General News and Gossip

Our baby was born before we could even meet

Here is an extract from an article our founder Sophia Mason did in 2010 with the Mirror

“Because I’d had meningitis, I worried something would go wrong during my pregnancy. At the start, the doctors were worried that my organs would be put under a lot of stress from the growing baby, or that I’d get anaemia or diabetes. But I didn’t, I sailed through it.

But still I had this niggling feeling that something might go wrong. As the pregnancy ­progressed, Dan and I got more excited. We nicknamed the bump Derek because, even though I desperately wanted a little girl, I was sure I was having a boy.

Derek kicked and wriggled all the time. In fact, some nights I couldn’t even sleep properly, as he danced around in my tummy at 4am.

From the start I insisted on an elective Caesarean. Although everything was going well, I didn’t want to take any chances because I would need more care than most.

So it was agreed I would have one on November 30, 2009.

However in the days leading up to my due date I noticed the movements in my tummy slowing down. Whereas before I was kept awake by them, now I slept right through the night.

And while before I always felt the baby at certain times – like when I lay on the sofa. Now I didn’t.

Everybody kept reassuring me this was normal, and that the baby was just running out of space in my womb. I saw my midwife the week before my due date and I told her about my fears. She told me not to worry, but to call the hospital if I felt concerned. But she didn’t explain what to look out for.

A few days later, I still didn’t feel right. The baby felt heavy and hadn’t moved and I kept telling Dan something wasn’t right. At all the National Childbirth Trust classes we went to the dads were told to be as reassuring as possible, so he just kept telling me not to worry.

I remember him saying: ‘Just think – we’ll be holding our new baby in our arms this time next week.’ The next day we went for a final pre-baby shop. As we walked around the aisles I remember telling Dan that my bump felt like a dead weight. I shudder now to think of it.

That night I was still fretting something was wrong, and again, Dan reassured me.

He poured himself a glass of red wine, and gave me a tiny one, and I purposely placed it on my tummy.

To my huge relief, the glass flew off and splattered all over our cream carpet. Dan started to mop it up and said: ‘See – Derek’s just fine!’ I don’t know to this day if that was its last ever kick.

That night in bed, I couldn’t sleep and lay awake prodding my bump, hoping to get the kind of response I used to get. But nothing. That’s when I panicked, woke Dan up, and insisted he call the hospital.

Once we got there it became a haze of nurses, scans and monitors. Nobody would tell me anything, but I just knew.

My poor baby had danced around so much that she had got herself in a knot and her cord had wrapped tightly around her neck twice.

The second loop was too tight for her, she was gone.

And yes, it was a she. After convincing myself I was having a boy I was actually going to have a girl – something I’d longed for.

I then had to make the hardest call of my life to my parents. My poor mum was more excited about this baby than anybody, and all I could say was: ‘Mum, my baby has died, I’m so sorry.’ They rushed to the hospital, as did Dan’s parents.

My Caesarean started at 9:30am – five hours after I had jumped out of bed panicking. I had a general anaesthetic so I was out cold when our beautiful daughter – Chloe Joan – was born at 9.40am. They took her straight to her daddy, who she was the spitting image of.

He cuddled her for half an hour before I came round. I’d had nine months with her – now it was his turn for a cuddle. When I woke up, the first words I heard were Dan’s: ‘You’ve got your little girl, Soph,’ he whispered. She was perfect in every way.

I had my picture taken holding her. I love that photo – it’s just my beautiful baby daughter
and me.

I had to stay in hospital for three days and went into complete shock. I planned Chloe’s funeral from my hospital bed, and afterwards, I was desperate to understand why us and what I’d done wrong.

I would trawl chatrooms from stillborn baby websites and it was there I discovered that 6,500 babies die in the UK each year. It was then I realised I was one of so many. Too many.

Chloe’s death was ‘unexplained’, though the nurses said they were 99.9% sure her cord had caused it. But that wasn’t good enough.

I got angry and thought to myself, why was I warned about everything from my coffee intake to the types of cheese I could eat, yet nobody thought to tell me to keep an eye on my baby’s movements?

I’ve since found out that movements don’t reduce in the weeks before labour because of less room. If anything they become more noticeable.

It was then the idea for Chloe’s Count The Kicks campaign came about. I don’t want to scare anybody, because most pregnancies go perfectly. But I do want to make women aware that keeping an eye on kicks and movements is vital. But most of all, I want them to listen to their instincts.

One day we would like ­another baby, but right now we’re still grieving for Chloe. We’ve put her stuff in the loft and some day, we hope to get it down for her little brother or sister.

Like I say, I’m a glass-half-full kind of woman.

You can read the full article from the mirror.co.uk here

About the author

Elizabeth