#stillborn campaign - Jessica's story of IUGR

Published on: 26/01/2016

We had what was deemed as a textbook pregnancy and were due to be induced on December 22 2013 at 41+4 weeks. I had gone into natural labour at lunchtime and got to the hospital that evening. I hadn’t felt Jessica move that day but I thought that was normal as my uterus was contracting and it would be uncomfortable for her.

When the midwife was looking for her heartbeat and couldn’t find it, I didn’t panic, as she was such a wriggler and midwives always found trouble trying to find her heartbeat because she was so active. But before we knew it there was a swarm of doctors round our bed and I could see her still heart on the screen. The midwife held my hand and said ‘I’m so sorry for your loss, your baby has died’.

nicoleOur world fell apart and my husband and I just held each other and cried. We were encouraged to have a natural delivery which would be safer and cause less complications for future pregnancies.

Two days later, at 10:45pm on December 24, I delivered Jessica who weighed just 5lb 10oz. My husband saw the midwife look up at the clock and mouth ‘thank god’ as it wasn’t yet Christmas Day. I felt that the act of giving birth to her was my last bodily tribute.

I didn’t want to see her at first as I was scared. The midwife came back in to the room a few minutes later and said that she was beautiful, there was nothing wrong with her, and that we’d regret not seeing her. I knew instantly that I wanted to see her and have her back with us.

We agreed to a post-mortem as wanted to find out why she died, and also for the future pregnancies to know what to look out for. The results came back inconclusive. She was a healthy baby, with nothing major wrong with her, but they thought she may had been growth restricted.

We left the hospital on Christmas day, without a baby in our arms.

I keep thinking to myself what would I have done differently. Could I have saved her life? Was it my fault? When did things go wrong? I feel like I failed her when I should have had that motherly gut instinct and protected her. If only I knew then what I know now. The importance of monitoring your babies movements and reporting any irregularity, whether it’s an increase or decrease in movements.

Our rainbow baby, Tristan, was born exactly a year to the day that we found out Jessica had died, on December 22nd 2014. Again, we had a textbook pregnancy, but because of what had happened with Jessica we demanded scans every 2 weeks from when I was 24 weeks pregnant and had every test possible could to ensure his health and safety.

If we increased scans and monitoring in the third trimester as standard in the UK I have NO doubt that this would help reduce stillbirths and help babies in trouble.

Nicole Regan-White