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Kelly

Age at interview: 39
Brief Outline: Kelly age 33 was pregnant for a third time following the loss of twins at 5 and 15 weeks and a miscarriage at 8 weeks. Following bleeding at 23 weeks, a scan showed Kelly’s baby did not have a heart beat and shortly after her baby was born showing no signs of life.
Background: Kelly is 39 and is married. She has been pregnant five times and has children aged 2 and 3 years.

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Kelly’s first pregnancy was a twin pregnancy, she lost one baby at 5 weeks followed by her second baby at 15 weeks of pregnancy due to a problem with her uterus. She then became pregnant again but miscarried at 8 weeks. Kelly became pregnant for the third time and initially had no problems. However at her 22 week scan there were concerns about her baby’s brain and how the baby was growing. Kelly took time off work to rest but 3 days later started bleeding and when she was scanned her baby did not have a heartbeat. Kelly started to go into labour while she was in hospital. Kelly gave birth to her daughter Grace in a bereavement suite away from the main maternity suite which she and her husband found made life as comfortable as possible. After spending lots of time with her daughter, leaving her baby in the hospital was the hardest thing for Kelly. She really appreciated all of the mementos she received to remember her daughter.

Kelly decided against having a post-mortem as the previous one for her first pregnancy had not been useful. However tests showed that Kelly had a clotting problem with her blood that stopped her baby receiving nutrients through the umbilical cord and stopped her from growing properly. Following the birth of her baby, Kelly’s problem with her uterus was treated and when she became pregnant for a fourth time, her pregnancy was monitored closely and she was treated for the blood clotting problem. Kelly gave birth at 40 weeks to her daughter. She then became pregnant for a fifth time and had some problems with too much fluid around her baby but she gave birth at 34 weeks to a baby girl.
 

Kelly hated the term miscarriage.

Kelly hated the term miscarriage.

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I found that really, really hard. Because Grace was born at twenty three weeks. And to me, she looked like a baby. And it upset me for them to call her like a miscarriage. Or like the - what they used as the terminology. 

Because to me, I've heard of babies surviving at twenty three weeks. And continuing. I just can't understand why they use that terminology. 

I don't - yeah. I, the one I lost at fifteen weeks, I would say yes, a miscarriage. But not the one I lost at twenty three weeks. I hated the terminology, it really upset me. 

I think there needs to be some other terminology used.
 

Kelly felt really cared for and appreciated her midwife’s commitment to stay with her until she gave birth.

Kelly felt really cared for and appreciated her midwife’s commitment to stay with her until she gave birth.

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And the midwife who was allocated to me, she - she was absolutely great. She said, "I'm due to go off duty in a couple of hours, but I'm not going to go home, I'm going to stay with you until you deliver this baby." She was, she was brilliant.

Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. 

And did that make a real difference?

It did. It did. Because they - it - they were so caring, and - What they done, they used like lavender oil, and stuff like that, so like aromatherapy. And like used - gave me like pethidine, and like gas & air and everything, to make me more comfortable. And basically were there all the way throughout the labour. And they were absolutely brilliant. And round about five o'clock that night, I delivered the baby. And they asked me, and said, "Look, would you - would you like to hold the baby? We can - we can dress the baby for you." And I said, "Yes, please." So they, they put the little baby in a little, like a little outfit that they had made. And I held the baby. And they took photographs for me. And, and also they took footprints and handprints of the baby. And because the room that had been set up, there was - there was like a bedroom - like a room where parents could like deliver the baby, or sleep.

Yeah.

A bathroom. They also had what they called the cold room.

So that the - you could spend as long as you wanted with the baby, without worrying about like the baby[‘s appearance] deteriorating. And then there was also like a living room, as well, with a little kitchen area. And it was set away from all the other wards. On like the maternity ward. And you had like your own entrance, so that you didn't have to come across parents that were leaving with their babies, and - and things like that. 

Tell me about what impact that -

That had - That was really good, because I felt really cared for, and a lot of thought had gone into the room. And it had everything that you needed to make your - like your life as comfortable as possible. And I know like my husband found it a lot better, because he - he was able to go out without - out of the room and come back in, without having to go like through like the maternity ward. And that really helped.
 

Kelly described how being in a bereavement suite, with its privacy and facilities, helped her time with her baby after the birth.

Kelly described how being in a bereavement suite, with its privacy and facilities, helped her time with her baby after the birth.

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And they asked me, and said "Look, would you - would you like to hold the baby? We can - we can dress the baby for you." And I said, "Yes, please." So they, they put the little baby in a little, like a little outfit that they had made. And I held the baby. And they took photographs for me. And, and also they took footprints and handprints of the baby. And because the room that had been set up, there was - there was like a bedroom - like a room where parents could like deliver the baby, or sleep.

Yeah.

A bathroom. They also had what they called the cold room.

So that the - you could spend as long as you wanted with the baby, without worrying about like the baby[‘s appearance] deteriorating. And then there was also like a living room, as well, with a little kitchen area. And it was set away from all the other wards. On like the maternity ward. And you had like your own entrance, so that you didn't have to come across parents that were leaving with their babies, and things like that. 

Tell me about what impact that -

That had - That was really good, because I felt really cared for, and a lot of thought had gone into the room. And it had everything that you needed to make your - like your life as comfortable as possible. And I know like my husband found it a lot better, because he - he was able to go out without - out of the room and come back in, without having to go like through like the maternity ward. And that really helped.

How long did you stay there for?

I stayed there overnight because I still had a bit of placenta, like retained. And I had like a swollen leg. So they wanted to keep an eye on me. So I stayed like in that room. The baby was with me probably until about eleven o'clock that night. And then they took the baby down to the, like the mortuary.
 

Investigations helped Kelly understand the reasons why she had gone into labour early and plan for another pregnancy.

Investigations helped Kelly understand the reasons why she had gone into labour early and plan for another pregnancy.

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But yeah, I had a follow-up appointment, must have been about six weeks after I'd lost Grace. 

And I went up to the hospital, and she said, "Did you know you had a blood clotting disorder?" And I said, "No. I didn't." And she goes, "Yeah, you've got a blood clotting disorder, which we can treat in like future pregnancies if you did decide you wish to try again." And I said, "That's the first time I've even known about that." Because I had had tests done previously, and that had never been identified. I don't know whether they ever tested my blood or not. So she said "You've got something called Factor V Leiden." 

Okay, yeah.

And she said, "What would have been happening is tiny blood clots would have been forming on the inside of the umbilical cord. Which would have prevented like the - all the nutrients and the oxygen getting to the baby properly."

Oh, wow. So they found a kind of - a cause.

Yeah, they found a cause out. 
 

Kelly appreciated the help she received to organise her daughter’s funeral.

Kelly appreciated the help she received to organise her daughter’s funeral.

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They arranged a funeral as well [local hospital]. And I had a lot more say in that. The, like the vicar came round to my house and asked me how, what I - how I wanted it managed, whether I had any music I want playing. Arranged for a car to take me to like the little chapel they had in the crematorium. And also arranged like the little coffin and stuff, for the baby. And, so that - that happened, and then they asked us where we wanted the ashes scattered. Because there's - there's a baby garden at [local hospital]. Which again has been set up by Sands. Yeah. So I, I felt happier, because I had a place I could always go to, when I wanted to like see Grace. 

And what I done, I got a little plaque made, which I've got [first daughter’s name]'s name put on as well. So I've got like [first daughter’s name] and Grace on this statue of an angel. Which is, which is quite weird. Because the statue they had there was very much like a tattoo I'd got a couple of years earlier, when I'd lost Grace. And it's very similar.
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