Memories And Dedications

Nitiksha and Jims story, as told by Jim

As many of you may know, sadly my son Deven Thomas was born sleeping on 11th April 2017.  My wife was 40 weeks plus 9 days and due to be induced in a few days.  A number of sweeps were done and the last routine sweep was when our world fell apart and our hearts were broken when we found out that our little boy's heart had stopped.  We were always told all was well so we are still unable to fathom why or how this has happened.

In such tragic circumstances, SANDS helped us create and maintain so many memories of our baby boy in such a short space of time.  Without the support of SANDS, we would not have the pictures, memory box, the prints etc to cherish forever.

Additionally, through SANDS the cold cot that was provided enabled us to spend time with our son, like any other new parents before having to let him go.  We are starting to discover the support network that SANDS also offers that we know we can use as and when we feel we need to.



Just a few weeks before Christmas in 1975, I gave birth to a daughter. She was stillborn at 39 weeks.

I did not see her, touch her, cuddle her, name her, say hello or goodbye, have a photo, a footprint or a funeral.

She was just whisked away by a nurse in a pink ‘blurr’…. and I was too unaware and naive to realise the impact this would have on my life,  going forward.

 I was 22, married for 3 years, had my own home, a good job, 2 cats and was thrilled to be expecting my first baby. The nursery was filling up with all the things we would be needing for a new baby and I felt positively glowing.

I remarked after one ante-natal appointment that ‘everyone seemed to be having problems, except me’. I seemed to be sailing through the pregnancy. I had had one scan at 16 weeks and was due another at 39 weeks.  Bad things didn’t happen to me.

 On a freezing cold December day I made my way to the hospital by bus and then a long walk up a hill. In 1975, ultra sound scans were quite a new procedure and I duly lay on the couch whilst this was performed. I started to get concerned when they kept scanning over and over one area, to the point of discomfort. The nurse left and came back with another nurse.

 “You will need to go for an x-ray now”, she said. I thought it odd, but assumed it was because there was a problem with my pelvis or similar.

 It was still freezing as I walked back from the x-ray unit and waited in the ante-natal clinic for the consultant, for what seemed an eternity. Anxiety started to creep in, along with nausea, so I was relieved when my name was called.

 He didn’t beat about the bush, the Obstetrician,  “I’m sorry, but there is a problem with your baby’s brain. The tube from the brain that drains fluid, has become blocked during pregnancy and fluid has built up on the brain causing brain damage. This is called hydrocephalus and can be associated with spina bifida”….. 

I felt sick, dizzy, shocked, terrified, all those things and more. I knew what spina bifida was, so had some idea of the implications.

 “You need to make a decision now. If you wish your baby to be born alive then you will need a caesarean, but I must warn you that it will be a vegetable, and it may only live a few years”..It….it….it. ? This is a baby that I have learnt to love every little kick and was looking forward to holding.

“Alternatively, if you have a normal delivery your baby will be stillborn. We can induce you tomorrow morning”

 Bang! The sledgehammer hit me again. I was there on my own, scared and distraught, as my whole world collapsed around me.

I rang my husband’s work and left a message, not giving any details but to get over to me urgently. I suspect that as he rushed over, he thought that maybe I was going in to labour and was feeling excited?

But I knew, as we both went back in to the consultant’s room that my mind was made up. Too quickly? Who knows……?

I would give birth to this baby knowing that she would not be alive at the end of the ordeal.

 I was given a side room on the maternity ward but I could hear babies crying all night. After my husband left to go home for the night, I did not sleep, but paced the room as if a prisoner waiting for a sentence to be carried out.

 I cried hysterically all night and felt so alone. I don’t remember anyone coming in to comfort me but was possibly given a sleeping tablet..

I just don’t remember much more, except the picture of this huge darkened room and looking through the windows to the streetlights outside during the night.

 Before dawn, a nurse came to collect me to ‘prepare’ me for birth. This seemed a futile process, almost insulting and I remember the nurse saying, “God has his reasons….”

I almost spat back at her…”How can I believe now? How, how????!!”

She was quiet after that.

The process continued with an epidural. I have no idea what time but my husband was with me by then.

The labour continued throughout the day but I was unaware of pain, due to the medication, but at roughly 9pm when my parents arrived, the epidural was wearing off so I started to feel real pain. I vomited on my pillow, due to fear/ drugs or both.

By the time I was ready for delivery around 10.30pm I was told to push every time a contraction showed on the monitor.   I don’t remember much of it now, just a pink blurr and someone saying, ‘we will just whisk her away’… ...and they did.

 Then there was nothing…..


And therein lies my problem.  I was not given the chance to hold her, or touch her or see her. I was not given the chance to make any memories, only bad ones. I was too weak to fight, to understand the implications, to ask questions. It was all too late. My husband at the time says he does not remember being asked about anything and I have to respect that.

 When I returned home the following day, everything I had prepared for my baby had disappeared. My parents and husband had carefully packaged and removed any evidence of there ever being a baby expected in the house.

 It was as if nothing had happened to me and when my in-laws came to visit us, they avoided the subject until l screamed at them,” I AM NOT ALL RIGHT. I HAVE LOST MY BABY!!!!

I just wanted people to ask me how I really was, so I could tell them how much pain and anguish I was in. Just a few close friends shared my grief. They were the ones that just came and hugged me and let me talk.

 I received no counseling, just a visit from the local GP and a prescription for tranquilisers and sleeping tablets. I’m not sure counseling even existed then.

 For years I thought she (the baby) was in a jar ‘pickled’ in a laboratory. How could I be so naïve to think that??? It was unfinished business and it took the friendship of another woman who had lost her own baby several months before mine, to start asking questions. She had had a photograph, a footprint and a funeral, as her baby lived a few hours. It was also born at a different hospital.

 I felt utterly cheated and still do to this day.


In 1984, the only enquiries to Somerset House and to the hospital. resulted in two typewritten notes. One  to say there was no birth or death certificate but a stillbirth had been recorded at this hospital, along with parents names.

The other to say the birth weight, time of birth and that the baby’s remains had been cremated as was the custom, and had been scattered in a plot in the local crematorium.

 So no way of saying goodbye…but just two bits of paper was all I had.

 I wish I could have said goodbye properly, or just held her for a few minutes, seen what colour hair she had, touched her toes, her head, kissed her goodbye, anything really would have been better than two typewritten notes.

 And so life went on, but the memory doesn’t  go away , nor does the pain. You just don’t think of it every day. Christmas is always a reminder of course. The Christmas cactus is significant as it flowers around the same time as she was born.

 I would have called her Eleanor and last year I had a pebble engraved with her name and date of birth and placed in a SANDS memorial garden in Aldershot Crematorium.

 I have somewhere to visit now and  although I know her ashes are scattered there in the grounds , the pebble is something to focus on and lay a flower beside on the anniversary of her birth.


Sleep peacefully, sweet little baby Eleanor….. I’m sorry I was not able to  say goodbye.



A beautiful Poem written by Helen after the loss of her and her Partner Will`s daughter, Amelia Rose.

Amelia Rose

Our perfect little angel came into the world today;

she stayed for a short while, but had to fly away.

You came to us with purpose, although it’s hard to find;

your warmth and strength you gave us to help us all be kind.

Each day we will remember the joy you brought our hearts;

from the last light of the evening to when the morning starts.

We will love you now and always and cherish you in every way;

until the day we meet again and a family we will stay.

By Helen


Emma`s Story

I remember the day I found out that I was pregnant for the first time. I took the test on 29th August 2016 and saw "pregnant" come up on that clear-blue digital.  Me and my husband Luke where shocked to say the least as Jamie wasn't planned. We had only been married for 2 months and wanted to wait a bit longer... but it happened. After a few weeks the shock was replaced by excitement with a pinch of nervousness (to be expected with any pregnancy). I had only just been to the doctor when I told my mum at 5 weeks, I don't know why but I was really scared to tell her, although she would find out eventually. She was so excited, even more so than me, when she was shopping in Sainsbury's she bought Jamie her first bunny toy. She was going to be so spoilt.

We had our first midwife appointment at 8 weeks, I got my blue folder, answered all the questions and did all the tests. I never had a blood test before, so I freaked out as I’m afraid of needles. But as soon as it was done, there wasn't anything to worry about, it didn't even hurt!

At late 10 weeks / early 11 weeks, I had a bleed. Me and Luke called 111 non-emergency doctors as we were both worried. After 30 minutes answering questions on the phone, the man on the phone assured me there was nothing to worry about. 3 days later though I had a call at work from my doctor... "You need to get down A+E ASAP". This was about 3pm, and thankfully had enough people to cover the shift so I could go straight away. I called my mum and asked if she could take me to Frimley hospital as I was really worried and couldn't drive. My sister came too and I explained to them on the way to hospital that my blood type was RhD- (which isn't good in pregnancy, read more about it on a search engine). So, after 7 hours of rigorous tests and my butt stinging from an Anti-D injection later I was finished. 

They booked me in for an early scan 2 days before my 12 week scan, just to make sure baby was fine. And she was. Me and Luke instantly fell in love with the most active little grey and black life we were seeing on the screen. I couldn't believe how much she was moving around but it was too early for me to feel anything yet. It was 14 weeks that I first felt her move, it was such a strange feeling that I could now feel this little person growing inside me. She was less active on the 12 week scan, she obviously wore herself out! We were given her due date of 5th May 2017.

From there on it was a normal pregnancy, just counting the weeks, making sure I was eating healthy, drinking enough water, taking my vitamins, and making sure I attended all my appointments. On week 16, me and my mum went to listen to baby's heartbeat for the first time, it was magical, I'll never forget it. We googled the old wives tale of the heartbeat test and was sure it was a girl as it was so fast and strong. It was right!

That was all about to change... at late 19 weeks I started leaking fluid. I didn't know it then but for whatever reason my waters broke. I was told by the doctor that I was having very loose discharge, and thought nothing of it. Wednesday 14th December the pains started. I had to call in sick at work, I could barely move. I spent all day and all night in various wards of the hospital having all these rigorous tests again to find out what was going on. It was the same story for Thursday 15th, but no one could pin point the problem. It was just very loose discharge.

20 week gender scan! Me and Luke were too excited that Friday was finally here and we could find out our baby's sex and get a few bits for her before Christmas Day. But that wasn't the case, during the scan the lady couldn't get a good view of Jamie, she was stuck right down in the left-hand side of my pelvis, she could only get her spine. She checked the size of her bones, skull, brain, and checked her blood flow along with all the other things in your 20 week scan. She was perfect, the scan lady just couldn't see her properly. She got the top consultant to double check what was going on, she knew straight away what was happening. I had to get up and clean myself of the gel and follow her to her office. This wasn't good! She performed more tests on me and asked us a few questions. She sat us both down, "Your waters have broken". I burst into tears! She went on to explain what I could do, what can happen and our choices. I wasn't prepared to give up, I wanted to give Jamie as long as possible to keep developing inside me. Our scan appointment time was 13:30 and by this time it was 17:00 and the family were getting restless and wanted to know the gender. We were soon to find out, but not the way we wanted.

Jamie's Birthday: Saturday 17th December, I had dreadful pains the night before and couldn't sleep, so me and Luke were back in the hospital again at 1am. I was in the labour ward, but needed the toilet before I could sleep. I had a gush of blood, I knew what was happening but I didn't want to worry Luke, but I couldn't help it I came out the toilet crying I'm bleeding. I was put in the Rowan Suite for the night. It was a lovely room, had the birthing bit with all the stuff you need, a massive bathroom with everything you need, then through there was a normal bedroom with a baby nursery attached. I didn't pay much attention to the room at first, but I am so glad I had the facilities afterwards. I got my results back from the appointments I had over the last couple of days, I had a nasty womb infection and a bladder / urine infection. The doctors were stunned that I was able to be awake, let alone be up and moving. They didn't find this before as I didn't produce any white blood cells. I felt fine apart from the pain in my stomach. It was then they told me Jamie had to be born today. It was a long day, I had constant tests, midwives and doctors looking at me. Every time I needed the toilet, I had to go in a special bowl, just in case Jamie came, they had to test whatever came out into that bowl too (makes me glad to work in retail). One of my options that the midwife gave me was to take this tablet to bring on labour, me and Luke decided it was the best for us, as if Jamie was in my womb any longer, I would lose my womb, and as Jamie was only 20 weeks old, it was highly likely she wouldn't make it, couldn't risk either one. So, I made the hardest decision ever to end Jamie's life. When that tablet came in the room, I couldn't stop crying, it was my job to do this and I knew what would happen when I did. 30 minutes later I finally had the courage to swallow that horrid tablet, but I knew it was for the best. It did no good anyway, I was already in labour and was bleeding heavily at this point as well as having clots. I was having a late miscarriage. I had a cannula drip in each of my hands, so the antibiotics could go straight to my blood for the infections. I had two young midwives as well as a more experienced midwife, I knew one of the younger girls, she was a year below me in school. As I lay on the bed waiting for things to happen, I could feel Jamie doing her last kicks before passing away inside me. I had to push Jamie all by myself, my body didn't have any contractions so that didn't help me. I had no idea what I was doing, you are supposed to go to pre-natal classes a month before your due. I had Luke, my mum Jenny, my mother in law Dawn and my sister Sammie with me. I'm so glad I had both of my mother’s there giving me advice on what to do. I was petrified. After a while pushing and help from the midwives, Jamie was born at 10:47pm weighing a tiny 9oz. I was so looking forward to giving birth and having a freshly delivered baby plopped straight into my arms, but given the circumstances, that wouldn't happen. She was taken away to be cleaned in the nursery in our suite. 

But I was far from finished, the placenta was next. I hadn't slept since Tuesday 13th so I was knackered, and then having just given birth... I tried and I tried but I had no more energy left, NONE! I was on the toilet trying to push the placenta out when the more experienced midwife came in and said "Would you like to see your baby?" of course I did "Would you like to know what you had" again of course I did "You had a little boy". I burst out into tears again, I always wanted a little boy, my dad did too. We had already named him if he was a boy, but the name was very sentimental to us, so we had to choose a new one... Jamie Junior. We were later to find out that little Jamie is in fact a girl! I had the surgeon come into the room, I needed surgery to take my placenta out. It was a scary place to be, loads of people in a big room with equipment I didn't even know existed. I went into shock, I couldn't stop shaking, I had a lovely calming nurse to make sure I was ok, otherwise it would be another 2 hours for a general anaesthetic. I had my spinal block, it was so weird not being able to feel anything past my waist. I think it was about 1am they finished and I called for Luke as I went into the recovery room. I threw up everywhere due to the shock of the operation, I'm so glad Luke was there to support me. I also had a catheter fitted as my lower body wouldn't be working fully for a good few hours. That was another weird feeling, I couldn't feel myself going for a wee.

I had visitors Sunday 18th, my family and Luke's family all came down to see Jamie. My dad found it especially hard as he wanted to have a grandson (at the time), but didn't want to see her like this. I told him he has to see her otherwise he will regret it. He is glad he did see her as it was his only chance to see her in the flesh. The last chance for all of us! We received a memory box from the hospital with a self help book, a poem, 2 little teddy bear toys, 2 teddy charms, Jamie's hand and foot prints, her birth certificate and a candle with a holder. I made Jamie a necklace out of the charm and ribbon to go around her delicate neck, then I’ve got the other charm on my necklace. Same with his teddy bear, that was with her all the time along with her first bunny that her gran bought her and a dragon that Luke got her for Christmas. We spent our last precious moments with Jamie, we watched the movie "Cars" together, Luke watched football with her while I was sleeping, and we told her how much we love her, how proud we are of her, we will never forget her, with lots of kisses and cuddles. It was so hard leaving her, but we knew we had to, her skin was already starting to deteriorate and she needed her photos taken before her post-mortem. We said our last tearful goodbyes to her and left. I think the worst part was seeing everyone else walk out the hospital with their bundle of joy. The service we had at the hospital was outstanding! The staff went above and beyond to make a terrible experience as comfortable as possible.

Next 3 weeks we stayed at my parents’ house, there is plenty of space for us, with contact and support as well as having my 5 jack russell's to cuddle. I was bed bound and sofa bound, I just had to make sure I took my antibiotics for my infections, ate enough and drank enough and concentrated on getting better. As we decided to conduct an autopsy on Jamie, that’s all I could think about. What those doctors were doing to her, but it had to be done to find out what was wrong with her. Christmas Day was a hard day for us all, but I wanted to still celebrate for Jamie.

Upcoming to the funeral was a horrible time. You shouldn't have to be planning your own child's funeral. It's just not right! We decided to have Jamie cremated on February 1st. I just wanted the day to be over and done with so that I could have our daughter back home with me and Luke. I cried throughout the whole service, as soon as I saw her tiny box. I got some flowers for her and the candle from our memory box. We said a prayer, sang a hymn, lit the candles and said our last goodbyes to her. She is at rest now, being looked after by Luke's Nan and Grandad. We all went back to my parents’ house for the wake, just had tea, coffee, cake and pick bits. The whole funeral is covered by SANDS charity, everyone in and behind the scenes are all volunteers, so I feel it is so important to give other brave families the best experience they can have during such a difficult moment in life.

Friday 17th March - Autopsy Report of Jamie: The main thing is there's nothing wrong with me, but big shock for us, the chromosomes came back female! (thinking she was male throughout the story) So Jamie is a girl! But me and Luke love her no matter what and that`s all that matters. We are still going to call her Jamie as it's a girl`s name too. I'm just going to jot down what the report says... Summary of Findings: 1. Second trimester female baby with no features of maceration. 2. Linear measurements, including foot and femoral lengths, within normal range for the stated gestational age. 3. External appearance: skin petechiae over chest, back and neck. 4. Internal findings: congenial pneumonia. Other amniotic fluid infection associated findings: presence of maternal inflammatory cells in the gastrointestinal lumen and in the proximal airways. Antenatal stress related changes: starry sky appearance in the thymus, mild vacuolization in adrenocortical cells. Blood in the gastrointestinal lumen. Mild and focal fresh haemorrhage in the germinal matrix and in the organs. 5. Placenta: necrotizing chorioamnionitis. Acute umbilical phlebitis and funistis. Marginal haematoma. Hypercoiled cord. 6. Ancillary investigations: normal female chromosome complement (array CGH). No pathogen detected (microbiology, virology). We have 6 double sided pages of the full report, but not going to put all that down. So long story short little Jamie was really sick all due to the infections and wouldn't have survived full term anyway. But main thing is me and Luke are both healthy and can continue to have future children. Our story is far from over, we have days of great sadness over our angel girl Jamie and will be a long time before we are "normal" again. We would love to share our story with support groups and other people who have been through such a tragedy. To be continued...



Submitted by David Cairns 2nd Sept 2014

Two random songs popped up on my iPod this morning – playing consecutively and forcing me to consider the random shuffle and to join the

 dots. The Jam with 'A Town Called Malice' (written about Woking) followed immediately by 'Godspeed', version by the Dixie Chicks – which
 inspired my tattoo in memory of our son George. Paul Weller of The Jam – is a bit of a hero of mine. Rewind to 1995 – A Levels done and
 on a year out, I took a job at W.H Smiths in Woking. Every day in the stock room from 7.30am – picking the stock, doing the Newspapers
 and generally trying to be a useful pair of hands – away from the shop floor. A good year, and coinciding with the release of the iconic
‘Stanley Road’, the solo album by Paul Weller – (the 46th greatest album of all time according to Q Magazine). Stanley Road itself was a
short road in the centre of Woking, running up to the railway and Maybury Road. The road name sign, which was covered in fan graffiti and
Paul Weller stickers, could be found at the junction of a pretty non-descript mini roundabout and located amongst some corporate offices and
 car parks. So, I spent 1995 a couple of streets away from Stanley Road and singing along to ‘Broken Stones’ and ‘You do Something to Me’
– like everyone else. So, from this time onward, I developed a bit of affection for Woking; my then girlfriend (now wife) Stephanie knew the
 town well as her father owned Trumps Dry Cleaners in the town centre, (that premises is now a Wetherspoons). Many of her family lived
and worked in Woking – so it was a friendly place for me, as a 19 year on his year out. I made friends and relationships in that year that
survive to this day – not least amongst Steph’s extended family. So – fast forward a little, we navigate University, buying our first house, day
 jobs – and find ourselves married, living in Camberley – visiting Woking less often now but still loving all things Weller and his now rarer
appearances on TV and in the charts – usually to be found on ‘Later with Jools Holland’. We start a family – and the beautiful Lois is born –
 what a good kid, what an easy time – let’s do it again – getting pregnant is easy, pregnancy is easy – wow, a little boy…..wait…..BOOM –
our lives are shattered as our little unborn boy, George is ‘incompatible with life’. He is too ill to be born. Heartbroken but lucid – we want to
 be merciful to him and he dies peacefully, before Steph delivers him at Frimley Park. George changes us, he inspires us and we cherish
him. We appreciate wonderful people and worthy causes. We gratefully take the support, we receive the hugs and the care. When we
strengthen – we fundraise. February 2012 – we hold a Valentines Black Tie Ball – in aid of The British Heart Foundation, to raise money in
 George’s memory. We hold the event just outside of Woking at the Bisley Pavilion. Unbeknownst to us, one of the waiting staff for the dinner
 is Paul Weller’s mum. White blouse, black skirt – all dressed identically - anonymous to the guests – a smart and proud grey haired lady in
her seventies. But she is the person who Paul Weller calls ‘Mum’ – who delivered a giant of music, who nurtured a unique offspring who is
now the Godfather – the Modfather of British Music. On the night, someone tells me who she is – I am thrilled but I’m shy to say Hello – of
course she makes it easy. She makes a discrete but generous donation to our event, noting our loss and encouraging our efforts. It IS a
small world, it is also a kind, strange, and circular world. The Town called Malice was anything but malicious to us.

Savannah - Holli & Nathaniel`s beautiful daughter

posted 23 Oct 2017, 14:11 by Georgina Kitchener

I was 39+5 days pregnant with my first baby in April 2014. That evening without any warning I began bleeding heavily, we called an ambulance and were taken to hospital. When I arrived they did a quick scan which showed my daughters heart rate was falling so I was rushed for an emergency c-section under general anaesthetic.

When my daughter, Savannah, was born she wasn’t breathing and was resuscitated, they managed to stabilise her and she was then taken to another hospital in Portsmouth. I, however, was too ill to travel. I had had a placental abruption and haemorrhaged and in total lost just over two litres of blood.

The following day I demanded to be taken to her threatening that I would walk out – they put me in an ambulance on blue lights all the way there.  Sadly our beautiful girl was too poorly to survive and she died in my arms, I’m so pleased she was with me. The hospital investigated, issues were raised and I know that things have been put in place following her death. She died from lack of blood and oxygen eventually causing her organs to fail.


It turns out that I had a velamentous cord insertion and an extra lobe on my placenta. The Doctors think that the cord was attached to the extra lobe and this part came away causing massive blood loss.

Had I been offered (or made aware that it existed) a Doppler scan would have picked this up. I am sure I would have been offered a c-section or early induction if it had. I was deemed “low risk” as she was my first baby. The care throughout my pregnancy was inadequate, although I have learnt so much more now and looking back there were huge failings and lack of information.


I have since had another baby. I went back to my original hospital and put under a consultant. I had the best care possible, scans every 4 weeks, open access, fort nightly CTG monitoring, Doppler scans and a planned c section at 37 weeks. Thankfully my little boy arrived safely however it has taken the death of my first baby to provide me with this care.

Jessica's story

posted 17 Mar 2014, 14:33 by Laura Drummond   [ updated 17 Mar 2014, 14:36 ]

In April 2011 me and my ex partner Joe found out we were expecting,
I took a pregnancy test, and it took what felt like forever for that little line to turn up, but when it did, it was a beautiful line.
We started planning for her arrival, and had to attend a lot of consultant appointments as it was a high risk pregnancy.
Every time we saw the little baby on the screen bounce and wriggle about at scans, we fell more in love.
At our 20 week scan, we got told it was a little girl, and then our love grew even more, we started telling people, and they started sending dresses, and cute little girlie outfits.
When we reached 27 weeks, I went into premature labour, so I got admitted into Newcross hospital in Wolverhampton, and I was in for a week, I got given steroid injections, and was under close observation. And sure enough the labour stopped which we were thankful for.
Then at 33 weeks, I woke up after being in bed ill for the past week, with stomach pains. I went into the toilet to find creamy blood, I figured it was my mucus plus, because along with the pains and this, It did feel like labour.
I then got on the phone to my birthing partner Beth Simspson, she came straight round, and she agreed, it sounded like labour. So we got excited. I knew the hospital could do nothing except keep me under observation. There was nothing to stop the labour, nor make Jessica's lungs stronger, as I'd had all that previously.
So Joe was running around packing things flapping, and me and Beth were sat down, talking. I was adamant I had to do the labour as natural as possible.
As the contractions got closer together, we were getting more excited. then as they were 5 minutes apart. I went upstairs to get changed.
What I then found shocked me as all this blood poured out as I sat on the toilet. I knew instantly something was wrong so we rushed off to the hospital.
By this time the pains were 3 minutes apart and I was in a lot of pain by now.
The porter took 12 minutes to get a wheelchair. as I was in the car freaking out.
I got taken into the delivery suite. and that's when my life changed forever.
There was all these doctors and nurses around me, strapping me to machinery, trying to find her heartbeat. but they struggled. she kept moving as I had the pains. then I saw the nurse shake her head. It wasn't contractions I were having, they brought in a scanning machine, and I saw my little girl on the tv. Her heart rate was at 104 bpm, but she was still alive.
Beth put her hand on mine, and her hand on my stomach. telling me everything would be OK. Jessica gave one all mighty kick, and we both smiled and giggled.
The doctors finished examining me, then said I had to go into surgery there and then. And I'd have to be asleep. I did not want this.
But when I got into the theatre I got given one chance to be awake, one only. Thankfully even though I hate needles with a huge passion. it worked, and I was allowed to be awake.
I begged and pleaded for Beth to be with me, the room was packed to the rafters of all these doctors, nurses, and other people. I was so terrified and in shock. My daughter was born, and I lay there. Asking when she was going to cry, and it was taking forever to get operated on. Joe entered the theatre looking scared.
What was to happen next, has changed mine, my partners, Beths' and all of our close friends and family's lives forever.
The 7 people working on my littler girl came over, theatre hats in hand,
My little girl was too weak to live.
She was born asleep, and they had tried to get her breathing for 20 minutes.
But she was to weak.
I had become a angel mummy when I wanted and ached to be a mummy.
To a healthy, crying baby.
the theatre fell silent, then I heard tears. lots and lots of people crying,
My partner saying no over and over again, and collapsing into Beths' arms, her crying, I was looking around begging for it to have been my imagination. Then I realised it wasn't and I began sobbing uncontrollably.
We got to spend four days with her asleep, she would sleep of a night time in the Eden room, a specialised room for angel babies. then spend cuddle times in with me and my partner in a specialised flat for bereaved parents.

Our angel passed away on the 27th of October, at 7:56am weighing 2lb 12oz.

We Laid Jessica to rest on the 25th of November at 1:30pm..
I was in shock. My partner Joe carried her down our road, then we all got into the limo and had Jessie on our laps.
The drive felt like the longest drive ever.
When we arrived at the chapel there was so many people there.. so many faces.. so many people who loved Jess it made my heart melt.
I remember holding onto her butterfly light I got from the town centre a few nights before. it played horrible play music.. did our nuts in.. but u could turn it off and put just the lights on. They were so beautiful.
I forgot her poem on the day of her funeral. it got "mislaid" at our house.
So i stood up to read her, her poem, but I didn't have it with me.
I froze. I couldn't say anything. All I could see was this little white box so I stood there, arm in arm with Beth whilst she read her poem.
We all carried her down to her bed, passing her from loved one to loved one. People we trusted. People who we knew loves her.
I don't remember much from when she was going into her bed. I just remember crying and seeing this little white box going into the ground.
But we did it! She got her bed. Shes in her forever bed.........

Your memories

posted 8 Nov 2012, 17:43 by Laura Drummond

Please email if you would like to add a post to this area of the site.

Jennifer's story

posted 11 Jan 2012, 11:39 by Olly Cruickshank

Jennifer Turner was born stillborn on 7th July 2004, a victim of the genetic disorder Edwards Syndrome. The condition results in poor growth in the womb of all structures including the vital internal organs. In the words of the consultant, Edwards Syndrome is simply incompatible with life.

Jennifer was a pretty girl, tall and slim, with delicate features and an intelligent face. Her long slender fingers mark her out as an artist, or a gifted musician. She was a bright girl: she would go to University, maybe abroad somewhere, maybe meet someone there and stay to get married. Most of all, she was very deeply loved, her parents’ pride and joy.

Except that Jennifer never lived more than eighteen weeks in her mother’s womb. She was stillborn, after a short, but very real, labour, tiny, frail, but perfect in every way, down to her tiny fingers, toes, and fingernails. Perfect, except that she had been conceived with a genetic complication that meant that she was never meant to live.

We had tried for a child for four years before Jennifer came. We had given up hope by then. All our efforts had seemed to be in vain. We were growing older, and our time may have been running out. But then, at the age of 39, we found out that Jennifer was on her way. We were so happy, we started to keep a diary of the pregnancy, something we could show the child when they were old enough to understand. My husband hoped for a daughter, but I did not care either way: so long as the baby was happy, that would be all that mattered.

We began to think of how we would need to reorganise the house, and finally implement the projects we had put off for another day. So we organised new furniture and a renovation of our bathroom, things that would be useful to us whatever happened, mindful of making too many plans too early.

To begin with the signs were all good, so good that once the bad news started to come in, we did not fully understand. At the scan at 13 weeks, we knew something was wrong because of the delay in telling us anything. They had measured the fluid at the back of the foetus’s neck, but not told us what it meant. Instead they asked us to wait in a consulting room. Even what we were told that day did not prepare us for the eventual outcome. They said that it was likely that the baby would have Downs syndrome, heart problems and limited intelligence, and suggested that because of this the best thing for us to do was to terminate the pregnancy.

But that was never an option: we read up about the subject and knew that whatever else happened, and no matter how difficult it might be, we would give our child the best chance possible. So although we knew we would need to have the invasive tests done, which would determine the extent of the genetic condition, we refused the CVS in favour of the amniocentesis, as we wanted to reduce the risks of miscarriage to a bare minimum. We had appointments set up right through to the baby’s due date: tests, scans, even an appointment at Guys Hospital in London, where the nature of any heart defects could be detected and hopefully corrected. But the result of that amniocentesis made all the rest irrelevant: our baby carried the most severe form of Edwards Syndrome: the child would at best be unresponsive, immobile and spend most of its terribly short life in the hospital; at worst she would be dead before leaving the womb, and we would wake up every morning, worrying whether she were still alive.

We were advised that, in the circumstances, all we could do was to have what the hospital called a ‘medical termination’, to clear the decks for what would be a hopefully more healthy baby. We were not rushed; we spent a solemn weekend thinking the situation over. Ironically, that weekend, the furniture we had ordered arrived, though we did not really notice. Sensing few other options, we agreed to the termination, and against all parental instinct I forced down the pills that would make my body reject the baby inside me. Somehow though, I had not felt the baby move for two days, and I hoped, for her sake, that she had already gone.

Two days later, in a special room away from the rest of the Delivery Suite, my labour was induced. It took five hours, and left me in pain, exhausted and emotionally shattered, but somehow, it made Jennifer real. The tiny baby – our baby – which we held in our hands for three hours that evening before they took her body away was such a wonder to us: she was a little baby, even at only 18 weeks: if she had not been so silent and so still, there would have been no sign of anything wrong. To us she was beautiful, and though the hospital chaplain who visited us was so kind, nothing anyone could say could reach us and make us feel any better: we had kept the diary going, all through the tests and the strain, we had some photographs – one in black and white that the hospital photographer took a day or two later, and the colour ones we took ourselves – a hand- and footprint the hospital staff did for us, and the blanket they wrapped her body in: that was all we took home of our daughter.

We had never wondered – as some suggested we might – why this had happened to us: to think like this would be to suggest that there were other parents in some kind of lottery. In fact, although we knew this was not true either in the sense of no other parents experiencing this situation or because we did not have any support from friends and family, we felt totally alone, fighting for our baby as long as we could. Now that it was over, we were empty: what was left was the routine, going back to work, coming home to each other, wondering whether we had done the right thing.

The hospital arranged the funeral for us – we could not bear to do it ourselves – and Jennifer was cremated at a lovely service at the beginning of the following month. We planted a rose for her, and gave her some toys which would survive outdoors, and which we have since brought home to our garden, so that even if we cannot go to visit her grave, we can still spend a little time with our Jennifer.

We were told that the funeral would help us to lay her to rest, but this was not the case. We became more sensitive, both to the fact that as far as our friends were concerned, our daughter seemed all but forgotten – though in truth they were probably being careful of our feelings – and also very light sleepers, waking at the slightest sound in the night. This became such a problem that we moved into the back room, just a mattress made up on the floor, and our hospital photograph of Jennifer, which we kissed every night before we went to sleep, terrified lest the bitter pain and memories of her began to fade.

On Jennifer’s due date, however, our feelings changed. We spent the day talking over what might have been, and what should have been. During the day, the feeling that I should have been carrying a baby – that had been with me for all these months – lifted. Not without some feelings of guilt, we understood that having gone through the previous nine months my husband and I now had a stronger bond, and that even if we did not consciously think of Jennifer every day, she would still be our first born daughter, and would still be with us. At first we were terrified if at the end of a day we realised that we had not thought about her, thinking that meant we were forgetting her, but as time went by we realised that not consciously thinking of her was fine: she would creep into our thoughts on her own, and we would be happy to think that if she were with us now, we would be showing her something magical.
We bought her a Christmas card, and on the anniversary of when she was born, we bought her a 1st year birthday card, and placed it next to her photograph for her to enjoy. And of course we still think of her, if not all the time, at least once a day. And we both visit her grave whenever we can, and each time we stand before the rose and the little plaque that bears her name, and weep for her.

But our consultant at the hospital was probably right in their advice to advance Jennifer’s inevitable early death: a little after six months later we returned to our consultant at the hospital, and she confirmed that not only was I expecting again, but that this time, I would be having twins. They are very healthy and very beautiful, playing together sitting up on the floor in front of me now, and though I love them both very dearly, I know there is someone else here, keeping an eye on us, but whom I would give almost anything to have playing here with them.

Can you have a “normal” birth following a loss?

posted 11 Jan 2012, 03:50 by Olly Cruickshank

The straightforward answer is no – it can’t be "normal" – not the pregnancy and certainly not giving birth to a baby you will this time take home. Physically, the birth will be the same as hundreds of thousands of other women, but mentally you can’t escape the pain and trauma of what happened before.

But I was determined to have a natural birth. I know some people thought I was crazy, and for those who lost babies later into their pregnancy I can understand why they couldn’t even think about going to term. But there was something inside me that said I’m going to have the water birth I had always hoped for.

My story was that I went into labour and gave birth early – there was nothing wrong with the babies (I was carrying twins) nothing wrong with my placenta or my blood. I had developed an infection and my body’s way of dealing with this infection was to go into labour. At just under 22 weeks gestation, the twins were just too small to survive.

The chance of this happening again were slim – and once I got past 30 weeks and the pregnancy was continuing well I started to believe that there was no reason why I shouldn’t continue until term and give birth how I wanted to.

Following research on induction and numerous discussions and deliberations with my partner, my consultant, my midwife, the NCT class teacher, and other SANDS members, I made up my mind and chose not to be induced early. The overriding reason for this was the statistical percentage of prolonged, painful inductions (prior to term + 10 days) and the number which ultimately ended in caesarean section – something I personally was determined to avoid.

The last few weeks were not easy – I frequently thought "my baby is alive right now and would be perfectly healthy if born now" but I hung on in there.

My due date came and went and I was now getting quite nervous, despite the frequent ‘check up’ trips to the day assessment unit. I remember those trips well – I would get so nervous walking through the hospital and couldn’t relax until the trace had been completed and everything was OK. I frequently thought "why am I putting myself through this?" But by this time I knew of three other ladies who had inductions before term - none of which worked particularly well and 2 ended in caesarean – real life examples, not just a book of statistics.

But the strain was beginning to show – not just for me but my partner too. I saw my consultant and we agreed on induction at Term + 10 days, when success was more likely.

Fortunately the induction worked at the first attempt and my labour progressed well. My Blood Pressure and the baby’s heart rate were perfect so I was cleared to go into the pool. I then continued to have a relatively straightforward (although of course, long and painful as most are!) labour and delivery.

Throughout life I’ve always been a very determined person and firm believer of "if you put your mind to something you can achieve anything".

I will never forget the painful, traumatic experience of giving birth to the twins knowing they’ll not survive, but I’m very proud of achieving the most amazing birth experience I could ever have imagined for the delivery of my daughter.

Since writing this article Helen has subsequently had another baby, born at Term+2 days with no complications.

1-5 of 5