Here’s our story;

Ben and I had been together just over a year, and were 17years of age. In December 2010, we found out we were expecting, we had all kinds of emotions running through us. How do we tell our parents? Where will we all live? How will we pay for a baby? We left it a few weeks and finally told our parents. They weren’t impressed, but soon came round to the idea.

We had our first scan in Feburary and from the moment we saw the little heart beating on the screen, we fell in love. Everything was as it should be at 12weeks. Our due date was 26th August 2011, I remember us saying, that felt so long away.

Once we knew everything was okay, we told more family members and announced our pregnancy news to the world of Facebook. Where everyone congratulated us and was happy for us. Time went on, and everything was fine, we were so excited to see our baby again.

It came round to our 20week scan, whilst we sat in the waiting room we agreed we would find out the sex of our baby if possible. All the measurements were as expected, and our baby was healthy. So we asked to find out the gender, “it’s an 80% chance you’re having a baby girl” we was told. We came home with three lovely pictures this time, which we could treasure forever and again announced the news.

As weeks passed by, my belly was getting bigger and bigger, and I loved it. I loved wearing tight clothing where I could show off my bump. I used to lay in bed at night with my hand on my belly and rubbing it. Noone can describe to you the feeling of your baby kicking back at your touch, if you have experienced this yourself, you know just how amazing it is.

July came. I started to feel pains in my lower stomach quite often, so I had a few trips up the hospital. Each time I was told I had a UTI or it was growing pains or braxton hicks. Then I began to feel reduced movement, but again I was told the same thing.

It was time for me to leave work as I was 36weeks pregnant. I wanted to leave early so Ben and I had some alone time before our little one had arrived. We went to Clacton for a holiday, being summer the weather was beautiful and we had a lovely break.

After a week away, we came home. I was 37weeks by now, and the day I arrived home I had the pains again so we took another trip up the hospital where I was seen by a student midwife. Again, we were told the same things but was put on the CTG monitor for reassurance. I asked if this carried on would I be induced and the midwife said it could be possible.

Four days passed, it was Tuesday 9th August. Around half past ten at night. I was having tightenings and little pains in my stomach. I called up the delivery suite and told them, where their response was “it’s probably just braxton hicks, how are babys movements?” Then I thought to myself and said, I haven’t actually felt her move for a while. So they asked me to go up and get checked out. I asked if I really had to as this has happened before and everything was fine. The midwife told me it’s for peace of mind. So we put my hospital bag in the car, called my mum and Ben put his work clothes in the car too, as we were set I was going into labour.

We met my mum at the hosptial and went up to the maternity ward. Where we was taken into one of the rooms. The midwife pulled out a stethoscope and put it to my belly to see where babys heartbeat was to place the CTG onto me, but she told me that baby was back to back and had to go and get another midwife. A second midwife came in, smiling introducing herself and feeling my belly. Then she did the same thing.. Who then told me she has to go and get a doctor and not to worry as everything is fine. From that moment, I knew something wasn’t right. Ben and my mum were stood at the end of the bed together. The doctor walked in and used the ctg, moving it around my belly, changing positions constantly. Pushing harder onto my belly. Then told me he had to do a quick scan, the two midwives and him were rushing around the room. Trying to make out nothing was wrong, when really they knew something was. The doctor did a scan, with a small machine and then said the dreaded words… “I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat”.

My heart sank. No words. No explanation. Nothing can come close to what I felt when I heard that sentence. Nobody will ever understand what that feels like, unless you have been through it yourself. Which unfortunately, is 17 families a day!

Ben and I then had to travel home that night, knowing our baby girl wasn’t alive in my stomach. We informed direct family, but we couldn’t speak to many as we just couldn’t say the words to them. We couldn’t sleep. We felt sick. We couldn’t stop crying…

Wednesday morning we had to go into hospital. We had to go up to the maternity ward, which was heart breaking. Numerous things had to happen that day, blood tests, talks with doctors/midwives, scans. The scan was the hardest part. We had to walk through a corridor of couples sat there, who were waiting for scans to see their babies. To see their little hearts beating. Whilst we walked through knowing our little girl wasn’t alive. We wasn’t going to see her heart beating on the screen. Infact, we was going to double check it wasn’t beating. We spent all day in hospital. I had a tablet given to me, which could soften my cervix and send me into labour naturally at home. If it didn’t, I would return to the hospital late Friday afternoon.

Time passed and it was soon Friday. I hadn’t gone into natural labour. Which we was pleased about, because we did not want to go through that at home. Again, we went into hospital at 4pm. I got induced, and things progressed quickly. At 21:14pm I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, weighing 6lbs 10 and a half ozs. Named Ellie-Louise.

After the birth of our daughter, we was informed of a charity called SANDS, they are a charity who suport Stillbirth and Neonatal death. The support we both received was outstanding. From phone calls, to group meetings, to online chats.

To this very day, I am friends with a lot of people who I have met through this charity, and without them I don’t know where I’d be. They have helped me to grieve for my daughter, keep her memory alive and support me through future pregnancies.

This is our way of giving just a little bit of something back to SANDS for being there when we needed the help/advice/support, and we want this to continue for everybody who sadly goes through the same.

Thankyou for reading our story. Any donations are welcome! Please help us raise awareness. Stillbirth is not as well known of as it should be.

Love Amber, Ben and Joanna x

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