I became obsessed by it. My way of coping was to try to get pregnant straight away. And it worked. When I fell pregnant with Scarlett and had a good 12-week scan, I felt like I was cured, like I was just a normal pregnant person. You don’t forget the miscarriage, but after the scan I definitely relaxed and assumed everything else would be ok. The possibility that sometimes people don’t get to bring home a baby after that point never even crossed my mind. So when I went to the hospital because she’d not been moving very much for a couple of days, I assumed I was just being paranoid. To hear the words “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat”, has to be one of the most harrowing things a mother can ever hear.
I gave birth to Scarlett on 27 November. It was a Saturday. I’d spoken with Jane, our bereavement midwife, on the phone beforehand, as it was her day off. She specialised in helping families through stillbirths. She was great at getting me to focus on how I wanted to spend time with my little girl before we had to say goodbye. Until talking to Jane, I was fixated on practical things like the autopsy, the funeral, what our options would be going forward. Perhaps it was a way of avoiding starting to deal with the grief. I wanted to have a plan, timeframes, options. Jane helped me put all of that aside. She gently told us that all we needed to think about was how we wanted to spend time with our little girl – there would be time for everything else later. We only had a few days to make a lifetime of memories, so we had to make the most of it. She was so right.
Looking back at the birth, I don’t have any regrets. The team around us treated Scarlett like any other little girl, saying how beautiful she was, who she looked like. We had the first day together - just me, my husband and my sister. We bathed her. I hadn’t realised how hard it would be, emotionally and physically, but I’m so glad we did it. We made footprints and I took a lock of her hair. More than anything, we just talked to her. Told her all the things we had wanted for her and how sorry we were that she wasn’t going to get to do any of them.
To hear the words “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat”, has to be one of the most harrowing things a mother can ever hear.