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Mum hails hospital's 'beacon of hope' after baby loss tragedy

A mum-to-be returned to a hospital to show her appreciation to the “beacon of hope” who supported her and her husband through the tragedy of baby loss.

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Izabela and Emily

Izabela Szlapa, 34, had an ectopic pregnancy in April 2023 and found the help given by early pregnancy bereavement nurse Emily Cooper at Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital invaluable.

She described Emily as her only “beacon of hope”, giving advice when she was in her darkest moments, and nominated her for a Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust exceeding expectation award for going above and beyond in her role.

Group chief executive, David Loughton, surprised Emily with the award.

David Loughton and Emma Cooper

Izabela was thrilled to discover she was pregnant following a holiday to Egypt – her and her husband's, David Szlapa, favourite holiday destination – and the couple are still being supported by Emily.

Now 15 weeks pregnant, Izabela, a salon owner from Willenhall, said: “After so many tests and praying for a miracle, my world came crashing down after my ectopic pregnancy.

“I had to have emergency surgery to remove my baby and it broke me. I just thought: 'Why me?' I have been longing for this for ages. I couldn’t find any way of having hope for the future, until I met Emily.

“Emily has supported my family and I through the hardest time. Her warmth and courage meant that I was able to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“We go to Egypt as it is our favourite holiday destination and a way to escape from our troubles. I believe our miracle happened and I believe my baby is simply a gift from Egypt.

“I am still so worried, but with support from Emily and her team I feel relaxed and reassured.”

Emily, who was the first early pregnancy bereavement nurse in the NHS, has helped develop this role and is training another eight colleagues across the UK.

She said: “It is important to acknowledge that this is a hard journey, and it shouldn’t just end when you go home from hospital.

“I am here to support our families at any time, whether it be days, weeks, or months after.”

Izabela is hoping to provide reassurance to any families that have had a bereavement during early pregnancy.

She said: “Please don’t lose hope. I thought it would never happen after five years of negative tests; however, I kept positive, and it did.

“Do not suffer in silence. Reach out to your hospital or GP for support.”

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.

In the UK, around one in every 90 pregnancies is ectopic.

Visit the NHS website for support at