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 February 2016 we were pregnant again. We already had Oliver, 2.
My 12-week scan went well, so we believed the scary bit was over.
A few days later we set off to Cornwall. The sun was shining, and life was good.
Shortly after arriving we had a call from a screening nurse. I could hardly hold my phone as my hands were shaking.
My blood tests indicated potential problems with our baby. I could feel my baby kicking about inside of me so it felt impossible.
We met our consultant and after a scan (we found out he was a boy) she offered an amniocentesis test. She had never seen results as high as mine and we were at high risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
Following the procedure, we waited for a call. I knew it was bad news as soon as I heard her voice. The rest of the call was a blur. Our baby was poorly.
I was screaming and shouting begging for it to be a dream. I was literally pinching myself, trying to wake up.
We met the consultant again she explained our little boy had significant chromosomal abnormalities.
We had a decision to make. She mentioned ‘medical management’, medication that would induce early labour, our baby wouldn’t and couldn’t survive this.
I spoke to a charity called ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices). The charity helped me to realise I wasn’t responsible for any of what was happening. There was no right or wrong answer.
We reached a decision and I’m not going to justify it. Unless you’ve been there you have no right to judge a parent in our position. It was hell and something we will never get over.
I begged them to put me to sleep. I couldn’t deliver him only to lose him. Sadly, the safest way to ‘manage’ the end of my pregnancy was for me to go through labour.
When I remember what happened next, I don’t feel like it happened to me. I took the medication to start the process. Mum and Matt held my hands tightly and I heard a howling. It took a moment to realise the noise was coming from me.
We went home and a crampy feeling started which meant the process had begun. The next day we went to the forget-me-not bereavement suite.
We went through every emotion possible in that room. I’d never been so scared in my life.
I was given morphine for the physical pain but nothing could numb the emotional pain.
Just after midnight he was born. He was alive. You could see his chest moving with the beat of his heart. He lifted his tiny hand on top of mine.
Jacob Matthew Plant.
We talked to him and cuddled him. He weighed less than 1lb. 90 minutes after he was born as his little body gave up fighting.
The following morning we said goodbye. We were given a memory box and somehow left him behind. Family and friends rallied around. All I wanted to do was to talk about him.
At his funeral I wore a blue dress. I didn’t want anyone wearing black.
When his tiny coffin was taken out of the car I heard a collective intake of breath from our families. In that moment, for them, it became real.
Two years later I have been blessed with my healthy rainbow baby, Joshua Jacob Henry Plant, who was born on 16th January 2018.
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.