15 Oct Kerry’s story
I’d heard about baby loss and I’d thought to myself how devastating it must be. You think about the parents and wonder if there is anything you could possibly say to help them or ease their pain, but you don’t know. Then one day I didn’t need to wonder, and I didn’t need to think, because without warning my own world was torn apart and I quickly realised there is absolutely nothing anyone can say or do. Child loss is soul destroying, your heart is shattered and your life is never ever the same again.
I was just under 34 weeks pregnant when I was admitted to hospital with my second child. I was told I had high blood pressure, but I felt fine, and even when they told me I might have to be induced early I wasn’t concerned. You hear of baby’s being born premature and going on to be perfectly healthy. All my scans had been perfect and there was nothing to suggest I should be overly concerned.
A few days later, the day before my planned induction I went into labour naturally and later that day my beautiful little girl Lucy Olivia was brought into the world weighing 3lbs 7.5oz. Within seconds the room was full of people and I remember thinking ‘why isn’t she crying? Let me hear her cry!’ And then I heard her and for a moment I felt such relief. Within minutes she was whisked away and I remember the doctor saying to me that something was wrong and that she might have a condition or syndrome they were not expecting. I remember saying to them I don’t care, I can cope with anything, but please just help her live.
Nothing in this world could have prepared me for the next day when I was told that Lucy had Patau’s Syndrome (Trisomy 13), a condition not compatible with life. I remember the consultant sitting us down, he had tears in his eyes telling us and I just sat there in disbelief. I didn’t believe it, I didn’t want to believe it. Lucy had a hare lip and an extra finger on each hand and I wondered how on earth could nothing have been picked up on a scan, and there I was now being told my daughter WAS going to die. It had to be wrong. I needed them to be wrong.
We spent 18 days by Lucy’s side in the neonatal unit, willing her to fight, praying she would prove them wrong and be our miracle. I needed her, I loved her, she was my baby girl. After 18 days, Lucy gave up her fight and I held her in my arms as she took her last breath praying she knew just how much she was loved, our hearts broken, our dreams shattered.
It’s been 19 years since we had and lost Lucy and I can honestly say losing her has been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life. Nothing can compare with the pain of losing your own child. They say it gets easier with time, but in my experience, you just learn to deal with it better. You have no other choice. With the help of Sands and other online forums, i made lifelong friends with other bereaved parents and I can mostly talk about Lucy now with a smile. I know she was mine for a reason and I am thankful every day for the 18 days she blessed my life.
Each year on her birthday we still release balloons at her ‘garden’ sending them to Heaven, letting her know we will never forget her. Not a day passes without a thought of Lucy and I talk about her often. I want people to know about her, I need them to know. She was and always will be my beautiful baby girl.
Babyloss is still a taboo subject and I am thankful for Babyloss Awareness Week to break the silence and let people know they are not alone. So many people are affected by babyloss, far more than I ever imagined. I will be lighting my candle at 7pm today in remembrance of my little Lucy and all the other angels who were taken far too soon.
Sending love and strength to any newly bereaved parents or to any one affected by the loss of a baby. Reach out. You are not alone.
– Kerry Shevlin, Lucy’s mum
There are many organisations that offer support to anyone affected by pregnancy and baby loss.
Sands is here to support anyone affected by the death of a baby. Sands’ free Helpline is available on 0808 164 3332 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 6-9pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for support. www.sands.org.uk/support