This is the story of a special little girl, Chloe Wyatt, told by her proud mum Sophia. Chloe was stillborn in 2009, but her legacy lives on in Kicks Count.

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?

Chloe was a surprise from day one. We were so excited about our baby. Like most expectant mums, I religiously read pregnancy and baby books, joined every baby club and online forum, desperate to learn about this wonderful but daunting experience. 

At my 20 week scan, they saw my placenta was low, so I was booked for another scan at 35 weeks. I had a planned c-section 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 it was much less recently, but assumed it was because there was no room, and baby was getting ready for birth. My midwife agreed with me, though she did say I should call her or the maternity unit if I was worried. 

Without knowing of the risks, why would I worry?

I thought, in a week’s time, my baby will be here! The baby’s heartbeat 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 and I started to worry.

On Thursday we were busy all day, shopping and finalising everything in preparation for the coming Friday when our baby would arrive.

Throughout the day 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 drink and I purposely put the glass on my tummy. I thought if the baby moved just slightly then I'd really see it with the drink 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 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 – but that night just didn’t move at all.

At 4:30 am I knew – I felt the elbow and I moved it around – there was no opposition to me doing this. The 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 autopilot – Poor Dan was in shock – but I wasn’t. I was so very calm.  At 6 am 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, 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 that was 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 any time if I have any worries at all…

But why wasn’t this made clear with my first?

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 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 labour, they DO NOT reduce because there’s not much room – in fact, each movement is far more noticeable because there is less room! I still, to this day, do not know exactly when Chloe died. When I look at the 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 the hospital when I lost Chloe, there were another 4 families in the ward going through the same agony. Although I know they may not have been 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 is my little Guardian, Our little Angel.

I made the mistake of not listening to my midwife, of thinking the books and magazines, the websites and forums all knew better. I started this charity because I HAD to, to try to teach expectant mums, so none of them have to feel the pain I feel every day. I started this for Chloe, for my family….. but also for me!

Sophia Mason (Written January in 2010)