Maxine and Steve

It was Maxine, aged 34, and Steve, aged 48, second pregnancy. Maxines waters broke at 18 weeks and so her labour was induced early. Their baby was born showing no signs of life at 21 weeks of pregnancy. Maxine was interviewed aged 35 and Steve aged 49.

Maxine and Steve had one child who was five years old when Maxine became pregnant for a second time. Her pregnancy had been going well, so she was shocked when her waters broke at 18 weeks. She is a school teacher and they broke while she was teaching a class of children. Maxine was taken by ambulance to an Early Pregnancy Unit where doctors assessed how much fluid was left around her baby. Over the next few days Maxine was seen by several different doctors, who gave different opinions. One gave Maxine and Steve hope that things might be OK, but a different doctor told them that the risk of infection was life-threatening for Maxine and their baby if she continued her pregnancy. They were faced with a very difficult and painful choice, and advised to have the pregnancy induced in the knowledge that their baby would be too young to survive. Maxine and Steve felt there wasn’t really a decision to make and Maxine agreed to have her labour induced. But they decided to wait a fortnight so they could spend Christmas with their older daughter.

Having two weeks before giving birth gave Maxine and Steve time to reflect and make decisions about whether they wanted to see and hold their baby. Their daughter was still alive when Maxine took a tablet to induce her labour. But when she was born, she showed no signs of life. They named their daughter Heidi, and spent time with her in the hospital and then visited her two or three times over the next few days. The hospital offered to organise the funeral for them, which Maxine and Steve found really helpful.

The interview took place just 6 weeks after Maxine had given birth to Heidi. Maxine was on sick leave from work as she was not entitled to maternity leave. It is early days but she has found talking to other parents who have lost their babies through online support groups really helpful.

Maxine and Steve described how they lit candles to help communicate their feelings to each other.

Maxine experienced bleeding and her breast milk coming in. These were extremely painful reminders of the loss of her baby.

Maxine and Steve had their baby cremated so that they could keep her ashes close to them.

Maxine and Steve felt that there wasn’st a lot of support available.

Maxine felt an early miscarriage was very different to giving birth and holding her baby born at 21 weeks of pregnancy.

Maxine and Steve felt it was two weeks of a rollercoaster especially when they went in to hospital for Maxine to have the birth induced and the doctor wanted another expert opinion.

Maxine found it helpful having time before birth to use the internet to look at pictures of what their baby might look like.