Time Norfolk: ‘She lives on in the fundraising, and in all the things we are doing to keep her memory alive’
- Credit: citizenside.com
As we look at the work Time Norfolk do for those who have experienced a pregnancy loss through miscarriage, termination or still birth, two former clients - a mother and daughter - tell their story.
Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
'On May 24, I got those two lines, and my life changed forever. Rob and I had been together for seven years and now we were going to have a child together.
'We were both so excited. Two months later we had our 12-week scan, and it was amazing seeing the little person we had created.
'In September, we found out we were having a little girl - we were thrilled!
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'As the pregnancy progressed, everything was normal. Towards the end I felt severe anxiety, but knowing I was going to meet my baby at the end helped me through.
'I finally got to my due date – I was here!
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'Throughout the whole pregnancy I kept thinking 'just get to your due date and everything will be okay.'
'I had a midwife appointment for my 40 weeks and I told her the baby wasn't moving as much, but she checked her and said to go home and dance, and that I could be in early labour.
'Later that evening I noticed she still wasn't moving as much, so I phoned the delivery suite and they told me to come in.
'We went in, and a midwife put me on a monitor. She kept moving the Doppler around my stomach and all there was, was an eerie wind-like sound.
'I knew, but I still begged just to hear her heartbeat. Two more doctors came in the room and checked over and over again. 'We are so sorry, there's no heartbeat.'
'The words that shattered my world forever.
'Rob broke down, but I just couldn't take it in. I was going to have to give birth to her, and she isn't okay.
'Rob's and my family all came to the hospital and the next morning I was induced.
'While I was in labour, Rob had to meet with the chaplain and arrange our baby's funeral, and sign consent for an external post-mortem. All before she was even born.
'I was in labour for three days. It was very painful and long; she was back to back and breech.
'On the third day, I gave birth to the most beautiful girl in the world.
'She was born at 5.59pm and was absolutely perfect. Lucy, a perfect angel.
'She came silently into this world looking peacefully asleep.
'We spent the next two days in the hospital with our beautiful daughter.
'She met all her aunties, uncles, nannies and granddads. She felt nothing but love. We had a naming ceremony for her in the hospital.
'Family members took nearly 200 photos, as I was exhausted and still in a total state of shock. On the Tuesday evening we left the hospital, without out daughter in our arms.
'I remember the drive home so clearly. The moon is our sign for Lucy. On that drive home, I had never seen the moon so big and bright as it was on that night.
'Over the next few days it all felt surreal. We registered her stillbirth – not her birth, not her death.
'We had to tell excited friends who had been waiting to hear the good news – the pain of having just had a traumatic birth and no baby to show for it.
'My neighbour had recently had a baby. I arrived home to their congratulations balloons up at the window.
'I had to see them take their newborn baby for a walk in their new pushchair, while mine sat unused.
'The next three weeks were spent planning Lucy's funeral, and that day, watching Rob carry her tiny coffin down the aisle, my heart broke all over again. I watched them lower her into the ground; it was absolutely unbearable.
'The pain is like nothing I can compare it to. After her funeral, it hit me hard.
'Suddenly, I had nothing to concentrate on and the realisation that I was alone hit me. My baby, my beautiful baby girl, was dead.
'It was then that I contacted TimeNorfolk, and it has taken time, and it is something I will never get over, but thanks to Julie* I can see that there is life after loss, and although it will never be the same, I am living for Lucy instead of with her. She lives on in the fundraising, and in all the things we are doing to keep her memory alive.'
The woman's mother added: 'My granddaughter, my first grandchild and my daughter's first baby, was due in January.
'The excitement and anticipation of her arrival was enormous, I had the rest of my life planned out with her, all the things we were going to do, the fun we would have.
'On her due date, my daughter experienced reduced movements.
'The midwife checked her and said that she was in early labour and to go home and dance and do the things that normally got the baby moving.
'I was woken in the very early hours by the worst phone call of my life, from my daughter in hospital, telling me the baby's heart had stopped.
'I was hysterical, and went to the hospital along with the rest of my family. My daughter was induced and Lucy* was born asleep at 5.59pm, beautiful and perfect.
'I have never experienced such pain and grief but I had to stay strong for my daughter.
'As time progressed, I found I was numb; I couldn't accept what had happened and my daughter and doctor said that I needed counselling.
I now accept that she died.
'I have problems with forgiveness for the medical professionals who made mistakes earlier in the pregnancy, which caused the catastrophic loss of our baby, but I am calmer in my mind.
'It is not an exaggeration to say that my counselling has saved me.
'It has, mentally and physically. I was in a very black place. I now accept that it happened but also know that the pain, loss, loss of a future with her will never leave, only that it is now a part of me, part of who I am now.
'She will always be in my heart.'