Author Archives: Digital Storm

Baby Jac


‘We didn’t sleep that night for tears. It was the hardest decision we have ever had to make…’

My story goes back to September 2006. My husband had previously had a vasectomy reversal and I felt our chances of having our own baby together were very slim, but in April 2006 the two lines appeared on my pregnancy test.

We were so happy. The 12 week scan day soon arrived and we saw our baby on the screen for the first time. It was amazing. After the scan, as everything seemed to be ok, we started buying things for our much-wanted baby. We decided not to find out the sex so we only bought neutral colour clothes and a moses basket. Time flew by and the appointment confirmation letter for our 20 week scan soon dropped on the doormat. Unfortunately my husband was on jury service so Poole Hospital rebooked our appointment, so I’d be 23 weeks at the time of my scan. I could feel our baby moving about and never had a concern at all. The day arrived; we were so excited and after another discussion decided against finding out the sex of our baby.

I remember this day as clear as yesterday. The sonographer was measuring all the limbs, etc and I was so happy to see our baby again. Then all of a sudden she said, ‘ I need a second opinion’. She disappeared and I asked my husband what was happening. He knew something was wrong and held my hand. A consultant entered the room and confirmed our darling baby had Spinabifida. I screamed ‘No! Please no!’

We were lead to a side room and comforted by a wonderful midwife named Jackie. She was amazing, but I felt dizzy and sick. We went home and broke the devastating news to our family. It was horrific. I could still feel our baby kicking me. I was an emotional wreck. My husband wanted a second opinion so he called Poole Hospital the following morning. He was told we only had a week to decide what to do.

That day we drove to Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton where it was confirmed by a consultant and a doctor that our little boy would sadly have no quality of life and would never walk as the hole in his lower back was very big. I was in a daze, but the opinions were explained. If we went ahead with the pregnancy our son would have a clamp on his brain at birth and have operation after operation.

We didn’t sleep that night for tears. It was the hardest decision we have ever had to make, but we decided to end the pregnancy. We had to call St. Mary’s Maternity Unit, Poole and my treatment started the next day. We went to the SPRING suite and I was given medication. I then had to return to the maternity unit the following day and I was scanned in the same scan room where we first received the horrific news of our son’s illness. My darling son’s heart had stopped. I sobbed and sobbed and was inconsolable. My daring son had gone.

The following day we arrived back at the SPRING suite and my labour was induced. It was the worst moment I have ever experienced. Our baby boy was born on Friday 22nd of September 2006 born at 11.55 pm. Jac was baptised and we spent short but precious time with him. I had to say goodbye and leave the hospital without my precious baby.

It was awful to see his tiny white coffin at his funeral. I didn’t want to say goodbye again.
The next few weeks and months were extremely hard, but I fell pregnant again. After being under a consultant and having numerous scans, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I’ve since had two more babies and my family is now complete. SPRING has been an amazing support to our family and we don’t know how we would have got through without them.

We will never forget you Jac xx

Bud & Sister Hollie

rainbow-spring-fullWe started trying for a baby in 2011. We were quite realistic in how long it might take, but within two months I had fallen pregnant. I think we were both in shock at how quickly it happened and I constantly worried as I had no symptoms whatsoever. When we had our 12 week scan I was certain there wouldn’t be anything there, but there was and it was so amazing seeing our baby for the first time, and I was certain I was having a boy, call it gut instinct.
We told all our friends and family at this point and started thinking about how we would decorate the nursery and all the gadgets we would have to buy, although I had decided not buy any clothes until our next scan as I wanted to know what we were having.
On the day of our 20 week scan, I was really nervous, I hadn’t felt our baby as much for the last few days, but just put it down to him being so small and to the fact that I’d never felt him loads, just little bubbling sensations every now and then. I knew something was wrong though when the sonographer stayed really quiet. I really wish she hadn’t, it made everything feel so much worse. There I was asking stupid questions like ‘how big was he now?’, ‘what was his heart rate?’, while I was being told to be quiet for a moment and then those awful words… “ I’m so sorry..” I don’t actually remember what else she said; it still hurts too much to even think of that moment. We were then taken to another room, given cups of tea, told what would happen next, where to go etc, it was all a bit of a blur.
On Monday 5th we went to the SPRING suite where we met Gena and I was induced. It was the worst day of my life. I was very ill throughout my labour, constantly being sick, shivering, and a bit loopy towards the end; apparently I had a conversation about flapjacks! And the pain was unbearable, I asked for an epidural in the end, but it wasn’t needed. Minutes after I asked, my waters broke and 10 minutes later I gave birth to my little boy at 01.45am on 6th September.
He was perfect, but so small with perfectly formed tiny ears and long fingers and cute button toes. We called him Bud as that had been his nickname whilst I was pregnant and to be honest that’s what he looked like, he was my little Bud. I will never forget the time I spent with him, it was never going to be enough, but I am thankful for the memories that the lovely midwives helped me create.
We had a post mortem done on Bud and it told us what we already knew, that he was perfect, there had been nothing wrong with him or me, it was just one of those awful things. A few months after losing Bud we fell pregnant again by accident, and sadly lost that baby too at 8 weeks. It was at this point I began to doubt whether we should be actually having children as I felt like such a failure, but we continued trying.
In April I found out I was pregnant again, and we were thrilled, but I still felt awful about everything and very guilty for falling pregnant, like I was betraying my lost boy. We told only our mums and a few close friends, I was determined not to tell anyone till our 20 week scan this time round. At our 12 week scan I lay there crying the whole time, I barely even saw the screens, I was just so relieved that things were fine. And at our 20 week scan I sat silent, I didn’t know how to react so I just waited, and there on the screen was our little girl absolutely perfect.
We continued to have scans every four weeks which were a great reassurance and at our 36 week scan it was decided I would be having a c-section for a low lying placenta.
On the 6th December 2012, Baby Hollie Brienne Wigham was born weighing 6lb 13, she is everything I could have ever wished for, and when she is old enough we’ll tell her all about her angel brother.

Baby Athena

Every morning I wake up and can’t wait to give my rainbow baby lots of cuddles and kisses, but my life has not always been so full of joy.

During February 2011 my partner Daryl and I found out we were going to have our second child. We were looking forward to finding out the sex because we already had a girl and were excited to think it might be a boy.

Before I knew where I was, my 20 week scan had arrived and Daryl and I were so happy to find out we were expecting a baby boy. We were so happy. Daryl had a huge smile on his face as he really wanted a son. I was over the moon also. We were going to have a girl and a boy. My daughter was five years old and very excited at the prospect of being a big sister.

My pregnancy was going well. I was told he was a big baby and towards the end of the pregnancy had extra growth scans. He was getting bigger but I didn’t have gestational diabetes.

My due date arrived and nothing happened. More days passed and still no baby. My midwife talked of induction but on 16th November my contractions started.

I had two birthing partners, Daryl and his mum Jane. My labour did not go well and I had to have my waters broke to help the contractions. Eventually I was told to push and it was then everything started to go really wrong. When I was pushing, my son’s head had trouble coming down the birth canal. Eventually his head was out, but his shoulders got very stuck. I was taken into theatre and put to sleep so they could get him out.

At 6.25am on 17th November, my beautiful boy Bradley Daryl Elliott was born weighing 10lb 11oz. He was taken to NICU and put on a life support machine. He was badly brain damaged and couldn’t breathe for himself. The doctors tried to find some brain activity, but were unsuccessful. My baby boy had already been taken from me.

I then received the worst news I will ever hear. There was nothing they could do. Bradley fell asleep and flew away. Before he went we had lots of cuddles in the SPRING suite.

After Bradley’s funeral I was offered support from SPRING and received help and understanding from Gena Evans, Bereavement Support Co-ordinator. I spoke to Gena about the possibility of having another baby but I was very anxious and not sure I could handle it. After weeks of thinking it over Daryl and I agreed that if it happened it was meant to be.

In April 2012 I discovered I was pregnant with our third child. Emotions were a mixture of happiness, fear, anxiety and joy. I was incredibly scared of what might happen. I had been having counselling with SPRING, so I was able to talk about my feelings and worries with Fiona.

At 20 weeks we found out we were expecting a little girl. My daughter was so happy that she was going to have a little sister. Although Daryl had again hoped for a boy, he was very much looking forward to meeting our ‘rainbow baby’.

During my pregnancy I had lots of scans to monitor her growth and for my own peace of mind. When I was 28 weeks I had a scan and they discovered my water levels had dropped so much they had to give me steroid injections and keep me in overnight to monitor the baby.

It was really stressful and I worried so much that something bad was going to happen. I was then told I had Group B Strep. It felt like everything was going wrong again.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I got very anxious and was so worried about giving birth. In this pregnancy I had the same midwife all the way through. She was great and gave me lots of reassurance. The support I received from Gena, Fiona and my midwife, Faye was amazing and they all looked forward to meeting my little rainbow too. Due to the complications I had with Bradley, I was booked in for a c-section and my consultant, Dr Pann, was going to be delivering my baby girl.

The date for my c-section arrived and I was both excited and nervous. We arrived at the doors to the delivery suite where Gena and Faye were waiting for us. We were so lucky to have Gena and Faye with us for support.

At 9.21am on the 21st December 2012 I gave birth to our rainbow baby Athena Felicity Elliott. She weighed 8lb 5oz. I was 38 weeks and 3 days. She looked so much like Bradley.

We are so happy to have our rainbow baby here safe and sound, but it was a long and difficult pregnancy. Even though we have our beautiful rainbow there will always be a big hole in our lives and nothing will ever fill it. Bradley is always with us and will never be forgotten.

Thank you very much to Gena, Fiona, Faye and Dr Pann for their amazing support during my pregnancy. Now we have a star in the sky and a rainbow in our arms.

Losing Flint

spring_logo_250‘I remember waking up in recovery and I just felt numb…’

It was June 14th 2010 when my world fell apart and changed forever. After experiencing a course of IVF treatment which we funded ourselves as there was no funding available, I was delighted to discover I was pregnant after our first course of treatment. I was apprehensive until I reached the twelve week stage. After having the twelve week scan it became more real and friends and family became excited offering to buy items for our forthcoming bundle. But on June 14th 2010 I was rushed to Poole Hospital with a placenta abruption and was told to try and deliver the baby naturally. After at least twelve hours with very little happening and discovering I had a massive internal bleed requiring numerous blood transfusions I was rushed in to theatre for an emergency hysterotomy.  

I remember waking up in recovery and I just felt numb. I didn’t know what to say. My mum then told me I had delivered a baby boy. After being transferred to the high dependency unit where I received one to one care from the midwives who were terrific, I was asked if I wanted to see my baby. I made the decision to see him. Following a conversation with my local vicar, he came to do a blessing. My little boy was brought to me in a moses basket wrapped in a blanket. I was shocked at how formed he was. He had tiny hands and feet and he was beautiful and looked perfect.

I was discharged from hospital a few days later, but grateful that I had been able to stay in the SPRING Suite which is a real asset to the maternity unit for people unfortunate to be in a similar situation. I felt I was given the privacy I needed and it was comforting to know my partner was able to stay with me. The hospital gave me photos of my baby boy along with his hand and foot prints and his blanket and teddy bear. I was so grateful and made my own memory box.

The next step was to arrange our service at Bournemouth Crematorium where Flint is laid to rest in the Butterfly Garden with the other angels. Initially, when I first lost Flint I felt had to travel the twelve miles daily to visit the Butterfly Garden as I felt a huge amount of guilt if I didn’t. I felt like I was letting him down. People told me things would get easier and they do, although at the time I was unable to believe this. I have now learnt to cope with my loss and now visit every two months.

Following my traumatic experience I chose to organise a charity auction which was well supported by friends, family the SPRING team as well as the Local MP Annette Brookes. I was successful in raising just over £4000. After careful consideration the decision was made to allow this money to be used for further training to help SPRING continue to offer such a fantastic service.

I am pleased to say I am currently 28 weeks pregnant. However, it has certainly been an emotional roller coaster. I have utilised the SPRING counselling services to assist me through this worrying time. I have a fantastic support network of family and friends who have been tremendous. I felt I could breathe a sigh of relief once I had gone beyond the stage I reached in my last pregnancy and the comfort of feeling the baby move really helps. The maternity unit have been very supportive offering ultrasound scans and consultant appointments every four weeks which I have found to be very reassuring too.

My current partner is very understanding as it was a previous relationship when I lost my special baby boy. A point I would like you to take from reading my story, as difficult as it has been losing Flint and the apprehension of my current pregnancy, but one piece of advice is to talk about your emotions and if you feel you are unable to do this with your partner, family or friends there are services available.

During this pregnancy I have been scared if I brought anything for the baby it would jinx my pregnancy so I have brought things gradually. I know I won’t relax until I have my baby in my arms and I’m sure anyone who has been in this situation can sympathise with this.

Anda Satellite Pilot Service

The ANDA Satellite pilot service was set up in 2011 working from Poole Medical Centre located at 36 Parkstone road Poole. This is a newly refurbished GP surgery located just behind the lighthouse (art centre) in Poole town centre.

The service is staffed with 2 senior Day Assessment (ANDA) midwives called Sam Dell and Carolyn Burden. Both have worked in the main ANDA unit in the maternity for many years and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience.

The ANDA Satellite pilot has been designed to provide seamless service providing women centred care, reducing waiting times and provides a continuity of midwife during a high-risk time of pregnancy.

There are two couches in the ANDA Satellite room with two CTG machines so we can monitor the fetal heart of the babies that require it.

We see a range of conditions from ongoing problems in pregnancy such as reduced liquor volumes and pre-eclampsia to problems that women face on a day to day basis such as concerns about the babies movements or if they think their waters have broken at any gestation.

The problems we are unable to see are women with contractions, pain, bleeding or if the lady is under 18 weeks gestation as we do not have any doctors available to review the women.

The service is run Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm

If you have a question or any concerns please do not hesitate to contact us on 01202 676063 and we will be happy to talk to you.

SPRING parents raising awareness about stillbirth by Emma Johnston

When our daughter, Daisy, was stillborn during labour in February 2012, I was shocked to discover how many families sadly go through this devastating experience every day.  In fact, according to Sands, the national stillbirth and neonatal death charity, 17 babies are stillborn or die before they are one month old every day in the UK – that’s 4,500 precious babies every year.  Despite these figures (which haven’t really changed in the last decade), it seems stillbirth is only mentioned when it happens to you.  My husband, Nick, and I decided quite early on that we wanted to do whatever we could to raise awareness about stillbirth – to break the taboo – and hopefully play our part in helping to change things, so fewer babies needlessly die in future.  For us, it’s about making Daisy’s contribution to the world.

And so in January 2012, Nick and I joined other bereaved parents at a Sands event at the Houses of Parliament where the charity launched its new report ‘Preventing Babies’ Deaths – what needs to be done’.  Like the other parents there, we had arranged to meet our local MP, to draw attention to the report and to secure their support to bring about change.  We also took the opportunity to tell our MP, Annette Brooke, about how we had benefited from the wonderful support from SPRING.  This was especially important to us because the Sands report highlights how this vital support is not available in a staggering 50% of UK hospitals.

The event was hosted by Dr Dan Poulter, MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity, and member of the Commons Health Select Committee.  He addressed the packed room before handing over to Sands Chief Executive, Neal Long who said: “We want to see real national commitment to tackling this ignored tragedy and preventing all avoidable baby deaths in the future. We want lives saved and families spared the desperate heartbreak of losing their precious baby.”

The speakers were passionate and inspiring – especially Colin Pidgeon, a bereaved father, who so openly talked about the loss of his daughter who was stillborn.

Both Nick and I found the event humbling and emotional.  Being among other parents who had been through similar experiences was strangely comforting and yet sad at the same time (a bit like a SPRING support meeting!). Hopefully collectively our babies’ stories helped to hammer home to the politicians the real impact of baby loss.  Now we watch with interest to see if the recommendations in the report are taken forward.

More recently, Nick and I shared Daisy’s story for an article in the Guardian.  Prompted by the stillbirth of Gary Barlow’s daughter, the piece focussed on what family and friends can do to support loved ones through the death of a baby.  For us, it was an opportunity to talk about – and thank – our amazing family and friends who helped us cope by being there for us and acknowledging Daisy.  It was also an opportunity to tell people about the support provided by SPRING.  We hope the article will help other bereaved parents realise they are not alone, as well as helping their loved ones feel less helpless.

For more information – and to download a copy of the Sands report – visit

To read the Guardian online article, visit

Baby Milly

rainbow-spring-fullIn the aftermath of losing my son I needed to fall pregnant as soon as possible. I wanted to show Finlay that I would have been a good Mum, that he would have been safe with me. Against advice, we started trying straight away and luckily for us, two months later, I have a positive pregnancy test.

The next eight months were far from an easy ride. The hospital were all brilliant and to the staff in ante-natal – my eternal thanks. I had fortnightly checks and was able to pop in to ante-natal to ease any concerns I had.

Because of my anxiety, when they saw my fluid was low I had the steroids to prepare the baby for birth at 28 weeks and CTG’s every other day. This was, in part, to stop me panicking, but it failed abysmally! Nothing much helped. In the end the low fluid seemed to be an anomaly and apart from my fears the pregnancy was easy and everything went perfectly. I was told to chill and enjoy the remainder of my pregnancy – easier said than done! Grief, hormones and anxiety are a horrendous combination and fail to create rational thinking.

I wouldn’t get anything ready or prepared and got angry when people would talk about my impending life change with the arrogance all would be ok. They’d talk about the sleepless nights, as if to hear my baby would cry wouldn’t be the sweetest sound I ever heard.

I was induced at 38 weeks and thankfully gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Milly Hope. Paul and I were overjoyed. Life is now amazing. I still have ups and downs; nothing will make us forget Finlay.

Parenthood exceeds my expectations and I can now say I am so grateful to Finlay for the lessons having and knowing him has taught me. I think it has made me a far better mum than I otherwise could have hoped to be. I still miss him every day, but Paul and I consider him to be the cement in our little family. We have learnt who our friends are (good and bad) and know we are incredibly lucky to have our support network.

Pregnancy after stillbirth is so hard, but so worth it. It’s awful losing a baby, really awful, but life is a roller coaster and losing a baby may make the lows lower, but definitely makes the highs higher – the further you fall the higher you bounce!

Baby Amber-Willow

rainbow-spring-fullMy daughter Amber-Willow is a rainbow baby. She is five months old and has just started to wean having this week tried pear, apple, butternut squash, sweet potato, toast, beans, soup and this morning some of my pain au chocolat. Like her dad and brothers she would rather give broccoli a miss!

Amber-Willow aka Spider Pickle (as named by her youngest brother, Alfred) has a gorgeous smile which she happily shares and a delightful laugh that just brightens up my day. Alfred is very loving to his sister, often wanting to hold her and often first to hug her if she starts to cry!

During my wife’s pregnancy it was difficult for us both. Having lost our baby at a late stage there was no point at which we were able to relax. We are so grateful for the support we had from our consultant, the midwives and from SPRING. We had regular appointments with our consultant who was very straight forward and kept us informed along the way. The midwives at the Royal Bournemouth were happy for us to come in whenever we were worried about the baby and reassured us it was not a problem even if we came in every day – we didn’t, but we did make a few trips for checks on her heart beat.

The SPRING counsellors helped us to deal with our fears and Gena gave us a tour of Poole Maternity Hospital so we didn’t need to join a group of expectant mums and dads who would be blissfully unaware of any potential loss.

My wife still finds it hard to put Amber-Willow in the cot at night and has been known to wake her, checking to make sure she is alright. Her elder brothers who are 18 and 15 are always happy to cuddle her and take interest in her.

I often think of my other daughter, Saffron-Rose, and wonder what she would be like and I thank her for the growth she gives me, for showing me how important my children are and for helping me to make the most of every moment.

Baby Harry

rainbow-spring-fullMarch 5 2010 changed my life – the day I was told to decide whether to continue my pregnancy or not. Undoubtedly the hardest decision I will ever make (I hope!). Knowing that if my baby survived birth, she would die within a few hours, was all I needed to know to decide that I couldn’t bear to see her in pain just so I could hold her.

I was 24 weeks pregnant when I gave birth to Lucy May, my sleeping angel, on 31 March 2010. Nothing can prepare you for the heartache as I looked at her perfectly formed little face and know that she was never meant for this world.

I was introduced to SPRING and although I didn’t use all their services initially, I always felt reassured just knowing there were people who would listen to me and understand what I was feeling. I often spoke to Gena for advice and reassurance. I used the website to read how other parents had dealt with their loss and this helped me to know I wasn’t alone and wasn’t the only person who felt how I did. In fact I still look at the website even now when I have moments of self-doubt about the decision I made. In time I looked at the photos that had been taken of Lucy by Gina when she was born. I am so very grateful for those few keepsakes.

This year I gave birth to Harry James, my Rainbow Baby! The pregnancy was a difficult time as they couldn’t reassure me that everything would be okay until he was born. Thankfully he is perfect! For months after his birth I would find myself crying with guilt that I was happy, when I thought I should still be mourning Lucy. Since having Harry I have become more actively involved with SPRING and have attended more of the events, either as a helper or just a cake baker! This involvement has helped me balance my feelings of joy at having Harry, but still missing Lucy. This year I intend to go to the Christmas service and spend a few minutes remembering my beautiful baby girl. I like knowing that I can go to these special occasions and spend precious moments remembering my baby girl with other parents who are also remembering their angels.

SPRING helped me at my lowest point with their advice, support, shoulder to cry on and the events they organise but they also supported me to go on and have Harry, and for that I will always be grateful. I have met some of the most wonderful people and despite the awfulness of the situation I will cherish these new bonds. This is why I have decided to become more involved with SPRING to know that I am doing something positive to help other people who suffer a similar experience.

Baby Jacob

rainbow-spring-fullAt the beginning of December 2010, I discovered that I was pregnant again. We were already blessed to have a daughter; Megan aged five, and our angel Baby Katie was born in April 2010. Over the next few weeks, we told no one. Too scared that something could go wrong we kept putting off telling people. Hit with feeling sick all day, I managed to put on an act, although a few close friends had already guessed that I was pregnant. Ironically, one of the first people I told was my secretary as she became concerned at how “peaky” I was looking!

Throughout this time, we continued to see our SPRING counsellor, Cindy which helped to keep us sane. Having a counsellor who is experienced in baby loss is so important as they truly understand what you are going through. In particular, we found scans very stressful. Katie had a fatal abnormality which was picked up at 16 weeks. Sitting in the waiting room with other expectant mums was hard. All around us were people excited about their pregnancies, in their own little world, naive that sometimes things do go wrong. When we eventually told Megan, she was excited but also concerned that this baby would die too. One day, Megan came home from school with a picture on which she had written “I hope this baby is born alive.” Our midwife spent lots of time listening to the heartbeat so that Megan was reassured.

During my pregnancy, we continued to attend SPRING meetings. I was worried how other people would react when they knew I was pregnant, but then I discovered that many of the other members were pregnant again too, which helped as we could talk about how we were feeling. People that attend SPRING understand in a way that others can’t.

Baby Jacob Elijah Knight was born on 13 August 2011. Some days I look at him and can’t quite believe that he is ours. Megan is a fantastic big sister and very helpful. We realise that we are very lucky to have two beautiful children, but will never forget our angel baby Katie. Our experiences have led to us becoming members of the SPRING Core Group in the hope that we can support this much valued charity and help others who find themselves in similar sad situations.