Elaine and David

Elaine was 33 and David 44 when they first became pregnant. At 23 weeks, Elaine could no longer feel her baby moving and a scan showed their baby had died. Their baby was born showing no signs of life at 23 weeks and 6 days. Elaine was interviewed when she was 47 and David 59.

Elaine and David were surprised and thrilled to find out Elaine was pregnant the day after their wedding. Elaine found the pregnancy hard, as she suffers from Crohn’s disease and anxiety. At the 23 week scan Elaine’s pregnancy was progressing well. However the next day Elaine noticed she couldn’t feel their baby moving any more. She and David returned to hospital where the midwife checked but couldn’t find their baby’s heartbeat. A doctor asked David to step out of the scanning room, and David and Elaine were told separately about their baby’s death. They both found this hard, and wished the doctors had not broken the news to them this way, as they wanted to be together to support each other.

Elaine decided to take the tablet that day to prepare her body for labour. But they then had to wait over the weekend before they could return to hospital for Elaine to give birth. Elaine said she found waiting at home extremely difficult. When they returned to hospital, Elaine and David were left alone during her labour and just called a midwife when Elaine gave birth. Their daughter, Lauren was born showing no signs of life. Elaine held her for a few minutes but then had to go and have a surgical procedure to clean her uterus. She found this procedure very traumatic as she just wanted to go home. Elaine was extremely anxious and upset after the birth of her daughter and was admitted to hospital as her obstetrician was concerned about her mental health. Being separated from David for a week at this time was extremely difficult for Elaine.

Although the hospital’s bereavement counsellor was very supportive, Elaine and David found it very hard going back to the hospital for their counselling appointments. Happily, they got pregnant again very quickly, but found the next pregnancy extremely stressful as they were so worried about losing their baby again. Elaine’s pregnancy progressed well and their son was born at 35 weeks and at the time of the interview he was 12 years old. However, the impact of their loss was profound for both of them. Elaine suffers from anxiety and is still involved with Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity 13 years on and David had what he described as a nervous breakdown a few years after Lauren’s birth.

David described the lack of support for fathers and the impact that had on delaying his grief.

David described his need to know the baby was moving and kicking before he went to work each day.

David felt it was really important for fathers to talk through their experiences and not to hold things in.

David found his grief was triggered several years later after a traumatic event.

When he went back to work David was angered by someone asking if Are you over it yet?

Elaine regretted not hanging on an extra day before giving birth to her baby as her baby may then have been registered as a stillbirth.

Elaine lost the photos of her baby as the film got ruined. She was devastated.

Elaine wanted to be open with their son about his sister as he grew older.