So from the beginning it was a hot summers day I had just finished work I remember the niggling feeling that I must buy a pregnancy test, my period has not arrived! I’ll never forget that feeling when I saw the positive result – I was excited, scared and shocked all at the same time. I rang Wayne and the first thing he said was ‘we can go buy a pram tomorrow! Ha men!
The next day I made an appointment with the doctor but was given a pregnancy pack and sent away to await my first scan. I immediately stopped smoking, cut out caffeine and really looked after myself.
We were so excited for our first scan, during we were told I was only 8 weeks and therefore could not offer another scan until 20 weeks! I had to wait 12 weeks until my next one.
We booked a caravan break in St Oysths by this point I was coming up to 20 weeks and everything was going well, I was glowing! On our 20 week scan everything was perfect and we were over the moon to be told we were expecting a little baby boy. Everyone was so excited.
At around 36 weeks I had a baby shower at home, my friends came round we had food and I was given so many lovely gifts for Stanley, we were all so excited I remember saying to them ‘If anything happens I know I did everything by the book to protect him’ it was like I already knew the tragedy that lay ahead.
My last day at work was again so exciting I knew that the next time I would go in would I would be bringing my new baby boy! Everyone was so kind and got us some lovely gifts we were truly spoilt by everyone. Apart from a few water infections & Group B Strep everything went well, although now I look back I realise how naive you are in your first pregnancy. I thought after 12 weeks I was safe, apart from the possibility of premature labour nothing else crossed my mind. I took regular bump pictures and I’m so glad I did because I really cherish them. One day I woke to find I didn’t feel right, I must have been around 38-39 weeks pregnant. I freaked out as it almost seemed my tummy had decreased and I could all of a sudden see my feet! My mum and I went straight to the hospital, I was put on the monitor and Stanley seemed fine, the midwife was going to give me an early sweep but on inspection of my cervix she confirmed I had white spots that bled to touch. The consultant came, swabs were taken I was then sent home to be told a few days later it was Group B Strep but I didn’t need any medication.
At last my due date arrived it was a Thursday, I had no signs of Stanley making an appearance, the next day I went to my Nan’s to see her hopefully for the last time before he would be here I remember Stanley was moving like mad that day my stomach rippled from side to side – little fidget bum!
That evening me and Wayne went to Tesco so I could have a walk about, I had already had a few Braxton hicks but nothing to get excited about. Wayne brought me a curry which I scoffed hoping it would bring things on. I don’t remember going to bed that night nor do I remember his last movement. I woke up, got ready and said to Wayne ‘I can’t feel him’. At this point, still being naive, I thought he was just sleeping. I did the usual and had a bath but still no movement. I was now feeling in a panic so I rang the CDS who advised to drink a cold drink to see if he would move, but nothing. We were advised to come straight in, I think we only waited probably ten minutes or so and then I was called onto the ward. The midwife placed the monitor onto my tummy but there was nothing but silence – ok, so I’m really freaking out now! Then she tried to reassure me he may just be curled in a funny position, so she tried a handheld Doppler but still nothing. I cannot describe my feeling at this point as I don’t remember. We were walked to the scanning suite, I was laid down, scanned and waited … all I heard was ‘I’m so sorry there’s no heartbeat’
I remember screaming what felt like the hospital down and thrashing about while she got the consultant. Mr Jiles came in and scanned me again and said ‘I am so sorry Zoe, there is no heartbeat’. At this point I was babbling all sorts and grabbed my scanner off him trying to scan myself! I then made him show me, and there he was my still little Stanley, his heart was not beating. I sure I kept saying ‘I haven’t got to give birth to him have I?’
We were led to a side room to try and take it in, we were then taken onto the ward and into a family room it had a double bed, TV, pictures on the wall etc although I can’t remember the name of the room. Me and Wayne lay on the bed and sobbed our hearts out. Our next heartache was contacting our family, I made Wayne ring my dad, looking back I feel so selfish for putting all that on him, but I couldn’t say the words. I somehow managed to call my mum I was crying saying something like ‘I am in hospital’, I will never forget her reply ‘is he here? Is he ok?. I screamed that he was dead, she screamed, hung up and made her way.
Our families arrived and we all just cried and cried, it was the most horrendous moment, the midwife came to see us all and took what felt like pints of blood. I was in complete shock at this point and just sat silently numb from my head to toe. Linda, the midwife in charge, explained what would happen next. To my complete horror I was told to take a tablet which would soften my cervix and I would then be sent home until Monday to either await natural labour over the weekend or to be induced on Monday. I don’t remember leaving the hospital or the drive home. I sat on the sofa frozen. I was 40 weeks pregnant knowing that my baby had died inside of me. The rest of that evening is quite a blur, everyone was angry I had been sent home, phone calls were made to the hospital but they advised that if I was induced early before the tablet had softened my cervix I could be faced with a very long labour so I stayed home. I woke Wayne up in the middle of the night and said ‘I just felt him kick he is alive!’; he had to remind me he had died. The next day was Sunday, again its quite a blur, but I had to unpack and re pack my hospital bag as I didn’t need all of Stanley’s things. Stanley’s bedroom door remained shut, I couldn’t allow myself or anyone else to go in there, I am not sure why, I think it was a mixture of denial & heartbreak – I remember nothing for the remainder of that day.
We had to be at the hospital at 8am, Ray (Wayne’s dad) drove us there, Mum & Jane came too and I text Ronnie to tell her that she could tell Louise what was happening. By this point floods of messages appeared on facebook, I couldn’t face them so I switched off my phone. I had to walk through the delivery suite surrounded by pregnant woman, newborns, and women screaming in labour – it was horrendous. We were taken back to the family suite, at around 9-10am I was given a tablet internally after a while I started to get a few niggles. I went for a wee but all of a sudden it felt like something clicked in my cervix and before I knew it I was in full blown labour, I had gas and air throughout. My midwife, Carly, was fantastic. I had to kneel on the floor over the bed and rock from side to side, my god did it hurt. I was examined and told I was 8cm dilated; I was terrified, I knew it wouldn’t be long and I was so scared to see him. Carly said ‘we need to get you to a delivery room’ so with that I ran naked from the waist down through the ward – she took my gas and air off me I had no choice Ha! Only me! I was so high on gas and air I had a go at the midwife; I was crying, screaming, giggling, and kicking the bed – I lost it really! I begged for epidural but it was far too late. After pushing for what felt like forever he was born at 15:07 weighing 7lb 1 and a half Oz. Stanley was born sleeping and the room was completely silent.
What kills me the most is that I do not remember his face, not at that moment of when he was placed in my arms because I was so out of it, but I remember his little hands and tufts of hair. Our family came in and out but then me and Wayne held him for hours. It wasn’t long enough, he was then taken away in his basket of love to the baby morgue and that was that last time I saw him. Carly ran me a bath, I put fresh clothes on and went back to the suite, they wanted to keep me in but I refused, I couldn’t be around screaming women and babies. Stanley was blessed in the chapel with Carly, she asked if I wanted her to bring him back up but I said no, this is something I will never get over as I wish I had held him all night. At the time I wanted to remember him as he was, when babies die they deteriorate very quickly and I guess I was just frightened. Wayne’s dad sat in the hospital all day waiting, I was taken to the car in a wheel chair and I left the hospital with nothing but Stanley’s clothes and a blanket of love. I had to leave my darling Stanley in the morgue and I cannot explain that pain. Around a year ago I met with a consultant who went through my notes; it was advised my placenta had started to fail and had signs of infection.
The day Stanley was born was also my dad’s birthday; I dreamt a few weeks earlier he would be born on that day! I barely remember the days that followed; I had so many challenges ahead like any other new mum – I had to experience leaking milk, swollen breast, bleeding. With the help of Ray and the family Stanley’s funeral was arranged, Paigntons were fantastic and so sensitive. We chose ‘over the rainbow’, ‘fields of gold’ and ‘your song, Elton John’, we chose a white casket with chrome fittings.
We gave paigntons an outfit for Stanley to be dressed in (it was an outfit Ronnie got me), a cardigan, St Christopher to be placed in the palm of his hand, a blanket, slippers, hat, teddies and letters. On the day of the funeral I was numb, I think I chain smoked about 20 cigarettes. I remember we were all gathered outside the church as I turned I saw the hearse approaching, and when they took out his little coffin I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t stop the tears. I remember my legs giving way as we walked behind him down the aisle; all I wanted to do was get him out. After the ceremony we then had to face the burial, his coffin was lowered into the ground whilst everyone scattered purple rose petals into the ground, I was so overwhelmed by all the flowers our family had sent. We only had parents, grandparents, siblings, aunty and uncles attend, it wasn’t a celebration of life, I just could not face anyone.
It took weeks for me to see anyone, I was so scared to go out in public. When I did I would constantly put on a front that I was coping ok, but I wasn’t, I still don’t now, hence why it’s taken 4 years to write my story. I am trying to allow myself to grieve, I sometimes feel like he is forgotten, because he died in my tummy it’s like he didn’t exist. But he did, he grew for 9 months, he was a 7lb newborn baby. He may not have taken a breath on earth but he lived inside me. I think of Stanley every single day, whether it’s been 4 years or 10 I will always cry for him, ache for him and want him here with me.
My maternity was due to end in the September which I was entitled to take in full but I made the decision to return to work in May, three and a half months after Stanley had died. My AXA buddies were fantastic and I will never forget the love and support they gave me and still do today. I had to face newborns being brought into the office and people comparing my loss to theirs, but I remained as positive as I could when all I wanted to do was run out and cry!
In the July/August I suffered an early miscarriage, by the September I found out I was pregnant again. Due to my history I was under the consultant so had extra scans arranged and care. Our first scan was at 8 weeks and we were called into the same scanning room where I was told Stanley had died. I was so frightened. The radiographer started the scan but stopped and advised that I needed an internal scan. I panicked but she reassured me it was purely for a better look and everything seemed fine. After what seemed forever she announced – ‘I am happy to confirm you’re expecting twins!’ – My god the fear, shock and excitement was unbelievable. My pregnancy was extremely difficult, I constantly felt that they would die to. After many trips to the hospital, an early labour scare and scans Charlie & Jasmine were born healthy via C-Section at 37 weeks. They didn’t need any breathing equipment, they were perfect – my miracles sent from their big brother Stanley.
Charlie & Jasmine have brought us so much joy into our lives I truly believe they were sent to us. Stanley is still my child it wasn’t ‘one of those things’ – it doesn’t change anything now we have twins, he was our baby, he was meant for earth but just didn’t quite make it.
We speak of Stanley every day, we visit his grave with Charlie & Jasmine and they always say ‘mummy Stanley is my brother’ and they are right, he is.
The purpose of my story is to raise awareness of this taboo subject ‘STILLBIRTH’ but I also wrote it for me & others to understand me a bit more. I will never not speak of Stanley.
We would like to wish Zoe lots of luck as she prepares to do a skydive on Saturday 17th September! She is generously raising funds for Kicks Count, in memory of precious Stanley. If you’d like to support her, please visit her Do it for Charity page: