#stillborn campaign - Oscar's story of excellent bereavement care
Published on: 25/01/2016
At the end of May in 2013 I was near full term in my first pregnancy. The pregnancy had been ‘text book’ and no problems had occurred. We had recently purchased our first home together and were ready for our family life to begin.
On the day I turned 38 weeks pregnant I woke up and remembered that my baby hadn’t had his usual dance that he had when I got into bed the night before, it made me feel uneasy but we had a routine midwife appointment at 1pm so we decided to just bring it up then that he was being a little sleepy.
The appointment came and the midwife and her student spent time struggling and trying to find a heartbeat, we were told not to worry and just pop down to the hospital where they would know that we were coming. I was calm and chose to drive with my husband and the student midwife up to the hospital. I believed that the worse possible outcome was that my baby would have to be born straight away in an emergency. A lovely matron was waiting for us and within seconds of the scan beginning, the sonographer sighed and told us she was sorry that our baby had died.
Words can’t really describe the emotions, the tears and the noises. They are unimaginable.
What I’d like to share is the moments of kindness and caring that made the time with our son a positive experience. We consider ourselves very lucky to have had excellent care from our midwives, each one completely different and bringing their own piece to our story.
When we first got onto the labour ward and we had been talked through the induction process, this lovely ray of light walked in called Natalie. She brought us a little white bag from Surrey Sands that was full of information and beautiful items that we could use to make memories with Oscar when he was born. The bag made us feel like we weren’t alone. Natalie told us she would be back in whilst we were still in the hospital and she would see us then.
The next day our midwife helped us access the hospital chaplain, we aren’t religious but we are somewhat spiritual, and we wanted to light a candle. She supported us to the chapel, shared out the tissues and didn’t shy away where it would have been easier to step away.
My waters were broken and the next stage of the induction was started. We knew our son would be born soon, and that’s when the lovely midwife Claire came in. I was already in an epidural daze when she walked in and remembered the pretty smelling air she wafted in with her. We spoke of our mutual love of campervans and she offered to help me freshen up. My normal reaction to this offer would have been ‘no I’m fine’ but the simple act of being cared for actually made me feel very nurtured and secure.
Claire helped us have a peaceful wonderful birth, I wasn’t in pain, which was my choice, and the lighting was low. Knowing your baby is going to be born silently is one of the most heartbreaking bits but I was absolutely astounded by how beautiful my son was.
In the morning our ray of light, Natalie, came back to us. She shared with us the joy in our beautiful son and made us feel like the proudest parents around. Natalie offered us choice, no question was stupid and time was no issue. Natalie spoke with us and our son like any parents and baby, Oscar was no less of a baby because he was born silently.
We chose to leave Oscar in Natalie’s trusted hands when we felt the time was right to allow Oscar his dignity as a baby. It was our choice to leave when we did.
To any midwife reading this, I’d like to tell you that you shouldn’t be frightened of working with families whose baby has passed, we are just the same as others, all we need is time, choice and compassion. Midwives like Natalie can influence the rest of your life as you remember your baby. I’ve said it before to Natalie, but I will never stop saying it, THANK YOU.