Lilly was my third pregnancy. I have a daughter Hannah who is eight years old and a son Liam who is five.
We found out I was pregnant in September 2010 and everything seemed to be going fine. We had the 12 week scan on the 21st of December, an early Christmas surprise! Again, everything was fine which was such a relief, as I’d had a fall, in the heavy snow we had in November.
On the 18th of January, I had a Midwife appointment as that was me at my 16 week milestone. I was really looking forward to hearing the heartbeat! My mum came with me, along with my son. The Midwife took my obs which were fine, then felt my fundus (the part of my uterus that could be palpated abdominally) but was having trouble getting a proper trace. She just said it was very faint, so she wanted me to go to the hospital to be on the safe side. At this point most people would be worried, but this happened with my eldest daughter so I assumed everything would be fine.
When we arrived, I was taken into a treatment room. They put me on a monitor to check my pulse. The Midwife wasn’t happy, so she sent us down to the scan room for further checks. At that point, I knew something was wrong. I told my mum to get hold of my husband.
He met us down at reception and my mum went to pick up my daughter from school. We were sitting in the waiting room and my heart sank when they called my name. At first, I refused to go in. Looking back, I realise I knew something was wrong and I just didn’t want it confirmed as then it would make it painfully real. The lady we saw, asked for my details and keyed them in. The screen came up and we saw the baby. She measured the baby at this point and asked “how many weeks did you say you were”? “Sixteen” I replied, at which point my husband squeezed my hand (he was watching the screen from a different angle). She turned the monitor round and then turned up the volume. Then she said the dreadful words “I am so sorry sweetheart”. I remember screaming from the roof tops and sobbing, sobbing to the point where there were no tears left for me to cry. She had to have it confirmed by another lady, which just prolonged the agony, as part of me was hoping I would hear a heartbeat.
We were taken into the family room to be told by the consultant that I would need to give birth to the baby. Both my husband and I were not happy about this, as I had had my eldest daughter by emergency C-section and my son by a planned section. The thought of going through a natural birth in such very sad circumstances, was something I dreaded. The consultant looked up from her notes and said to us “I understand, but you need your womb to be empty”. I wanted to slap her, how dare she? The Midwife came back with a tablet and told me to come back on the Friday morning the 21st January, at 10am.
The Wednesday and Thursday were two unbearably long days but having said that, I can’t really remember anything about them. My mum came with me on the Friday, as my husband couldn’t manage. We were shown into a side room and the Midwife introduced herself. She was really lovely. She was shocked and angry that nobody had given us any information on the options available to us with regard to the baby burial or cremation. This added to an already terribly difficult time as I then had to phone my husband to discuss our options. The tablets were given to me around 11am and our daughter, who we named Lilly, was born at 2.30pm. She was completely perfect. I spent a couple of hours with her, giving her lots of kisses and cuddles. The hospital took some photos. I don’t think I would have coped with any part of this painful experience without my mum being there. It was so special to be able to share and have those special moments with my mum and her granddaughter. I was discharged at 8pm.
I will never forget seeing my husband’s face when I came home and while showing him the pictures he said “Just perfect”. I hated leaving Lilly, but kept cuddling the SiMBA blanket to bring me some comfort.
She was laid to rest on the 8th of February at Loaninghill Cemetery. I think having the service and seeing my husband carry the coffin made it all the more real and brought so many more feelings to the surface. It was so lovely to share that day with close friends and family who were and always have been a massive support to us both.
The post-mortem took 16 weeks to come back and the results showed my baby was a girl and the cord was round her neck twice. That was the only indication as to what had caused her death.
In January 2011, in the run up to Lilly’s first anniversary, I joined the SANDS West Lothian group after my friend Heather, who was always there for me with a shoulder to cry on when I needed it, found the group in the local newspaper. My husband has been my rock through all this and I don’t know where I would be without him. The shared sad loss of our daughter has brought us closer and made us even stronger. He gave me a lot of encouragement to attend the meeting. It was the best thing I ever did and I did it at just the right time. When I first went and heard the other parents stories, I thought my loss was only at 16 weeks whereas all theirs were further on but the team at SANDS completely reassured me that it was fine and since then the meetings and the help I have got though SANDS have brought me a lot of comfort and support.
I was amazed at how many people were there and they had all lost a baby too and understood how I was feeling. They know exactly what to say at the right time, when you need it the most. This was such a comfort as often family and friends try to say the right thing but can unwittingly make things worse. The ladies at the meeting and myself all share something in common and a title “Angel Mummies” I have formed friendships with these fantastic ladies that will last a lifetime and I can’t thank SANDS Lothians enough.