As part of Sands 40th anniversary, we have collected 40 stories by 40 parents, family members and friends affected by the death of a baby, helping them cope and feel less isolated in their grief. These stories are powerful in helping us end the taboo of talking about baby loss and raise awareness of stillbirth and neonatal deaths. Discover 40 stories for #Sands40
It was 1st October, 2017 and I woke up to what felt like labour, the pain was bearable and was coming and going like contractions should.
I was only 35 weeks and five days but I knew I was having baby early anyway, as I had been kept in hospital the weekend before due to our baby’s growth stopping and me developing pre-eclampsia.
I was actually told I was having a section that weekend but baby seemed happy enough so they sent me home after having had steroid injections, and giving me medication for my blood pressure and told me I would be having baby in the next few weeks.
I phoned my mum and told her I thought I was in labour and I could hear panic in her voice. I told her to calm down and everything would be fine.
I got in the bath before leaving for hospital and a sharp pain in my stomach almost left me breathless as the pain wouldn’t go away.
I phoned the hospital and they told me to come in. When I got there they took my blood pressure and put a Doppler on my tummy but couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was told sometimes babies just get themselves into funny positions and you can’t find their heartbeat easily.
I was sent upstairs where two doctors took me by each arm and rushed me into a room, they lay me down and tried to find baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound.
I lay there and nobody said anything for what felt like an eternity, so I shouted: “My baby’s dead isn’t it?” One of the doctors then knelt down beside me and took my hand and said how sorry she was.
I screamed and noises came out of my body I didn’t think I was capable of making. I looked over at my partner Blair and just kept saying I’m sorry over and over again.
I felt it was my job to keep our baby safe and I couldn’t. My world had just been torn apart.
At 00.46 the next morning on 2nd October I gave birth to the most beautiful little baby boy I have ever seen. He was 4lb 3oz and 48cm of utter perfection. I couldn’t believe we made something so beautiful. We named him Oliver.
In the hospital we were giving a Sands pack, filled with information and mementoes. I can’t begin to explain how much these helped us. Our amazing midwife took prints of Oliver’s hands and feet and took pictures of us holding him.
Once I had left the hospital, I asked if there was any counselling available through the hospital and was told that you have to contact Sands for support.
One of the charity’s befrienders phoned me one night and said: “So tell me about your baby.” I think it was the only time I hadn’t felt isolated since having Oliver.
Knowing this woman on the phone had felt the same pain that Blair and I had and had gotten through it somehow gave me hope.
We were lucky to be surrounded by friends and family who weren’t afraid to ask us questions or say our child’s name, and I think that’s probably what saved us knowing Oliver was remembered that he was here, that he was loved and that his short life was important.
The month after losing Oliver we hosted a charity evening to raise money for Sands. We felt that by helping others it helped us.
Nobody should feel alone especially after enduring the worst heartache imaginable.
Sadly 1 in 4 pregnancies in the UK end in miscarriage or stillbirth. This means every 90 minutes a family experiences this devastating tragedy. We want to reduce this number, but we need your help.