#stillborn - Finley's story of being told bad news

Published on: 25/01/2016

Our son Finley was stillborn 18th December 2015 and this is his story…

When I found out I was pregnant with Finley I was ecstatic – it was my partners birthday, he described it as the best present anyone could ever receive. I was 10 weeks pregnant we had recently had a miscarriage very early into another pregnancy and we had been trying for just under a year. My pregnancy with Finley was uneventful – no sickness, nothing like all these stories you hear of women being laid up in bed – I was slightly more teary that usual but we were ok. Around 31 weeks I had started to feel quite uncomfortable and I had seemed to have ballooned overnight but at a growth scan at 28 weeks they had told me that he was a big baby but there was nothing to worry about.

I went to my local maternity unit on a Thursday afternoon after having difficulty walking – they had trouble tracing the heartbeat but once found they put that down to me being a ‘bigger girl’ and the CTG was done. I was sent home and told I had some issues with my pelvis – take it easy they said – not to worry they said.

On the following Monday 3rd December I went for a routine growth scan we had laughed all the way there – we had so many plans for us all. I laid on the table and the sonographer began scanning – she immediately went quite. “Have you been ill?” she asked then explained there was a lot of fluid on me and the baby. It all felt like a massive blur. Talk of cysts on his chest – consultants walking in and out, chorus’s of “I’m so sorry”, “its not good news”. They wanted to rush us to a hospital in London to see a fetal medicine specialist. We had the first appointment the very next day – I didn’t sleep all night. I willed my baby to get better – I prayed for him, the first time in years I had prayed for anyone.

We spent all of the following day at the hospital – talk of emergency deliveries were mentioned but wasn’t seen through – a kind consultant pulled us into a room. She explained Finley had a very rare tumour on his chest squashing one of his heart chambers causing him to be very poorly. There was no talk of him not making it – they were confident that he would survive delivery but they wanted to try and drain the fluid from me and him – to give him a fighting chance.

We went back four days later – it looked so much better they were all so pleased. I left optimistic and for the first time in weeks I felt like I could breath – four days later however that would all change. When we returned to the hospital they were all quiet, no laughing like previous visits – it wasn’t good – there was a solid part of the cyst that was rapidly growing. “Are you still feeling the baby move?” they asked. “Yes” I replied – he had been moving then we left. I woke up the next morning – no movements came so I saw my midwife. She listened with her Doppler –  his heart was beating strong – maybe he’s tired she said.

I wasn’t happy with this myself and my partner drove back to the fetal medicine consultant in London – whispers continued – I was going to have an emergency section that night. The CTG on Finley’s heart showed no variation – yes it was strong but it wasn’t changing, just staying the same. We now know this isn’t good news.

I went down to theatre at 3:30am, I felt like it wasn’t really happening. I still believed he might be ok – I didn’t want to think about my baby dying. I couldn’t give up on him – we couldn’t let him go. After a lot of struggling with pain relief and epidurals at 5:07am our beautiful boy was born. “No cry?” I asked my partner. “Why isn’t he crying?” A team of neonatal doctors began to work on our boy – 15 minutes felt like forever, I still hadn’t heard him cry – I knew. The consultant looked at my partner and said “I have to get them to stop now I’m afraid your baby hasn’t made it”.

Finley was stillborn. He just couldn’t work without me. In a way I’m glad all he knew was love and warmth from us and we didn’t watch him suffer – it doesn’t make the hurting any easier but he was only ever loved and wanted – so wanted.

Katie Lewis