Bea is lightly humming in her sleep, as we meander back from our shopping trip to retrieve the imperative red pepper for tonight’s dinner! I feel blessed (if a little sweaty from my March of the Pram). The sun beats down on my face and I can feel my freckles triumphantly dancing their way to the surface of my skin. I join in Bea’s content sigh. I love the “Ber” Months for their stunning visuals in nature & the crazy descent into holiday preparations! I will not say the C-Word yet, but just know I am “one of those” & my tree will be erected (oooh’errr!) as soon as I have finished my Samhain (Halloween) Celebrations!
But this day of the calendar also marks a period that on one hand is rather somber. You wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it had you had a blissful birth experience, and all you have known is bringing home a baby in your arms. This time of year is for the parents that form part of an exclusive club that you would never in a million years wish to join. There is no word for us. When you lose a parent/parents you become an orphan. When you lose your partner you become a widow. But because it is so unnatural to even postulate, there is no word for becoming childless that is classified. We have given ourselves the title of “Angel Parents”; a badge we wear with pride yet tremendous amounts of sadness.
A double blow for myself and my partner as we have to pass each 12th of October (Mylo’s due date) with no milestones actualised. The worst part of loss is that there will never be the “firsts” and you forever wonder who your little person would be. Mylo would have been a one year old in just shy of two weeks time. I wonder if he would be the spitting image of his father. Would he be pulling himself around our livingroom now? Would he be boisterous like me or more reflective like Daddy? Sometimes I find myself slipping into an alternative universe of “What Could Have Been”…
My Mylo Bump Weeks 20/21.
This piece however is not just my story. I have been granted permission by several other Angel Parents to share their babies with the world over Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We all speak together from the heart. We all feel the same surges of emotions and we all wonder why we were the statistical 1 out of 4 pregnancies that ends in loss. I hate to use the medical terminology of “miscarriage” because it does not honour our babies as the people they were. For the purposes of this piece I will try to avoid this loaded medical lexicon unless the Parent themselves have used those words as I have been granted the incredible opportunity to become mouthpiece for individuals of loss and I will be honouring their children by posting word for word. It is no longer my voice if you will. It is now a symphony of voices, each as full of pain.
These stories come from individuals in a Facebook support group that I have the utmost privileged of being an admin person for. “Angel Parents, Mums & Dad’s, Rainbows & TTC” is an army of parents who have experienced the loss of a child, during, shortly after birth or further down the line. It is a safe part of the internet where parents do not have to feel like their child/children require “Trigger Warnings” like so many other support groups. They can openly share photos of their angels with no fear of judgement so I will be doing this on their behalf of this post and will not be using a “trigger warning!” Our photos of our children are just as precious as the photos of any child at birth.
The group was created by Stacie Goddard (nope we are not related! Just a coincidence!) and she has recruited an almost 3.5k collective; all who have their own stories, and who support one another implicitly. Welcoming any new parent of loss into the fold so that we can all navigate our own feelings of grief. It is certainly not a linear process and as I have said before; some days are bad… some days are worse. We all need help sometimes and this group has been described as many wonderful things that relate to images of support, but my personal favourite continues to be likening it to a “safe port in the storm” because waves of grief can really drag you down. Nothing articulates the chaos of the tumbling feelings that combine and crash over you. They can be a riptide. You become helpless. But this group is very often a lifeline for struggling angel parents.
Please find listed below the first sets of stories of the members of the group. Firstly is Stacie’s as the owner of the group and how and why parents of loss have been brought together. Let’s #SayTheirNames!
Peter Ryan Tiberius Goddard.
“I was trying for a baby for 4 years with my partner as I was told I couldn’t have kids. I finally fell pregnant I couldn’t believe it. At 6 weeks I started to bleed so I went to the hospital and had a scan and they said it was a threatened miscarriage. I thought at that point that was it ; I was losing my baby. But we proved them wrong again!
I went to the 12 week scan expecting to see nothing but there my baby was! Kicking his arms and waving at us! I had that image in my head for weeks every time I closed my eyes that’s all I could see. I was so ready to be a mum more then anything even though I was only 21. We bought everything you can imagine, planned how we were going to do the room, made a wish list for what I wanted to buy him for Christmas. Even planned matching outfits with my sister as she was also pregnant only 2 weeks ahead of me!
I had a good 8 weeks after that 12 week scan, nothing to worry about I was past that miscarriage stage nothing can go wrong; or so I thought. The night before my 20 week scan I had a horrible gut feeling that something wasn’t right but I ignored it and just held my baby in my arms as I could feel exactly where he was I felt every kick and nudge.
It was the 20 week scan I was so excited to find out the sex I really wanted a girl but I didn’t mind either way. But the babies legs were crossed so couldn’t find out. The nurse became worried and asked if I had been leaking fluid. I replied no, to which she went and got a consultant and 3 other midwifes. I knew at that point something was wrong with my baby I couldn’t stop crying.
When the consultant came in he started scanning my baby and checking everything and he said he couldn’t find the kidneys and that I had no amniotic fluid. I didn’t know what this meant so I tried to stay positive. After the scan I had a long 2 hours wait before they explained to me what was going on.
I will never forget those words I’m sorry but your baby isn’t viable. They told me my baby that I had so longed for wouldn’t survive as he had no kidneys and was unable to produce amniotic fluid and because of this his lungs also wouldn’t develop. I couldn’t stop crying I just held my baby and cried. I asked for a second opinion just to make sure but I had to wait a week as it was in a different hospital.
In that week I made a lot of arrangements and did a lot of research. I planned my babies outfit and every little detail of what was going to happen when he was born. I planned a photographer, a priest even a little tiny Moses basket. I went to my sisters midwife appointment as I thought it would help but I was dead inside. It happened to be my midwife. I told my midwife everything and she gave me a big hug and explained what was going to happen and how I would give birth to my baby. She then listened to my sisters babies heart beat and I just cried because I’d never hear my babies again.
She did the kindest thing and got me to record my babies heartbeat which I’ll have forever; so strong and so perfect. I had such high hopes that they were wrong, that a mistake had been made. I was now 22 weeks I made the most of my time with my baby still inside me. I spoke to it every day and sung to him. I used to play chase and tickle his feet when he stuck them up.
I went to that last scan with such hope nothing could be wrong with my baby- hes so strong and healthy. I was having my scan and they still couldn’t see anything. The consultant said the baby was suffering and that he was being crushed as there was no fluid to protect him. I knew at that point I had to do what a good mother should do and let my baby be at peace.
I will never forget the consultants words so cold and meaningless. “At least you fell pregnant, at least you can try again“. When I signed my babies life away and took that horrible tablet to get everything ready my baby was kicking me I felt like he was asking me no to do it. The next 2 days were horrible as I was constantly worried if he had all ready passed away but I was glad he didn’t when I felt him kick away.
It was Thursday the 30th June: the day I was to be induced. It was a very long process but I was having contractions all day. It came to half 2am on the Friday morning and the contractions were getting bad. The midwifes told me to start pushing and so I did. However 45 minutes later my body just gave up. I didn’t want to let my baby go I couldn’t do it. I remember holding my belly crying out “I’m so sorry baby I’m so so sorry, Mummy loves you so much” and the song I won’t give up on us was playing. I knew he was suffering. I knew it was time to let him go. So I pushed as much as I could.
There he was, my little boy was born! The first thing I asked was does he have hair to they said yes he does,its tiny but its blonde. I got them to put him straight onto my chest. I’ve never felt love like this before I also saw that he was a boy and cried my heart out my little man he was so perfect on the outside.
He was born and lived a few minutes on the 1/07/16 at 3:35am weighing a tiny 420g. We named him Peter Ryan Tiberius Goddard, named after Peter Pan: the boy who never grew up. I spent that day holding him kissing him and taking as many pictures as I could. I looked at every tiny detail and held his beautiful hands. However it was time to leave him.
The Labour Ward was getting busy and loads of women were in labour- it was breaking my heart knowing that their babies were going to be fine and I’ll never take my baby home. I walk behind the midwife’s as they took him up the ward. I looked at all the mothers holding their perfect babies and just cried. Why couldn’t that be me?
I said my final goodbye and left him in their care. When me and my partner got home I was so empty. My womb ached for my little boy. I felt like he needed me.
We had a beautiful funeral for him and my story was published in our local newspaper and it went viral – even making it to America! I have since been in the magazine Real People sharing my story raising awareness for pregnancy and infant loss and also Peter’s condition BRA.I have also had my story on BBC news. What I do is my son’s legacy through my work I am keeping his memory alive. I have helped 1000s of women to cope with the loss of their babies and even helped most to go on and have their rainbows.
I myself have gone on to have 2 very healthy, special babies after losing my Peter. I am currently up for nomination at The Butterfly Awards, which is my biggest achievement yet for my son’s memory! I will carrying on raising awareness for my son’s condition and for pregnancy and infant loss until it is no longer a taboo subject. I am 1 in 4 I have a son who is in Neverland.” – Stacie Goddard.
Iris Goddard & Bow Goddard.
“My story of missed miscarriage, miscarriage and a Rainbow. I can’t write everything that had happened but I’ll do my very best.
So my story starts with a healthy baby boy. About a year after he was born I got broody again as most do! Had been trying to convince my partner to have another for months… He finally said yes!
We started TTC, first month wasn’t the one, second month didn’t happen… The end of month 3 we conceived!! On the 15th November 2017 I found out we were expecting our 2nd baby!
We were over the moon! I was roughly 3 weeks when I found out. Weeks passed by and the sickness started to kick in, I had suffered with Hypertensives Gravidarum previously so expected it again. At 8 weeks I was leaking a lot of milk, I thought this was normal for some women…
More weeks passed, we brought a cot for baby, I didn’t think anything of it. Yes it was before the 12 week scan but I had never lost a baby, so I would be fine right?
The sickness started to go at around 10 weeks and I started to feel normal! I was so happy that I had skipped HG and was having a healthy pregnancy…
12 Weeks came, on the day… I had a very small spotting like brown blood, I asked my sister and friends, everyone rightly said it was nothing to worry about it was old blood! Probably meant i had a bleed weeks ago that my body didn’t let out.
But me being paranoid asked my sister to take me to A&E for a check over.
We got the the hospital, all happy, giddy and not expecting anything bad. Hours were spent attempting getting bloods, I’m a terrible bleeder… the doctor finally got my bloods after over 30 attempts, scanner attempt and finally got bloods from my groin.
He got a bed side scanner after bloods were sent off, so he could have a rough look at baby… I didn’t really see the screen, I went by my sister’s reaction and expressions…
The doctor said he couldn’t see much… Stacie tried to shed some hope my way and said “it’s probably because you’ve just gone for a wee! Your bladder is empty and these scanners are rubbish”… I agreed! Everything would be OK!
He sent us off for an hour or so while we waited for bloods. Stacie took me to the hospitals chapel, I didn’t think anything of it, I wrote a note for my baby assuring things would be ok, lit a candle and sat for a while. We headed back to the doctor. This is where I would learn the truth…
“Your bloods show that you are a lot earlier than you thought” immediately I said no! Impossible! I tried for this baby I knew all the dates! When we conceived, exactly how many weeks I should be… I asked him how early, he said around 8 weeks! He also said my uterus showed the gestation size of 8 weeks but no baby was seen. I roughly took it in. I said thank you and walked away.
As soon as we left that room I broke down screaming and crying into my sister’s arms, we both held one and other, I kept saying no and she kept saying I’m so sorry
Move forward a little, I told my family and friends etc, a scan was booked for a weeks time to see what was happening. They called this a missed miscarriage, where the body doesn’t recognise it’s miscarrying and carries on telling your body you are pregnant.
Almost a week passed and I had to travel to Devon which is a 7 hour drive there and back. I hadn’t miscarried at this point, only lost some blood here and there.
On the way back from the trip when we was about half hour from my home, I had a trickle of water and urges to push… surely not? At 12 weeks? Unfortunately yes. Stacie told me this was the start of miscarrying.
I never expected what would happen next.In the back of the car I started to hemorrhage!! Losing hand size clots and gushing blood. My friend rushed me to hospital, I got out and stumbled to the reception, clenching my tummy, holding bloody leggings trying to cover all the blood over my legs. It was obvious- they sent me straight through, cannulated me and got me a bed in the A&E department.
As it was late at night there was no one to scan me or help! So they put me on fluids, moved me to a ward and helped me onto a bed pan every time I needed to wee. Every time I moved or stood up, more blood would gush. So the nurses told me to not get out of bed. My heart rate was rocket high at 160! One point I thought I was dying, I couldn’t talk, move, everything went blury and fuzzy, I heard my mum shouting at me telling me to talk… I thought this was it. I would leave my son motherless.
The doctors stabilised me and I was able to sleep. I was in and out of sleep due to pain. The morning came and I had a scan first thing, the scanner was so shocked at the amount of blood just pooling inside my uterus and inside the cannal. She quickly turned to the nurse and said “get this woman in for an emergency D&C now!!” She put her hand on my shoulder and said how sorry she was.
I was wheeled out of the room in my bed, taken back to the ward where the anesthetist waited to go through risks of a D&C, I signed a contract and asked all the questions I needed. Waited almost an hour and was taken through. The surgery went well I was under so didn’t feel a thing. Woke up in recovery and had a blood transfusion and strong pain meds. I was allowed to go home about 5 hours after.
I got home and started the healing process, but contacted a uterus infection also which needed meds. It was all about healing and letting time help emotionally too. It was tough, draining, I never thought I would ever go through anything like that.
A few months passed and we tried again, I fell pregnant again on the 26th March 2018! Was over joyed and so scared but felt something was so wrong from the start…
I was right, a few weeks later when I was 6 weeks, they tested bloods and it wasn’t progressing- my hcg wasn’t rising. I had a scan and all that was seen was a sac. Why was this happening again! What was I doing wrong. I was a failure in every sense.
I was booked for another D&C for a weeks time and sent home. 2 days before my d&c I miscarried at home. I was shattered. Yet again I felt my body failed me. Why did this happen again? I had a healthy baby boy, why couldn’t I do it again? I hated myself.
I got so suicidal, self harmed a lot and had crisis team out every other day.
Just May the 23rd I found out I was expecting again?! This wasn’t planned as we swore to wait almost a year! When I found out no tears of happiness were shed. I was sure this would have another tragic ending.
Weeks passed and I got HG! a sign that hcg was progressing strong enough! 6 weeks came and I had a big bleed. I was in hospital for HG a lot and thought I was losing again.
But I wasn’t! I had scans and showed a healthy yolk sac. Weeks passed and I had another scan which showed a healthy baby and healthy heart beat! I am now 22 weeks with my rainbow, still very anxious but more positive now.
Of course I will never be able to put into words the trauma that was left, the raw emotions, nights spent crying, all the hospital stays, all the hate, all the bullying that came from social media after Iris *I chose a name for my first loss as I felt she was a girl*… The world taught me about the stigma around miscarriage and how it should be kept secret and private.
I disagree, I believe miscarriages have just as much right to he spoken about and grieved over, in which ever way… Your baby is your baby no matter what gestation or age. – Sheila Goddard.
“I found out I was expecting my first baby July 2017 after my ex best friend persuaded me to take the test as I was 2 weeks late. I always said and still do now my Nan sent me this baby to give me some comfort as I lost my Nan in January 2017 to a heart attack, but it did also hurt a lot as one of the last things my Nan said to me is “always wanted to meet my great grandchildren but now I never will.”
I told my now ex partner I was pregnant but sadly his reaction wasn’t the same as mine and told me unless I had a termination then he was going to leave. So I quickly made the decision that I would be a single mum, that I would find a way to manage on my own.
Everything seemed to be going well with the pregnancy, I had all the normal symptoms and my morning sickness was bad. I was booked in for my first midwife appointment around 8 weeks. At the appointment she took all my information and told me I was was a low risk pregnancy. She said I would receive a letter in the post about my dating scan.
2 weeks later I received a letter with with a date for my dating scan so I started to count down the days as I was so excited to see my baby on the screen. The day finally arrived for the 12 week scan. I entered the scan room and the scan begun and I could see my baby wriggling on the screen.
In the side room the midwife explained that the baby had some defects- 2 club hands and possibly a club foot, fetal Hydrops and a cystic hygroma. She said it was likely she had a chromosome abnormality but they weren’t sure what one. I had no words to say, I just cried, the one person who would have supported me was gone (my nan). The midwife carried on and explained I would need to see the fetal medicine specialist, so she handed me an appointment and said to go home.
So my baby all these complications and some of them I had never heard of, so I searched the Web for some answers and researching what different chromosome abnormalities there were. I also found a group on Facebook where I read many survival stories on babies being born with Hydrops.
So with my little bit of knowledge I went to my next appointment. This time the fetal medicine specialist was in the scan and was asking to see certain bits of the baby. After ten minutes the fetal specialist took me into a side room to explain the scan. He said the Hydrops was now severe and her hygroma was stopping blood getting around her head properly which meant her survival rate was extremely low. He explained to me I could a have a peaceful termination but I would have to decide in the next few days. I told him I was not giving up, so he booked me another appointment to come back at 15 + 4.
I went home with mixed emotions but still hoping for a miracle. I spent the next couple of weeks holding my belly and talking to baby. I hoped my baby was a fighter like my Nan.
So the day for the next appointment came and I entered the scan room again. This time on the screen baby was still and heartbeat was very slow. A couple of minutes passed and her heart stopped. I always say in those two minutes she was waiting for my Nan to open her arms.
I broke down in tears and stumbled to the room where I was given five minutes to myself before they came in and explained what was going to happen next. I was given a tablet tablet that would bring on labour and booked into labour ward for 9 am on 27th September but was told to come back sooner if needed.
On the way home I stopped off at Asda and got baby a blanket and a comforter. Once home I layed for hours and cried, played songs to baby and talked to baby as much i could. Contractions begun the next day at 7 pm but wasn’t ready for baby to leave me yet so I stayed at home. I got the hospital the following morning at half nine where they gave another tablet and then another at half 12 and another at half three. By half 3 my contractions was was extremely close together and my waters broke at 4. My angel was born at 5 pm weighing 15 grams on 27th September 2017, with two club hands, one club foot and and her stomach outside her body.
I didn’t get to meet her until 10 pm as I was rushed into theatre due to my placenta getting stuck.
My placenta was sent of for testing and it was was found Logen-Lei had Edwards.” – Sophie Carter.
“I found out I was pregnant in February 2017 me & my fiancée were over the moon I couldn’t wait for my 1st scan, my 1st scan was on the 16th May.
I got there and they were scanning me for over an hour. The baby was wriggling around. I kept asking what’s going on is everything ok, yea I’m just struggling to find something “do u want to no the sex” I replied it’s a boy isn’t it yes it certainly is… then he told me they couldn’t see my baby’s heart attachments properly & to not worry.
I was panicking so much.. I went back on the 22nd May & it was still the same they told me I’d have to go London for a scan to check properly. I walked out the hospital crying my eyes out.. not knowing was the worst! Is my baby gonna be ok? I had this horrible feeling.
On the 3rd July 2017 I had my scan at Kings College Hospital- our world came crashing down when we heard the words no parents should ever hear…. “I’m sorry your baby has no heartbeat”. I really wasn’t expecting our baby to be gone.
On the 5th July I went into hospital to be induced to give birth to him. (21+4) I didn’t believe he had died but it was true. On the 6th July at 2.45am I gave birth to our beautiful sleeping angel John Reagan Smith weighing 240 grams. Our son had CHD – my heart aches every single day for him.” – Stacey Cahill.
“We unfortunately lost our daughter at 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. But I haven’t shared with you all as to why. So I though I would.
The weekend before was the snow weekend, we were all having an amazing time enjoying the snow, I was mainly watching from the sidelines. That weekend I was also frantically getting things ready going into my final week at work knowing I was working past the point when I had Alfie.
The Sunday night I went to bed Sophie was kicking like crazy. I begged her to stop so I could get asleep as I knew how busy work was going to be. Went to work came home as normal Monday the 5th March at lunch time. I realised I hadn’t felt my baby move so I called the midwives, they asked me to go in at 4pm.
I messaged Jack. He said he should probably come. I didn’t think much of it. I tried lying on me left and having a drink -but nothing.
Went in at 4pm, laid in the bed when one then another midwife tried to find the heartbeat but all they said was no parental over and over again. We then drove to Bath. On the way over I was getting braxton hicks I kinda felt reassured she was ok. We arrived at the RUH at about 4:30 ish when we arrived I could tell by their faces they knew our baby had died.
We went into a room where a consultant came in to scan me. She confirmed that her heart had indeed stopped something I never thought would happen, how, why? So many questions.
We went home to try and process what was happening but again I had braxton hicks I couldn’t do this I needed our baby out. So we went back at 9pm after handover so they could prepare the room for us.
A midwife called Robyn met us and took us to the Forget Me Not suite, we were given our options for induction. It took 12 hours to start the process all seemed like such a long time.
Anyhow I delivered Sophie the following evening on the Tuesday at 8:50pm she weighed 5lb 15oz. When I delivered her the midwife told me that she had what’s called a true knot in her cord and wrapped around her neck 4 times. There was no meconium so they said she didn’t suffer. The post-mortem results came back that she was perfect no brain damage. Nothing . She was perfect – it was described like a switch one min she was all ok and the next she was gone.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her one way or another. I will not be silenced about my daughter. She might not have taken a breath but she lived and she will live on.” – Natalie Newman
Stars, Precious-Mae & Neavaeh
“Sept 18th 2008 Nevaeh-Jon (14 weeks) Ruptured ectopic pregnancy, surgery to remove him and tube.
1st Nov 2009 Star (5 weeks) Early M/C.
1st Dec 2009 Star (4 weeks) Early M/C.
1st Feb 2010 Star (6 weeks) Early M/C.
1st Mar 2010 Star (4 weeks) Early M/C.
29th May 2011 Precious-Mae (7 weeks 6 days) Missed M/C
11th Aug 2014 Star (6 weeks) Early M/C.
I remember finding out I was pregnant with my first baby very quickly after I got married, I was over the moon! However, my excitement was short lived as I had started to bleed slightly and had some pains, the Drs said try not to worry as bleeding in early pregnancy can be very common. I was told that they would book me in for an early scan at the EPU at the hospital, ward 6X (a number and letter I would never forget)!
I went for my scan, the words haunting me today, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t see anything’ what did she mean? Can’t see anything?? Where is my baby? I was sent to the phlebotomist for a blood test and went home waiting for the phone call!
The results came back showed a pregnancy but they needed to repeat the blood test 2 days later to see if the numbers had gone up enough to show a viable pregnancy! The wait was agony but the day arrived and the results came back, the numbers HAD increased, I started to have some hope but they said it wasn’t quite doubled which they were hoping to see, so I had to go back again 2 days later!
That was the day my heart broke, the numbers hadn’t gone up at all, they were the same, my baby wasn’t anywhere to be seen and they told me I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy! I had to go for a lethal injection called Methotrexate (a drug used in cancer treatment) I sat in that awful ward (6X) again, in the same room as young girls waiting for abortions, this needs to be changed!
The sudden realisation hit me, they were going to take my baby, I cried, I didn’t want them to take my baby! I had no choice, I had to have that injection! After that I went home to recover, to try and get back to any form of normality, it wasn’t easy and I slowly started to feel a bit more like myself! BUT that all changed again, a couple of weeks after the injection I woke up at 5am in agony, screaming in pain and rolling around the bed!
My husband called a taxi and we went to the casualty department where I had blood tests, observations and then went up for a scan! The sonographer ran out the room and came back with about 4 consultants looking at the screen, one nodded and then the walked away, on the way out of the room I heard one of them say ‘surgery now’.
Surgery??? What surgery??? My now ex husband asked what was going on and that’s when they explained the methotrexate failed, my baby was still alive, still growing, 14 weeks gestation and he had a heartbeat, my tube had been ruptured and blood was filling in my womb, they had to do surgery to remove my tube with my baby still alive, still there!
It took a long time to recover physically and emotionally, the emotions still affect me at times but I have learned to live with it! I have lost another 6 babies due to miscarriage too, the pain doesn’t go but it gets easier to do daily things and deal with things.
This is my story and my babies existed.” – Penny Lanning.
These are just six women’s stories. Each heartbreaking. Each have an element of hope. I feel honoured to share them and to speak into existed their children that existed.
My hope is to share 15 in total if possible, to represent the fifteen babies that pass away each day. I hope that one day the stigma of sharing our children.
“A life is a life no matter how small” in the philosophical words of Dr Seuss!
– Bea’s Mummy x
If you have experienced child loss and are looking for a support group with a difference please feel free to join “Angel Parents, Mums & Dad’s, Rainbows & TTC”.