#stillBORN Campaign - Heidi's Story

Published on: 27/03/2017

‘I’m sorry Rachel but we’re going to have to deliver the twins now; we can only find one heartbeat’ That moment my world crashed down around me. I was 29 weeks pregnant with identical twin girls. This was not how it was supposed to be, they weren’t supposed to be making an appearance until I was 36 weeks.

rachel-kowalski3A few hours before those words were said to me; I was sat at my work desk for my final day before taking some leave and then going onto maternity leave. As I drove home I realised I hadn’t felt my rather active twins much, in fact I wasn’t sure if I had felt them at all. My pregnancy was high risk but I wasn’t worried. I had had a scan a couple of days before and both girls had been fine. However the lack of movement still played on my mind; I knew any reduction in movement could be a concern and so at 9pm whilst my little boy was tucked up in bed we got a babysitter and headed up to the hospital. I lay on a bed hooked up to monitors for hours; I saw numerous medical staff all desperately searching for that second heartbeat but it wasn’t there. One of my girls had died and they didn’t know why so they had to act fast. Before I knew it I was agreeing to an emergency c section and I was delivering my babies. There are no words to describe how you feel at that time. I guess you do just feel numb. Heartbroken. Lost. Scared. I was scared about what was to come; my other twin wasn’t ready to come out now, I knew there would be complications for her too.

rachel-kowalski-2My beautiful baby girls were born on 30th July within minutes of each other. Heidi was born sleeping and she was put straight in my arms. She was beautiful. Her sister, Lydia was rushed off to the Neonatal ward; she was fighting for her life and she needed a lot of help. I saw a little hand as they wheeled her away from me. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

The next few hours were a blur. Because I was recovering from the c section I couldn’t go to see Lydia. We spent 24 hours with our precious Heidi before she was taken away. I am so very thankful for those 24 hours. I will never forget it. The next 9 weeks were spent with daily trips to Neonatal to visit Lydia and being with my 4 year old little boy. She did amazingly, every day she was a little bit stronger. There were lots of set backs but she made it in the end and is now a healthy 7 month old. I am so very proud of her. If it wasn’t for me noticing the lack of movements and acting on it quickly I might have lost her too and that doesn’t bare thinking about. It’s so important to know about during pregnancy.

rachel-kowalskiSince losing Heidi, life has been hard. There is nothing that prepares you in life when you lose a baby. You get to know them when they are in your tummy. Lydia was the bottom twin and with an anterior placenta I didn’t feel her often but Heidi kicked and kicked me in the ribs all night every night. She made her presence known! I will treasure those kicks. Losing a baby still carries such a stigma; people are still scared to talk about it when actually that’s all the parents of these beautiful little angels want to do. We want to talk about them. We want to say our babies names. We aren’t just statistics; those babies were ours and they are loved.
Rachel Kowalski