As part of Sands 40th anniversary this year, we will share 40 stories by 40 parents, family members and friends affected by the death of a baby. Starting during Sands Awareness Month and our #FindingTheWords campaign, we aim to show the sheer number of people who are affected by the tragedy of a baby’s death, help other bereaved parents to understand they are not alone and raise awareness of the issues surrounding stillbirth and neonatal death. Visit our 40 stories for #Sands40 to view other blogs in the series.
I fell pregnant in December 2013. We already had an 11-month-old little boy, so life was going to get pretty interesting in 2014.
I had a fairly easy pregnancy. I’d had an emergency C-section with Alexander as we discovered he was breach after I was in labour but Imogen was much smaller and the right way around.
I had my final consultant appointment a few days after my due date. We had been in hospital overnight as Alexander had been having seizures and was subsequently diagnosed with epilepsy.
My granny had also just died suddenly and my dad had broken his neck after a bad fall so it had been quite an intense and emotional week. “She’s a bit smaller than she should be but that’s OK,” the consultant said.
The following evening we were in bed and Imogen was moving constantly. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” I said to my husband. “She literally won’t stop moving.”
The next day was Saturday and such a busy day that it was only 9pm that evening that I realised I hadn’t felt Imogen move all day. Panic-stricken I rubbed my Doppler over my belly but could hear nothing.
My mum drove over to watch Alexander and we sped off to the hospital. Dan wasn’t hugely worried at that point but I knew. I knew my baby had gone. Twenty minutes later the consultant moved the scanner over my stomach and we saw a dark, unmoving shape.
“What do you think is going on?” she asked and for a second I thought there was hope - why would she ask me that if there wasn’t? I shook my head. “Turn the light on,” she instructed her assistant. To this day I can’t hear those words without crying.
We stayed in the bereavement suite and somehow I managed to fall asleep. The following morning I was induced. I have never felt pain like it despite being on morphine.
I developed a massive urine infection and eventually had to be catheterised and two days later I still hadn’t managed to give birth to her. I begged for a C-Section and she was taken away afterwards as I couldn’t bear them to give me a baby to hold that wasn’t alive.
Later on they brought her to us wrapped in a blanket and in a Moses basket. She was perfect. The hospital staff were amazing and took photos and gave us prints of her hands and feet and we stayed another two nights in the suite before going home.
Just over a year later I gave birth to our beautiful, amazing rainbow baby Celestine. We found out that we were having a girl at 17 weeks and she felt like a gift from Imogen and she looks like her too.
Every year we take Imogen flowers on her birthday. She would have been starting school this year and I often wonder what she would have been like; what she would have enjoyed doing.
The grief will never go away but it does get easier with time. I will always be a mummy to three children.
In loving memory of Imogen Elizabeth Murfitt, born sleeping on 1st September 2014.
Picture: Baby Imogen's hand and footprint.
15 babies die before, during or shortly after birth every day in the UK. We want to reduce this number, but we need your help. Support Sands now to help ensure a bereaved parent doesn't have to cope alone. Thank you.