40 stories for #Sands40
40 stories for #Sands40, | 7 November 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 during 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.

On Wednesday 20th December 2017 I went into hospital with reduced movement.

I was seen by a student midwife Beth (she was so lovely). She put me on the monitor to try and find my baby son’s heartbeat but we couldn't find it.

But as he normally lay back to back this was always harder to find, so she called another midwife and decided to get me a scan, so we moved to a different room to see a consultant and another midwife.

At this point I knew something wasn't quite right. It was silent and you couldn’t hear a pin drop to which at that point I said: “Oh this is quite scary isn't it?”

They all apologised and said it was so the consultant could concentrate. That's when she took my hand and told me there was no heartbeat and that he had passed away.

I didn't know what to do. I screamed. I cried. I was heartbroken. I was 35 weeks so I was so near the end.

We then got moved to the Snowdrop bereavement suite to discuss everything that would happen. I went home that night after taking a tablet to stop the hormones.

I went back in Friday morning (22nd December) to start the induction process. I had a midwife called Jo she was lovely and so accommodating. Nothing was too much trouble.

She kept popping back to check on us but all we could do was wait for the tablets to work. I had to take one tablet every four hours and four times during that time.  

The midwife Charley chatted with me at 3am, listened to me, watched me cry and didn't judge me at all. She was amazing.

My first induction didn't work. I was gutted heartbroken and tired. All I wanted was my baby but I also just wanted to be home for Christmas Day for my other two children Noah and Belle.

It was at 11pm on 23rd December when I started my second set of inductions. I was hopeful that this one would work but I was nervous too.

I had a midwife called Susan and through that night she sat with me kept me hopeful my contractions were finally starting and she was helping me get through them.

About 5am she came in with a little white knitted blanket her friend had made which had been donated to the Snowdrop Suite, and she chose to give it to us which was such a lovely thought.

It was now Christmas Eve and my contractions were in full swing and I was on my fifth and sixth midwifes, Katy and Sam.  I knew Sam as she delivered my son Noah back in 2011 and it was so nice to see a friendly face.

Katy and Sam were amazing and got me through what was the hardest labour I've been through. I gave birth to Reuben William (little Roo) at 11.07 and he weighed 5lb 13oz.

Every midwife I had while I was in hospital over those four days were amazing and I literally can’t thank them enough for their love and support.

If I didn't have these midwives I don't know how I would have got through what I did. They kept me going when I felt like I was failing and couldn’t do it. And then there's Sam and Jo the bereavement team who were great.

The Snowdrop Suite is a massive asset to the hospital. It's separate to the delivery ward and very private. We got second to none care whilst we were in there.

Since we left the hospital the care we have received from them has been OK but not great. But I have found great help and love from the Derby Sands support group.

Kate at Sands has been amazing and nothing is ever too much trouble and I never feel like I can't message her. I can't thank Sands enough for all their support so far.  The care has been second to none.

I have already held a coffee morning to raise funds for the charity which raised £754. We also raised £565 in August by taking part in the Big Fun Run Derby.  

I will continue to raise awareness as stillbirth is not spoken about enough.

Thank you Sands!

Emma Whiting
Picture: Emma Whiting's bracelet and pictures of baby Reuben.

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

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