David and I were delighted when we found out we were expecting our first child together. Being a typical first time mum, I was over cautious about everything and did everything I could possibly do to protect and nurture our growing baby inside me. We made several trips to the maternity ward to listen to the baby’s heartbeat just for reassurance and peace of mind.
When I finally reached the 37 week milestone I finally began to relax in the naïve thought that if our precious little girl arrived early she would be fine. The thought of losing her didn’t cross my mind because she was fully grown and perfectly healthy.
The day after my due date I felt fewer movements and so we made another trip to the maternity ward. It was then that our world came crashing in on us and we were told that they couldn’t find our baby’s heartbeat. We were ushered away from the other expectant mums and placed in a small room on the delivery suite where they continued to try and find a heartbeat.
We were both in total shock. By this time it was gone midnight and we were told to come back the following morning when then they would carry out an ultra scan. This was the cruelest moment as I was made to go into the antenatal department full of expectant mums to be told officially that our little girl had died.
We then spent the next three days shut away in our little room on the delivery suite waiting for the labour to start. Hearing the cries of other newborn babies was heartbreaking. My labour finally started at 8.30pm on the Tuesday evening and our little girl was born on Wednesday 29th April 2009 at 5.00am weighing 7lb. David and I both got to hold her and I will cherish those moments forever. Abigail was the most beautiful little girl and all I could think was why us?
The time I was meant to be changing nappies, feeding and bonding with our new baby was spent organising her funeral. The support of our family and friends was unbelievable and the knowledge that Abigail was loved by everyone helped us through our heart ache. It is a well known cliché that such tragedies either make or break a relationship. David has been my rock and despite everything we are stronger than ever.
It took a long time for me to realise that life does go on and to overcome my own guilt at trying to be positive and move on with our lives. Abigail is a big part of my life, my first child, and not a day goes by when I don’t think about her. She will never be forgotten but the pain eases with time.
I’ve learnt to cherish every moment of life and not to take things for granted. We now have a wonderful little boy Reuben and a little baby girl called Bethany, to some it may seem that their arrival may have eased the pain of losing Abigail but instead it just reminds me what I have missed with Abigail.
We hope that by raising money and awareness through Abigail’s Footsteps we will spare other parents the trauma and devastating loss that we went through.
Where we are today
Built on the extraordinary foundations David, Jo and the other founding trustees built; Abigail’s Footsteps is now regarded as a leading national charity, focused on stillbirth bereavement. The appointment of new trustees with particular specialisms in professional standards, counselling, finance, governance and communications is designed to enhance the charity’s capability to help ease the pain endured by parents and their families during those first days and weeks after losing a child.
You can read our latest annual review here.