Chloe was a surprise from day one…
I had the easiest pregnancy I could have asked for, no sickness or cravings, at my midwife checkups and scans I always had perfect blood tests and blood pressure – I was fit as a fiddle and the happiest I’ve ever been. But I had a niggling feeling something was going to happen. Maybe this was MOTHERS INTUITION?
We were so excited about our baby, we had gorgeous portrait photos taken of my bump. Like most expectant mums I religiously read Pregnancy and Baby books and magazines, joined every Baby Club and Online Forum, just desperate to learn about this wonderful but daunting experience. We attended private Antenatal classes, everything to try to prepare for our new baby.
At around 27 weeks – It was a very hot summer’s day, I had breathing problems and terrible pain in my side, I got rushed to hospital and had monitors and tests done, we were in there for hours and hours. They said Baby had kicked my Gall bladder so much it had swollen, “Derek” my bump moved so much – all night and all day nonstop from about 14 weeks!
When we were on the ward all day we watched couples come and go, all worrying that they hadn’t felt their babies move, but when they had the monitors put on – there was the heart beat – all was fine and off they went home. By the end of the day, I was tired and fed up and I remember saying to a nurse ” God don’t you get fed up with all these women being so silly and coming up all the time” she just laughed and said “Errrr yes! It’s all I do, all flippin day!”
At my 20 week scan they saw my Placenta was low, I was booked for another scan at 35 weeks where my planned C-section was booked for Monday 30th November, my final midwife check was the Tuesday before and all was fine. I do remember her asking about baby’s movements and I remember saying the baby was moving much less recently, but assumed it was because there was no room – and baby was getting ready for birth. My midwife agreed with me, she did say if I get worried I should call her or the antenatal ward. But without knowing of the risks why would I worry? All I thought was in a week’s time my baby will be here! The baby’s pulse seemed fine and because I wasn’t sure exactly how much her regular movement had changed, it didn’t seem relevant.
The next day I felt very few movements, I started to worry.
On the Thursday we were busy all day, shopping and finalising everything in preparation for the coming Friday when our Baby will be here.
Throughout the day and that evening I kept saying that I didn’t feel right, the baby felt heavy and hadn’t moved, I just felt so wrong. That evening I sat and had a small glass of red wine and I purposely put the glass on my tummy, I thought if the baby moved just slightly then id really see it with the glass of red right in front of me…. I don’t know if it was a kick or what it was, but my glass flew off my tummy and splattered all over our cream sofa and cream carpet – I can see the stains even now!
I was relieved, but this didn’t last long though. It still niggled at me, and all night I laid awake poking and rubbing “Derek”, who would always move when I did this and when I rolled from one side to the other, would move to get comfy – but that night just didn’t move at all.
At 4:30am I knew – I felt the elbow and I moved it around – there was no opposition to me doing this, baby was NOT asleep, I knew “Derek” had gone.
I got up and got dressed and my partner woke up, he kept trying to reassure me, saying there’s nothing wrong, that the midwife said all was fine on Tuesday. He called the ward and said we hadn’t felt baby move properly for over 24 hours – the nurse SHOUTED at him “WHY HAVE YOU LEFT IT SO LONG!!!” but we didn’t know any different!
Every story you may read from now on are the same – the drive to the hospital that seemed to take forever, the haze of nurses testing and feeling your tummy, the doppler, the monitors, the scans and the “Sorry”.
I went into auto pilot – Poor Dan was in shock – but I wasn’t. I was so very calm, our friend was a hospital porter – he’d seen us walk into the hospital and gave us the thumbs up…. I asked the nurse to call him ” Chris it’s Soph… I’m sorry to tell you this but my baby has died. I’m ok Chris but please can you look out for my parents, they’ll be here soon and I just need someone to look after them for me” at 6am I called my parents. My mum was so excited this was going to be her first grandchild. But as soon as she heard MY voice and not my partners she knew there was a problem – “Mum, we’re at the hospital…” she said “what’s happened Soph” …. ” My Baby has died Mum, I’m so so sorry”
I then made the same call to my cousin and my best friend. I made sure the family were looked after and all were there for Dan, I even went out to meet his family when they arrived! I was so worried about him. He’d done everything he was meant to do, throughout my pregnancy, he’d reassured me and supported me. What else could he do? It was ME who had to look after our baby – and I felt I had failed, I’d let him down, our family and most of all our baby.
My C-section started at 9:30am, my beautiful little Chloe Joan was born and taken straight in to her Daddy and my Cousin at 9:40am…. She was perfect in every way. I first opened my eyes at 10:20 and saw my beautiful little girl.
My little angel who danced too much and just got herself in a knot – a little clumsy just like her Mummy- But the absolute image of her Daddy.
Her cord had wrapped around her neck twice, the second loop was very tight. The nurses said they were 99.9% sure this is the reason for her death. This is described formally as “Unexplained”. Chloe’s death is classed as an “Unexplained Death”.
My midwives explained that with my future pregnancies, I will be welcome at anytime if I have any worries at all…
But why wasn’t this made clear with my 1st?
All I keep asking myself is why didn’t I listen to my instinct? Why didn’t I realise she was trying to tell me she was struggling, why didn’t I realise her not kicking my gall bladder anymore wasn’t a good thing. Why do people still say “babies don’t move much towards the due date, because there’s no room” when this is totally untrue? Why were there no posters on the midwife or hospital walls, or stories in the many pregnancy magazines and websites I’d spent the last 9 months reading? Why didn’t I do as my Midwife told me to when I started feeling worried? Why didn’t I call the ward sooner? And why when I was in the hospital that summer with my Gall bladder pain, did that nurse laugh along with us about all the couples who did come in with worry? Why didn’t they tell me that observing a change in movement could save her ? That actually sometimes there are the couples who come in worried and they don’t always find a heartbeat. Why did I think it could never happen to me?
Why do I feel such a failure?
My consultant told me a baby’s movements DO NOT reduce before labor, they DO NOT reduce because there’s not much room – in fact each movement is far more noticeable because there is less room! He also said that it’s important to be checked if your baby’s movements INCREASE because this could show them to be struggling! I still to this day do not know exactly when Chloe died. When I look at the red wine stains on my carpet I always wonder if that was her last final kick… I’ll never know but will always look at that stain and think of her.
I was shocked to find out that in the 3 days I was in hospital when I lost Chloe there were other 4 families in the ward going through the same agony, feeling the same loss, although I know they may not have been at as late stage as Chloe, the pain is not any less for them – 4 OF US lost our babies!
Chloe’s funeral took place on 10th December; it was a beautiful sunny day, perfect just like her. Over 200 people attended the funeral to support us, some we’d never even met before. My pregnancy created so much excitement for so many people, and our loss has touched even strangers.
Chloe was and always will be the link between my partner and I, she pulled us together and she made sure we will stay together. Most of all she has given me the knowledge that I should trust my own instincts, I should always be confident enough to question the professionals if I’m worried, and never give up. To demand a second opinion if I’m still not happy with what I’m being told. She has proved to me that I will be an amazing Mummy one day. She is my little Guardian, Our little Angel.
If I made the mistake of not listening to my Midwife, of thinking the books and magazines, the websites and forums all knew better. If I had just listened to my Midwife, so many other expectant Mums must do the same. I started this Charity because I HAD to, to try to teach those expectant Mums, so none of them have to feel the pain I feel everyday. I started this for Chloe, for my family….. but also for me!
Sophia Mason (Written January 2010)
On May 18th 2011 Chloes little brother George William Wyatt arrived, not without a little drama, but safe and healthy. (Read George’s Story)