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
In 2010 I fell pregnant with my first child, Jake. I was a healthy 23 year old and looking forward to having my first baby.
At 25 weeks pregnant I was feeling well, and my scans hadn’t shown anything worrying. I remember having a busy morning and as I lay down for a rest, I had a horrifying feeling that I hadn't felt many kicks that day.
Panic set in but my partner and family all reassured me that I had probably just missed the kicks because I had been busy, or that baby was in an awkward position.
I wish more than anything now that I had just gone straight to the hospital and listened to my gut instincts.
I didn't sleep at all that night, I just sat there desperate for that kick I had been waiting for, but it never came.
Even when I decided in the early hours of the morning to go to the hospital my partner still thought everything would be fine. The heart monitor placed on my belly was deafeningly silent.
I just stared at the midwife watching her reaction as she went to get a scanning machine. When she came back with a doctor I knew what they were about to say to me. I'm so sorry but there’s no heartbeat. My baby had gone.
The pain of being delivered that news was utterly soul destroying, there really is no way to describe being told such devastating news.
I vaguely remember the doctor saying I had to give birth and completely freaking out. How could they expect me to give birth and see my beautiful baby no longer alive?
The bereavement midwife from Sands was amazing throughout and explained all about the family room I could spend some time in with Jake after. I must admit I thought this was weird and turned it down at first, the thought of even looking at my baby petrified me.
When I first set eyes on him something happened that I wasn't expecting, I felt complete and utter love consume me. He was perfect to look at, beautiful and peaceful.
I was so proud to call him mine and wanted to show him to the world. I wanted to look at every bit of him, breath him all in and cuddle him all night. The night we spent in the family room with him I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Having the opportunity to have that special time with him as a little family before saying goodbye meant everything to me and if it wasn't for Sands we would not have had those memories.
The midwife dressed him beautifully and had even taken his hand prints which I now cherish dearly along with a memory box I was gifted by Sands. It means so much to me that I have these little things because you don’t really think about at the time.
I often wonder why it happened, unfortunately results were inconclusive. But I do know I was meant to meet him and I was meant to be his mummy.
He will always be my first born son and I will always keep his memory alive. He showed me what it is to love unconditionally and even though I am now blessed with two more children I will always keep my little angel boy close to my heart.
Jake Ashley born asleep 12th July 2010.
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.