My world fell apart as he said “I’m afraid I can’t detect her heartbeat”.
On 7 September 2007 life was changed forever as I attended my first ante-natal appointment with the consultant at Mayday Hospital, Croydon. I was 39 weeks pregnant with my fourth child and was really excited at getting an appointment to be induced the following week. He asked me if I had been feeling plenty of movements and I said that I hadn’t felt many movements for the last couple of days, but that I had mentioned it to my midwife two days before and she was unconcerned as my baby’s heartbeat was, at that time, ‘a strong, healthy heartbeat’. As I lay on the bed and waited to hear the lovely sound of her heat beating away, my world fell apart as he said “I’m afraid I can’t detect her heartbeat”. I was sent to the scanning department straight away and then saw for myself the still image of my baby. It then felt like some kind of out of body experience that was happening to someone else. I somehow arrived in a delivery room and waited for my husband to arrive.
At 3.15am on Saturday 8 September 2007 my beautiful, perfect, baby girl Amy, arrived into the world. She was 6lb 11oz and had lots of lovely dark hair. We all waited to hear her cry, as even though we knew she wouldn’t we just hoped they were wrong. I held her and looked at her beautiful face, with eyes I would never see open to look up at me. As we left the hospital that morning I had to walk past all the women cradling their new babies in their arms while I left with a couple of leaflets. I remember thinking ‘WHY ME?’
As we walked into our house and were greeted by our other children, the look on their little faces will probably haunt me for the rest of my life, such sad confused faces looking for answers that we couldn’t give. Many people assume that having other children makes the death of a baby easier somehow, but my daughter Chloe kissed my bump every night for my whole pregnancy and said goodnight to Amy before she went to bed and explaining to her, and my other children, was the hardest thing I have ever had to do as a parent. Baby loss is devastating whatever the circumstances and it is a roller coaster of emotions that you have to ride every day. Sadly, not every hospital has a SPRING and I had no support until I discovered the SANDS online forum, which, I have to say, is a very dark place to find yourself in. I connected with parents who understood, but I find it very sad that in many areas this is the only type of support available.
I have since been blessed with a two ‘Rainbow Babies’ who have brought joy back into my life. I had Abby in Poole Maternity Unit last year and although any pregnancy after loss is extremely tough, I will always be grateful to Gena, the day unit midwives and SPRING for all the support they gave me.
Amy will forever be missed, but I now realize how precious life is and you should treasure it always.