Supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby and
promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives
Charity registration number 299679
10 May 2011, those few minutes which feel never ending, waiting for the test to give you a result……POSITIVE! We were
expecting our second child, a brother or sister for T, we were over the moon. Days and weeks passed and after our dating
scan we told our family and friends the joyous news.
As the months passed I got bigger and bigger. I loved being pregnant, what an amazing and fascinating process, I was, am
still, amazed how babies develop week by week. Our 20 week scan date arrived and we were nervous, our firstborn had
two soft markers at his 20 week scan and required additional monitoring until birth but no such markers were visible and
we were reassured all was well.
Kicks and wriggles came in abundance, our healthy baby giving us no cause for concern. I was measuring ahead for my
dates and kept having sugar in my urine, but this wasn’t abnormal for me – it happened with my previous pregnancy but
the midwife sent me for a GTT test just to be sure. No diabetes, I was absolutely fine. At 30 weeks still measuring rather
large for dates I was sent for a growth scan…baby measuring a normal size and no concerns. We appreciated the
monitoring but were confident it was unnecessary – our baby was growing just fine.
Christmas came, a wonderful time of year, we opened presents with our almost 2 year old, telling him how exciting it
would be next year with a brother or sister to open presents with! We visited family and I enjoyed putting my feet up,
having everyone run around while I rested, because I wasn’t going to get the chance to do so for a while.
New Year’s Eve…….I hadn’t felt our baby move much that day and I was getting a lot of tightenings across my bump,
perhaps slow labour I thought, it was almost time! I wasn’t concerned at the lack of movement, we had had a busy day
and perhaps I’d just missed it and it was during the evening, when I went to bed that I’d feel most movement so I didn’t
worry and looked forward to the wriggles keeping me awake at night. Midnight came, Happy New Year! I was shattered
after staying up to see the New Year in with my husband so we retired to bed and I fell fast asleep.
It was the next morning when I woke with a start realising I hadn’t felt the baby move because I’d gone straight to sleep.
We were up and about early and went for a walk in the local park to see if baby would get moving then….nothing…I came
home and jumped in the bath, that always worked. Nothing. I rang the hospital, praying I was in labour, that the
tightenings were signs the baby was on its way and I couldn’t feel movement because of them…
We made our way to hospital on New Year’s Day 2012. A quick call to my mum who was expecting us for dinner to let her
know we’d be late, just having a check-up at the hospital…. It was pouring with rain. POURING. I’ll never forget the
weather that day. Our world came crashing down just as the rain was crashing outside. Silence on the monitor, another
machine the midwife suggested. I knew at that point. My husband tried to reassure me. But I knew. I was offered a
wheelchair to take me to Labour Ward. I refused. I could walk, I just wanted them to tell me what was happening. But
they wouldn’t. I knew.
The consultant on call that day confirmed what I had known since the midwife received silence on her monitor. I didn’t
react at first. It was like it was happening to someone else. I just got up and went to be alone.
We were sent home from hospital to return two days later for labour to be induced. It was surreal and I just hoped for a
miracle. That somehow, they’d got it wrong. That our baby would arrive screaming and they had got it wrong. James
arrived silently on 4 January 2012. He was 6lb 6 and pure perfection, nothing to suggest what went wrong. We spent two
days at the hospital with him, making memories, I didn’t want to leave. Sands provided a beautiful memory box and a
wonderful team of midwives at the hospital helped us to create memories of him which will we treasure forever. They
can’t be certain but the results from the various tests suggested my placenta was on the small side and James didn’t
reach his full growth potential. IUGR is the medical term. I couldn’t understand it, I was measuring large and he was
checked at 30 weeks and growing well…how could it have all gone wrong?
The guilt I felt was enormous, nobody could tell me why and so it had to be my fault, or at least that is how I felt. I
suffered anxiety and panic and struggled to leave the house. I couldn’t imagine living my life without our beautiful baby,
how were we expected to carry on after burying our child? Giving birth to death….. it sounds shocking…..it IS shocking. I
felt so alone but soon came to realise that we were not alone. Through the online Sands forum I realised that this
happens far too often and we are just one of 17 families EVERY DAY who lose their precious baby. The support I found
from other bereaved parents, chatting to people who understood the consuming grief, guilt, panic, anger, denial and
every other emotion you can think of, was invaluable. No one can truly understand, unless it has happened to them. It
happened to us. And we understand.
A Rainbow Baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a
rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What
it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds
may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of colour, energy and hope.
We were monitored very closely throughout our subsequent pregnancy and I dealt with it very differently. I didn’t
announce it to friends, I didn’t want to hear congratulations until my baby was here and screaming in my arms, I didn’t
want to hear what happy news it was, because it wasn’t, not yet, it was terrifying and scary and I just didn’t know what
was going to happen. Obviously I wanted our baby so very much but I was scared at what might happen. These feelings
are difficult to manage but through Sands I was able to talk to other bereaved parents experiencing the same and it
helped enormously. I was induced at 37 weeks and our third baby arrived healthy on 2 March 2013.
The mixed emotions I experienced after the birth of our third child were difficult to handle, happiness that he was here
safe, sadness that his brother was not, the grief and guilt knocked me sideways and I called on other bereaved parents
again for support, they understood – that I was not replacing James and he will never ever be forgotten. That our family
will never be complete and there will always be one person missing. I will miss him forever.
Meeting/speaking to other bereaved families makes you realise you are not alone, that the feelings you experience are
normal, there is no right and wrong way to grieve and that you can get support at any stage, whether it has been a week,
two months or two years since your precious baby died. Whether you are trying again, have had more children or have
chosen or are sadly unable to have more children. Sands are here for you and if you are reading this and needing support,
do not hesitate: email or attend a group. You are not alone xxxxxxx
Written by James’ mummy, November 2014