised funds in a crowdfunding appeal

Donations given in memory of a baby girl who died soon after she was born have paid for a new "cuddle cot" for Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

Emma McAllister and David Aird, from Alness, whose daughter Lily-Alexis died in December last year, raised the money through a crowdfunding appeal.

Cuddle cots are medical equipment designed for use by parents of babies stillborn, or die shortly after birth.

It keeps a body cool allowing parents to spend longer with their baby.

Lily-Alexis's parents were forewarned of complications with her birth.

Ms McAllister said: "We were told at 24 weeks that she had a diaphragmatic hernia so we knew she would be very poorly when she was born.

"But at 30 weeks we were given the news that she also had Edwards Syndrome and it was very unlikely that she would survive the birth."

She added: "We had hoped we would get to spend a couple of minutes with her, but she was so strong and brave that we got to spend 29 hours with her at the hospital until she sadly passed away."

Image copyright David Aird and Emma McAllister
Image caption Donations were given in memory of Lily-Alexis

Raigmore's only cuddle box was not available to the couple at the time.

Ms McAllister said: "We managed. We used ice packs which we kept having to change which did add to the stress of what we were going through, but we also got to spend a week at home with our daughter.

"We got more time with her, we got more photos and we got those extra memories which are just everything."

The more than £1,500 in donations raised by Ms McAllister, who is pregnant again this time with a baby boy, and her partner will buy a second unit and a Moses basket for the hospital.

Caron Cruickshank, nurse manger at Raigmore, said: "We've have the resources for looking after women here, we have training for staff but we didn't have anything for when the parents go home and this extra cot will make a huge difference to that."