Michelle and Iain

It was Michelle. aged 32. and Iain, aged 31, fifth pregnancy after four previous births. Michelle started bleeding at 20 weeks of pregnancy and a scan showed her baby had died. Their baby was born showing no signs of life at 20 weeks. Michelle and Iain were interviewed aged 47 and 45.

Michelle and Iain have four children. Michelle became pregnant for a fifth time and at first all progressed normally. But at 20 weeks Michelle had a spot of blood and an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. Michelle and Iain had to wait over the weekend until they could have a scan which sadly showed their baby had died. They found telling their four children aged between 2 and 7 years was an incredibly hard experience. Leaving them to go back to hospital to give birth was also very difficult. Back at the hospital Michelle was told she would be given some tablets to start her labour but would then be sent home for a couple of days before coming back to give birth. Iain felt very strongly that this was bad for their family. He wanted them to stay in hospital for the birth and not go back home as it would upset their children. They were given permission to stay on at the hospital.

Michelle was admitted to a gynecology ward to give birth to her baby. But this was very difficult. There were women having terminations of pregnancy around them and there was no access to pain relief options available in the maternity suite. Michelle and Iain were left on their own during labour and Iain helped Michelle deliver their baby. They found the manner in which their baby was presented to them after birth in a cardboard tray particularly upsetting. They didn’t get to spend time with their baby nor were they offered any mementoes. They felt there was no emotional support from health professionals for them following their baby’s death.

Once home, Michelle and Iain found support through the Miscarriage Association and Sands, the national stillbirth and neonatal death charity. It was only five years later after working with Sands that Michelle and Iain found that other parents named their babies. They decided to name their baby Arthur although they had never been told the sex of their baby. Since losing their baby Michelle has trained to become a doula, and cares for women giving birth.

Michelle felt that validating your experience was important and there was no right way of doing it.

Michelle became a doula to support other mothers who were going through a similar experience.

Iain remembered very clearly going home to tell his older children about their loss.

When Michelle had her first period it triggered a physical memory of her loss.

Iain found it really helpful when people acknowledged not only that he was supporting Michelle but also how badly affected he was too.

Michelle and Iain found many people sought them out to talk about their own loss.

Michelle and Iain were anxious about how their baby would look but seeing him was a life-changing moment.

Michelle and Ian felt they would never get over their loss but got used to living with it.

Iain felt very strongly that Michelle shouldn’st go home to wait for the tablets to work as their other children were at home.

Michelle and Iain felt they were experiencing labour and birth with very little support.