Born an Angel by Louisa Evans, May 2009
Please note: my living child is mentioned in this story.
Finnley, our first baby was born 10 weeks early on 09/07/06. I went into premature labour
without any warning and for no known reason. Finn was born 12 hours later, grey and silent.
Matt and I watched in shock as the medical team resuscitated and ventilated him and whisked
him off to neonatal ITU. Thanks to the skills of the team Finn's life was saved. Family and
friends came to visit, filled with fear and trepidation - they'd hug us silently, desperately hoping
that Finn would be OK. The word Congratulations was never spoken in those early days. After
6.5 weeks Finn came home. We were so grateful to the hospital and felt incredibly lucky that
our son had made it. Other babies hadn't.
When we found out I was pregnant with our second child in May 2008 I said to my husband and
friends - I want helium balloons, champagne, the full works this time round when the baby's
born. I want to make up for last time. The reality couldn't have been any further from my
dreams. It was a living nightmare. Just over 3 weeks from my baby's due date I went into labour
at home and half an hour later suffered a sudden massive haemorrhage. Within 5 minutes of calling 999 there were 3
paramedics in my bedroom, drips hurriedly being put in, a controlled sense of urgency, blue light journey to hospital with
my husband following in the car, blissfully unaware of what was to follow.
Neither of us will ever forget the deafening silence of the Doppler machine as it was moved over my belly, trying to pick up
a heartbeat that was no longer there. And I will never forget the howling and wailing of my husband as we were told that
our baby had died.
Finns baby sister, our desperately wanted daughter, Lauren Maya was born four hours later after a rapid, agonizing labour.
She was 5lb 10.5oz, perfectly formed, beautiful beyond belief, pink and warm, but totally silent, born an angel.
There are no words to describe the horror of having to go through labour knowing that there will be no present to take
home at the end of it. No words to even begin to describe how it feels to hold the baby that you have carried for almost 9
months, and watch her turn pale, feel her go cold in your arms. Hopes and dreams for a perfect, happy family, shattered in
an instant. Cruel beyond belief, and heartbreaking beyond comprehension.
21 hours after Lauren was born my husband and I were back at home, staring at the empty nursery, feeling totally shocked,
numb and lost. We immersed ourselves in the funeral arrangements, obsessing over every last detail, desperate to be doing
something for our daughter and to get everything just perfect. But once the funeral had been and gone the awful reality
began to seep into our numbed brains and we were totally devastated.
I felt every emotion known to man - overwhelming sadness and heartache, anger, bitterness, guilt………the days were so dark
and so incredibly difficult to get through. I missed our daughter desperately and my sense of loneliness and isolation was
immense. Matt found great comfort in Finn and for the first week or two had to be both mummy and daddy to him. Much as
I loved and adored Finn, I was suddenly petrified of losing him too and just couldn't get close. And to be honest, all I wanted
was my baby girl. Thankfully, those feelings passed quite quickly and not an hour goes by when I don't remind myself how
unbelievably lucky I am to have Finn.
Family and friends were wonderful and a fantastic support from the start, but sadly
no-one can begin to know or understand the pain we were going through unless they
have been through a similar experience themselves. And that is where Sands has
been my saviour.
Working in the health care profession myself, I was already aware of Sands and a
couple of weeks after Lauren died I phoned Derby SANDS, and for the first time, was
able to speak to someone who truly understood how I felt, because she too had lost
her precious baby daughter.
I attended the February support group meeting and it was such an enormous relief to share my story with a small, friendly
group who had all been through a similar experience to me and therefore really knew what I was going through. I have been
to the meetings every month since then and am finding that I really look forward to seeing and chatting with my new
friends. The group is very informal and relaxed, and we talk about anything and everything. We laugh, we cry, and we share
our thoughts, feelings and emotions. There's no pressure to talk at all, sometimes all you feel like is sitting quietly and
listening to others. The group really has been invaluable to me. I have also found the Sands website and discussion forum a
great comfort and go on the website most days to chat with other parents and read their stories.
Sands has helped me to realize that Matt and I are not alone - far from it. There are too many parents who have been
through similar and often worse experiences than ours but we never seem to hear about it. 17 babies die every single day in
the UK either just before / during birth or within the first 4 weeks of life. Appalling statistics but true. That's 17 new
families that are experiencing the same devastation that we are every day - it sickens me to the core.
And now, five months on……People say I'm coping well, that I'm brave and strong. The truth: as the weeks and months have
gone on nothing has changed, the feelings are all still there and if I let them out, they are just as strong as ever, if not
worse. It's just that I have had no choice but to learn to hide them, to tuck them away and I've become very skilled at
saying to people what they want to hear. It's so much easier to say "I'm OK" instead of telling the truth.
The outsider will look at us and see a family of three. But on January 9th 2009 we became a family of four, and we always
will be. Our precious baby Lauren will never ever be forgotten and she can never be replaced. We will love and miss her
every day for the rest of our lives and our hearts will never recover from our loss.
Supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby and
promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives
Charity registration number 299679