Asun and David

Asun and David were aged 33 and 36 at the time of their second pregnancy. Asun had been feeling unwell for a few days, and her waters broke at 23 weeks. She stayed in hospital and a few days later she went into premature labour. Their baby was born alive at 23 weeks and 6 days and lived for three hours.

Asun, aged 33 and David, aged 36, first child was 15 months old when Asun became pregnant for a second time. Throughout her pregnancy Asun felt extremely sick but otherwise her pregnancy progressed normally. At 22 weeks she became unwell with a urine infection. After fainting several times at work, Asun went to see a midwife. But she felt disappointed that her concerns were dismissed. A few days later Asun’s waters broke in the middle of the night. She was admitted to the maternity ward to rest to try to prevent the start of her labour for as long as possible. David found this time very stressful, wanting to spend time with his wife but having to go to work and also look after their son. After a few days a scan showed there was no amniotic fluid left around her baby and that he was not growing properly. Asun and David talked to the midwives and were told that their baby’s lungs would not develop properly and that he would have severe brain damage. Asun’s life was also at risk from infection. So they made the difficult decision to have their pregnancy induced if Asun’s labour didn’t start naturally before 24 weeks of pregnancy. Waiting over the weekend to see if Asun’s labour started was extremely hard for them both. They were relieved that Asun’s labour began before 24 weeks and she gave birth naturally without the need for an induction.

Asun gave birth in the hospital’s bereavement suite which she and David found a helpful environment. The birth of their son, who they named Pau, was very quick but painful. Asun had been a bit scared to see or hold him as he was so tiny. But she and David were pleased to spend his short life with him. Asun really appreciated the midwife who helped her wash and dress her son, make memories with him during and after his short life. She also informed Asun’s employer about her baby’s death on her behalf. Asun and David found it very hard leaving Pau at the hospital but felt they wanted to spend time with their older son as Asun had been away for so long.

Some normal pregnancy symptoms continued, and Asun found it extremely hard when her milk came in. It was painful and a difficult reminder that she had been so keen to breastfeed her baby. As Pau was born alive Asun was entitled to maternity leave. She has found her time off work gave her the time and space to help her recovery. She and her husband found the hospital bereavement team very helpful, in particular in helping to organise a funeral for their son. David decided not to have counselling but has found it helpful talking to friends and family. Asun and David were interviewed 4 months after their loss, and were thinking that they wouldn’t try for another baby as their experience had been so painful.

David Z felt that giving time to listen to each other and talk about things together helped.

For David Z, spending time with his son and holding him was incredibly important.

Despite being unsure about having photographs at the time, David Z described how much they mean to him now.

David Z felt helpless at being able to comfort his wife after the loss of their baby.

David described how supportive his employer was when his wife Asun was first admitted to hospital and when he returned to work.

David Z felt that fathers’s needs were very much forgotten.

David Z found the toughest part was being in the hospital waiting for information.

David Z found it very tough balancing work, caring for his son and visiting Asun in hospital.

Asun found it very upsetting collecting her baby’s ashes. She and her husband David have decided to make a special place for them in their new home.

Asun appreciated her maternity leave as it gave her time to heal and meant she didn’st have to worry about having a long period of sick leave on her CV.

Asun described her son’s reaction to the loss and how he suffered from her not being around while she was in hospital.

Asun explained how hard it was when her milk came in after the birth of her baby.