40 stories for #Sands40
40 stories for #Sands40, | 25 June 2018

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 in June to coincide with 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 would like to share with you the story of our beautiful daughter Isabelle.

Our beautiful Izzy was born sleeping on the 30th July 2016. She was full term and a hefty 9lb 8oz. She was absolutely perfect. 

We were both over the moon to finally meet our daughter and devastated beyond words at having to say goodbye all at the same time.  

We were over the moon when we found out we were pregnant. Having been told at 15 years old that I would never naturally conceive. She was our little miracle. 

We were so prepared for her to be part of our lives and make our family more complete. When this didn't happen we didn't know how we were ever going to cope with normal life again.

Vikki Stokes, Isabelle

The day I was told our daughter no longer had a heartbeat was the worst day of my life. Part of me went with her that day. 

I had my first episode of reduced movements with Izzy at 34 weeks. I went to the hospital and was put on the monitor and there she was, heart beating away loud and proud. There are no words for the amount of relief I felt. 

Izzy had her set routine of movements throughout the day so I was always aware when she didn't move as much as she normally would of. At 38 weeks I had reduced movements with Izzy again.

Off we went to hospital, again we found her, heart beating away. I went in a further three times that week with reduced movements.

I was told by the doctors and midwives that it was bound to happen that close to her due date. I now wish that I hadn't listened to them and put my foot down more instead of worrying about 'making a fuss'. 

I had a few other days were her movements were less. Being told it was 'normal' though I didn't go back to the hospital. I wish I had though. The fourth time I went in it was too late and my gorgeous girl had gone. 

I remember being told that I would still have to give birth to her. I was put on a hormone drip for 48 hours. My labour wouldn't start.

We were then given an option of a C-Section. We decide that that was the best option for us as the thought of waiting any longer knowing that our daughter would be born sleeping was too much for us. 

It was the happiest and saddest time when my daughter was placed in my arms. We were lucky to be able to spend some time with her and we got a memory box to take home with us. 

We came home the next day. It was devastating coming home and seeing her nursery that was waiting for her and all other things that were waiting for her. 

The first few months were a bit of a blur and I really didn't think I would be able to cope. 

We found out about Sands and I contacted them. They helped in our healing process. Family and friends found it very difficult to talk about Izzy.

Unfortunately babyloss is still something that isn't spoken about as freely as I think it should be. I love talking about Izzy and letting people know that I have a daughter. 

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Izzy but I can now think about her, yes with sadness but also with pride and happiness. She was and still is the most beautiful little girl I've ever seen. 

It's coming up to two years since we had to say goodbye but although 'time is a healer' we will never ever forget her or stop talking about her. 

She is now a big sister and we know that she would be so proud of her little brother. 

Photo: Vikki Stokes' baby daughter, Isabelle. 

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 #FindingTheWords initiative now to help ensure a bereaved parent doesn't have to cope alone. Thank you. 

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