Jodie's Story

Jodie's Story

Our pregnancy was very straightforward and "textbook" up until 23 weeks. All our scans had gone well - I clearly remember our obstetrician telling us after our 20 week scan that we would "definitely have our baby home for Christmas" (I was due on 19th December).

It sounds trite, but 22nd August really was just like any other day. I went to work, came home, and with my husband took our dog for a walk. My husband was cooking dinner that evening when I felt a drawing down sensation - no pain, but definitely a new feeling. I initially put it down to the usual pregnancy aches and pains but it quite quickly escalated to intense cramping which I soon realised were contractions. This was the furthest along I had been in a pregnancy (I had an early miscarriage the year before), and so all these feelings were a new experience.

Trying to remain calm, I remember calling the Mater asking for advice but soon realised I was in over my head when I couldn't speak through the pain. My husband drove me to hospital - a horrible, seemingly endless journey which really only probably took 15 minutes. On arrival I signed a form saying that if I wasn't admitted that night I was aware I would have to pay a fee. I suspected then that my unplanned trip to hospital wouldn't be that straightforward but I honestly believed the staff could help me. After all, I was way past the "danger" zone of pregnancy. We had heard our baby's heartbeat. This was just a hiccup to work through.

While waiting for the obstetrician I began vomiting and passing blood. I was trying to hold it together but it felt as though I no longer had control over my body. After examining me the obstetrician didn't mince his words - I would be delivering our baby that night.

Then came the realisation that there was nothing anyone could do. Our little boy wasn't at "viability" - what an awful phrase. All the medical brilliance in the world couldn't put a halt to what my body was wanting to do.

At 5.12am on Tuesday 23rd August, about ten hours after that first pain, our son Alistair Gerald Jones entered the world. There was no shouting or urging or words of encouragement, no rush of staff in the birth suite - he entered silently, just as he slipped away from us.

I remember wondering after he had been born what would happen now. Hospitals were for sick people, and I wasn't unwell, physically as least. I didn't have to have lessons in how to change our baby's nappy, or how to bath him (we would only bath him once, which is one of the most precious memories I have). I honestly believed we would be sent home that day. Instead, we were taken to floor nine to be welcomed by some of the most beautiful people I have ever met. The Mater Bereavement team welcomed me, my husband and our son - our little family - and showed us the most special care. They encouraged us to make memories with our little boy, and were never afraid to speak his name. This is one of the greatest gifts which can be given to us.

Leaving the hospital without our baby was the most awful experience of my life. I wouldn't wish this upon anyone. It's unnatural and not how things should be. Despite this though, I do feel thankful that we were given time with Alistair - to cuddle him and dress him and bath him, and take endless photos of. To think that not long ago this wasn't "the done thing" - that truly breaks my heart.

We are still in touch with the bereavement team. On Alistair's birthday we go and visit them - perhaps it's odd to visit a hospital on such a day but for us, it was the place where the gift was given to us to make some beautiful memories - and really, this is all we have now.

We have since gone on to have another child, Clara. We tell her about her big brother, and some of the first visitors we had after she was born was the bereavement team. They provided so much support during that awfully frightening pregnancy - I don't really know how I would have coped without them.

For anyone who knows of someone who has lost a baby - please don't be afraid to say their name. This is honestly the best gift you could give. Don't worry that you will make us sad - I can guarantee that we are already thinking of them. They are and always will be in our thoughts. My greatest fear is that Alistair will be forgotten, and it's my job to make sure this never happens.
 

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