40 stories for #Sands40
40 stories for #Sands40, | 16 January 2019

As part of Sands 40th anniversary, we have collected 40 stories by 40 parents, family members and friends affected by the death of a baby, helping them cope and feel less isolated in their grief. These stories are powerful in helping us end the taboo of talking about baby loss and raise awareness of stillbirth and neonatal deaths. Discover 40 stories for #Sands40 

My name is Rebecca and I’d like to share my story on the loss of my baby boy Oliver.

We were so excited when we found out we were expecting a baby, my husband Jeff and daughter Isabel were over the moon.

We waited until the 12 week scan to break the news, Isabel was eight and thrilled at becoming a big sister. Our 20 week scan revealed we were having a boy.

My pregnancy up until 24 weeks was good. I was fit and healthy and baby was fine.

We carried on with life happily and it was on a visit to family 180 miles away that I went into labour at 26 weeks and three days.

After rushing to hospital, my waters broke in the back of the car outside the maternity wing. I knew I was in trouble.  I knew that the baby was coming and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

I’ll never forget the look on the doctor’s faces. I knew it was too early for my baby to arrive, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I could see fear in my husband’s face.

Oliver was born at 26 weeks and three days on 14 June 2015. We spent 24 days by his side as he fought to stay alive.  

Isabel spent all her time reading to him through the incubator hatch, such precious times.

Due to his prematurity, on July 8th 2015, Oliver passed away in my arms surrounded by family.

We spent precious hours with Oliver that night, taking hand and footprints, giving him a bath and cuddling him. There was no tubes or machines, he was peaceful.

I don’t know how we walked away from the hospital that night without our baby. How could our lives be turned upside down in just a few weeks, from buying a pram to organising a funeral?

Normal life was hard, seeing people, talking to people was harder. My husband went back to work and tried to resume some normality. 

The grief, the sadness, the wave of emotions is exhausting making normality extremely difficult, all the time wondering what if!

Explaining to our eight-year-old daughter was the most heart-breaking thing of all. I remember a neonatal nurse passing me a Sands leaflet on supporting children when a baby dies.

Where did we start? We managed to find the words and allow Isabel to ask as many questions as she wanted, answering them the best we could.

Life rumbled on, ups and downs, sadness rolled into remembering the precious time we had with Oliver.

Bereavement services unfortunately didn’t pick us up for a while, so we received no support. Sands advertised a new local group and I decided it might help.

The first meeting was hard but a relief, I could express my feelings and my emotions and learn to talk about my experience and my beautiful baby boy.  It was then I realised I wasn’t alone.

Isabel and Oliver
Picture: Rebecca's daughter Isabel meets her baby brother Oliver.

Sadly 1 in 4 pregnancies in the UK end in miscarriage or stillbirth. This means every 90 minutes a family experiences this devastating tragedy. We want to reduce this number, but we need your help. 


Support Sands today to help ensure that anyone affected by the death of a baby receives the care and support they need, whenever they need it.​​​​​ Be part of our ambition to reduce the number of babies dying. Thank you!

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