The 9-15th October is baby loss awareness week. Kayleigh Warren shares her story with us, opening up publicly for the first time.
You’re only taught “don’t have sex because you will become pregnant, catch an STI or an STD”. You’re never given the tools to deal with the mental, emotional or physical pain of losing your child.
At 18 my OH [other half] and I had ‘the conversation’ about the future; me coming off the pill and starting a family. We had known each other for 4 years and been together a matter of months, met the families already and I moved in with him after 6 months. I had been off the pill for 5 months when we fell with our first. Just like most, I took all the things you’re told to take for a healthy pregnancy, stopped all the things that were bad. Every emotion possible flowed through us, my 12-week scan was booked… but we never got to see.
The week before the scan I started to spot bleed; “is this normal”… “what do we do?”. My OH and I went to the hospital and had a scan, we couldn’t hear a heart beat and someone else was called in to check. I was admitted and told I was miscarrying. I was put in a room and my OH was sent home as it was way past visiting hours. I was alone for the night with only tears; tears of loss and tears of of guilt, feeling like I must have done something wrong to lose my OH’s first child. Minutes turned into hours and I was left on my own and told to use one of those cardboard toilet hats whenever I went to the loo. Your mind isn’t yours at this point and in the early hours I went to the loo and forgot to use this hat thing. Well, it was this moment our little one was born. I called the nurse; she moaned that I had not used the hat and in the coldest way of saying it, retrieved our little one. My OH picked me up the next morning and I was sent home with some painkillers and some leaflets. He had to hold it together for both of us; I was in immense pain and in floods of tears for what felt like months. We were never offered any counselling and I don’t remember if any tests were carried out to find out why. We moved into our flat and my mental state was unrecognisable, I had a “F*** you” attitude to pretty much everything; I wasn’t the nicest of people to be around. Without my OH I’m not sure if I would have turned it around. I always believed our first little one was a boy… it was just a feeling I had.
That same year after I had healed, I quickly fell pregnant again. The anxiety and worry was just overwhelming for both of us and our families. We passed our 12-week milestone, then our 24-week milestone. We were having a girl and we named her Faith, seeing and feeling all the kicks and punches and hiccups. Her reactions to mine and my OH’s voices were just amazing. At 31 weeks and 3 days, in the evening, I felt like I was having contractions. I called my midwife and she said they sounded like Braxton Hicks and not to worry if I could still feel Faith moving around. Her movement had slowed down, but again I was told this was normal as they run out of space and she was head down at my last scan. The next morning my OH left for work as normal and left me sleeping, this was the very moment I had my very first ‘mother’s instinct’; it’s not one you would want to remember. I got up, got myself sorted and made a cup of tea. I realised I hadn’t felt her move yet like normal and in that split second, I knew something was wrong. I called my midwife, but she was with another soon to be Mum, so the surgery sent another midwife out to me. Her name was Marie. I was 31 weeks and 4 days, we were safe… surely. They tell you if you pass a certain point, you’re safe and will have a healthy baby; it’s all roses and sparkles. Marie came to my home with a doppler, she couldn’t find a heart beat (which she said with the home ones was possible), she found the hospital and took me in her car, which I later found out she shouldn’t have done. I called my Mum, my Mother-in-Law and left a message for my OH to come to the hospital. Again, I was put in a room, but this time my mother in law met me at the hospital. A nurse and a doctor came in with a wheeled scan machine. I knew before they even turned the monitor on, we had lost her. The next few minutes lasted for forever. Seconds after being told, my OH ran in to the room and I just sobbed uncontrollably. I can’t really tell you what happened after that until that evening. He was allowed to stay the night with me in the room, I was given a tablet to start the contractions and would be given another in a couple of hours if they hadn’t started.
We were in the maternity ward and there was a Mum in labour on the ward. I kept trying to tell myself that the scan was wrong, and Faith would wake up any minute and I would feel her kicking me. I was massively in denial. It was around lunch time, I believe, that I was having contractions badly, I had pethidine. My OH on one side of me rubbing my back and my Mum on the other side putting my hair up rubbing my arm. I was about to give birth to our first daughter; the first grandchild to two sets of grandparents and first niece to my OH’s siblings. I had everyone in the room with me apart from the youngest sister in law and my brother in law. Time went and I gave birth naturally to our beautiful daughter Faith and still, I waited for her to cry, but the cry never came. She was wrapped in a blanket and passed to me just like any new born. She is this perfect little girl, light brown wispy bits of hair. Everything around me just seemed to zone out, it was just me, her and my OH. We held her for hours and hours, but those hours weren’t long enough, I wanted time to just stop. And still, I waited for her to cry and open her eyes. They wheeled a little wooden box in and I placed her inside. At the same time, someone came in to ask us questions about an autopsy and all this other stuff that I don’t remember and we were put on the spot about this and that.
We decided not to have an autopsy as I didn’t want her being cut open; she didn’t come in to this world like that. We the bloods taken to see if that showed anything, but they were all normal, for both me and for her. The only thing they could put it down to was that when I passed my placenta, a piece the size of a 50p had broken away- that was the only answer we got.
We left the hospital the next day, walking out of there without our daughter, I have no words for that feeling. I didn’t want to go home to our flat where the nursery was all ready and waiting for her, so we stayed at my OH’s parents. My Mother-in-Law ran me a bath and as I lay there for the first time in months, it was just me, but now I had an emptiness in my tummy – even that doesn’t describe how I felt. We went shopping for the perfect little dress and chose a few things for her to keep her safe. We had her funeral and a wake and most of that day is a blur. The only two parts of that day I really remember is watching my OH carry our daughters little white coffin into the church; I still can’t listen to the songs we played that day. The other was watching him carry her to her forever garden, and watching as she was lowered into the ground.
I never went back on contraception and we weren’t tracking anything, we just agreed that if we fall then it was time for us to fall. A month after her funeral I lost my Nana to cancer and my entire world crashed all over again; I still think she held out for her birth. I’m not religious but I feel like they are together, which keeps me going. Faith turned 13 this year and we celebrate her in our own way.
I fell pregnant a month after losing my Nan and practically lived at the hospital all the way through, every twinge, every time I hadn’t felt a movement in more than half an hour. Every scan we couldn’t see what sex baby was, but we just wanted them here. I was breach for the last 3 months, they booked me in for a C-section a few weeks before the due date. My midwife throughout was Marie and I’m sure she was my guardian angel. I gave birth to a very loud little girl who we named Tallulah, soon followed a year or so later by her brother Ryu who was also breach and was born via C-section.
I had severe post-natal depression with Tallulah and wouldn’t let anyone help me with her at all, she was admitted at a month with bad jaundice and put on a double light bed. Ryu was in ICU for a week on a feeding tube with very low glucose levels. But, they both made it through and are now 12 and 10. I still get upset, I still cry and to a degree still blame myself for not being able to carry those 2 beautiful babies to full term. I’m extremely lucky to have been able to have two healthy and happy children and be able to teach them and prepare them in the future that these things can happen.