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We want to help other parents through baby loss ordeal
EVERYTHING was ready for a new arrival – the cot was out, the baby clothes bought.
But both Kelly Baker and Louise Scrase left hospital without the tiny life they had nurtured for so many weeks.
Heartbreakingly, the friends are united by this shared experience of losing a baby.
Now they want to do something positive to help others going through the same loss by organising a fundraiser to thank the Princess Anne Hospital, in Southampton, that supported them through it.
Louise keeps her children with her through her tattoos of both her son, Alfie and the daughter she lost, Angel.
She suffered a stillbirth, having her little girl, Angel, at 30 weeks after she developed life-threatening eclampsia.
She told how the pregnancy had been fine until a few days before when she was sick, but put it down to something she had eaten, hormones or stress. Unwell again a day later, then she woke up to find she had lost part of her vision.
She went to a walk-in centre with her mother and now husband Dan, 28, but was advised to go to hospital.
A split-second decision not to go home first to collect her things but go straight to hospital saved Louise’s life.
Near the Princess Anne hospital she had a massive fit lasting 15 minutes.
Doctors spent the next four hours battling to save Louise’s life and control her high blood pressure.
Heavily drugged and coming in and out of consciousness, Louise does not remember much, except waking to be told her baby had not survived.
“I remember looking at Dan and telling him I was sorry and going back to sleep,”
said the 30-year-old, from Woolston.
“I can’t imagine how it must have been for him.”
But Louise still had to go through labour to give birth to her child, Angel.
“She just looked like this perfect baby, you would have just thought she was asleep,” Louise said.
“I knew it had happened, but you still have your baby bump, but you don’t have your baby.”
Louise could also hear babies on the ward and just wanted to go home.
She highlighted the hospital’s sensitivity and the things they offered that helped like footprints, handprints and a memory box.
Although a relative offered to take down all the baby stuff that had been prepared for the new arrival, she refused.
“I needed it to be there when I got home. I just wanted to do it in my own time and let it sink in,” she added.
“You learn to deal with it.”
The couple have gone on to have a son, Alfie, now 18 months old, whose due date was a year and a day later than Angel’s.
Kelly, from Portswood, can identify completely with her friend’s sentiments.
She lost daughter, Harlow, very shortly after she was born at 22 weeks in December 2011 at the Princess Anne Hospital.
A normal pregnancy is 40 weeks.
Kelly said she had not felt right for the whole pregnancy, with headaches and sickness, then a scan revealed the baby had stopped growing.
She was due to go in for another scan when she went into premature labour.
Kelly described how her daughter was born and gave “just the tiniest little breath”.
The hospital did handprints of the baby and photos and provided a memory box as well as tiny pieces of clothing.
Staff talked through what was going to happen and ensured, where possible, that the family’s wishes were carried out.
But she described the numbness she felt afterwards.
“You go to hospital, you can feel your baby inside moving and you leave 30 hours later and you have given birth, but you come home on your own and it’s just surreal,” said the 25-year-old, who has Rex, ten months, and Alfie, six.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s happening to you.”
The funeral was just before Christmas, which Kelly said was particularly difficult.
“I’d written all our Christmas cards and they all had from us and bump,” she said.
She said she always says she has three children.
“I can’t say I have only got two because I have given birth to three,” said Kelly.
“It took me a long time not to be angry about things and just accept what’s happened.
“Now I feel I’m in a place where I can do something, give something back.
”Somebody so tiny can make such a massive difference to your life.
“Pregnancy is such a delicate process, it makes you more aware of how precious it is.”
Both women feel there is a taboo around the subject, with people not wanting to cause upset, but said talking about what had happened helped.
“Everybody’s scared of saying the wrong thing so they don’t say anything – just talk to me, I’m still the same person,”Kelly said.
“People were scared to say stuff and then I thought people didn’t care,” added Louise.
“I don’t mind talking about it, it happened, it’s part of who I am now.”
- The two women have organised a fundraiser in West End Parish Hall, on October 10, from 2pm to 4pm.
- The fete will include stalls, face painting, children’s activities, refreshments and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses in West End.
- The day will also reflect the hope that the women believe is important, with advice on ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant and health in pregnancy.
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