40 stories for #Sands40
40 stories for #Sands40, | 26 December 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.

The day my beautiful little girl Alice was born sleeping was the best and worst day of my life.

I had a pretty regular pregnancy no real issues, in fact was a pretty easy pregnancy.

Until her due date I had started having contractions and still all seemed fine. I didn’t suspect anything was wrong until I arrived at the hospital. They were doing their routine checks when I saw the nurse's face turn white as she excused herself from the room.

She came back with a doctor and a scan machine and I just knew. My husband and mum were trying to reassure me, until the doctor came out with the sentence that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

"There is no heartbeat" he said. I don’t really remember a lot in the next few minutes. I know I screamed and I cried a lot. I also remember repeatedly apologising to my husband convinced it was something I had done.

After a little while I just remember being silent. We were then moved to the bereavement suite.

My contractions had completely stopped. I guess it was the shock. I just remember cradling my stomach convinced they were wrong and that I’d feel her move at any moment. That never happened.

Once she was born I weirdly felt so happy and proud of my beautiful tiny little baby. I just held her and stared at her for hours. We dressed her in an outfit that was planned to be her coming home outfit. Family came to see her and we took pictures and made memories.

There had to be a time that I had to leave the hospital without my baby. That's when it hit me. I cried and cried and my whole body hurt to be away from her. That's when my heart shattered.

In the weeks after Alice’s birth lots of people were so lovely and kind and donated money, which we donated to Sands and other charities that helped us through the worst time in our lives.

Picture: John and Lindzi Gittins and baby Alice

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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