40 stories for #Sands40
40 stories for #Sands40, | 5 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.

Elsie Buchanan, with the button nose

My husband and I got married in September 2015 and immediately wanted to start our family.

After two miscarriages, you can imagine how excited we were to get past the ‘risky’ stage. We had more hope than ever that we would be bringing our baby Buchanan into the world. And we did that, our beautiful, adorable, peaceful, button nosed Elsie Buchanan was born on the 28th April 2018.

We just didn’t get to bring her home with us. She was born at 30 weeks, and I just couldn’t believe it when we found out she had died. It seems you are never passed the ‘risky’ stage. A very hard lesson learned.

As we had had previous complications, I had regular check-ups at the hospital, always reassured by a scan or hearing Elsie’s heartbeat. I was positive. Excited. I was going to pregnancy yoga, aquanatal, hypnobirthing, reading ALL the books.

I had even got my hospital bag ready and picked out Elsie’s first outfit. My husband would talk to my bump every evening, tell the baby all about his day but mainly what was going on in the football world!

The cot was built, outfits and vests and nappies right up to six months. Car seat, toys, highchair, nursing chair, you name the baby product, we had it!  The pram was ready to go at my mother-in law’s house, that old wife’s tale of its ‘bad luck’ to have the pram in your home before the baby is born. Bad luck found us anyway.

My husband was at work the day I had a scan and I was told Elsie had died. He got up to the hospital instantly and we sat in a room crying together thinking why us? All we want is a baby to love and cherish.

We are surrounded with wonderful friends and family who have wonderful children, I just don’t know if we will ever be like them.

I will never forget the doctor coming in and saying ‘I am sorry that I have to give you the news that your baby is dead and you will need to go into induced labour in the next few days’. Dead. How can anyone process that sentence? Well we did.

And we arrived at Room 12 if the Princess Royal two days later to start my induced labour. A room that is commissioned by Simba, another stillborn charity. It was spacious and had everything we needed.

The labour was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Not because of the pain, but because I knew I was giving birth to our stillborn baby. I sincerely mean it when I say I would not have got through it without my husband’s love and support every second of being in Room 12.

Getting our memory box, as well as our own photos mean so much to us, getting to hold Elsie and give her a cuddle and a kiss. Getting to talk to her and stare at her are memories created that we will never forget.

A massive help for me has been Sands website, leaflets and online community. It’s given me strength at times and although it’s a cruel, cruel world that there are so many bereaved parents out there, Sands is giving us an opportunity to help each other through.

Sleep Easy Elsie B.

Picture - A floral tribute to baby Elsie

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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