Baby Loss Awareness Week: Tabitha's Story
I’m sharing Tabitha’s story again as this is what this is all about. Sharing her story. Speaking her name. Writing her name. She lived. She died. Baby loss is something that happens far too often but isn’t often talked about. It breaks my heart that this happens to other families and if I can share our story and some thoughts that might help, like other stories helped me, then this is what I set out to achieve this week. For Tabitha, for all the other babies, and for everyone who experiences baby loss.
When it all began
Tabitha's story began in April 2018 when we found out I was pregnant. We had waited a while for her and were beyond excited that we would finally be growing our little family. We had had a miscarriage a year earlier so we were worried, and I was always nervous at early appointments, but when we got to see our scans and she was looking well and growing well we felt we could breathe a little.
The pregnancy was pretty problem free apart from some terrible Pelvic Girdle Pain that needed lots of physio. I would feel kicks at 9-10pm every night. She didn’t like me lying on my left side and would always give me a swift kick to move me over! I woke up between 2-4am every night feeling her kick and would lay there preparing myself for feeds at that time.
Tabitha was born after a quick labour on 9th January 2019, 11 days after her due date. We were booked in for a c-section but she had other ideas and my contractions started thick and fast and we had a rush to hospital that you usually see on TV programmes with me being wheeled in in a wheelchair at full speed.
She was here! So much wait and non-planning over Christmas and New Year had been worth it. But things didn't seem quite right as soon as a few minutes after she was born when there was no cry and rubbing down wasn't helping her breath.
She went straight to the special care baby unit on site and I was whisked off for surgery.
Something isn't right
It became apparent after a few hours that she needed more assistance as she couldn't get oxygen into her bloodstream and more specialist care was needed. She was to be transferred to the closest NICU. Nothing prepared me for what I saw when they wheeled her in to my room before the transfer. My little baby in a giant plastic bed-slash-box wired up to machine upon machine. Tubes in her little hands, tummy and head. All I could do was stroke her small open hand and then she was off.
The care she received at the NICU was second to none and both my husband and I were amazed by the elite skill we witnessed. We were brought in constantly for updates and when things got bad and resuscitation was needed.
Then there was nothing more that could be done for her at the unit and she needed to be transferred again for even more specialist treatment. It was taking hours to stabilise her though and it became apparent that Tabitha probably wouldn't make her next destination.
My beautiful Tabitha had fought heroically even though everything was stacked against her with courage and with grace. After a strong fight from everyone she passed away 24 hours after she was born in my arms - the first time that I got to hold her.
I was not prepared for this outcome in the slightest. When you get to 41+ weeks pregnant you expect to come home with your baby.
We were not sure why Tabitha struggled to breathe and there was an inquest that followed. This was beyond painful but we wanted to have answers and we hoped that maybe it would help babies in the future. It took around 3 weeks and when I think back to those three weeks now it felt like 3 years. Strained, quiet calls and meetings and decisions - it was all consuming. It was a very tough thing to manage alongside my grief but had to be done so that we could have her funeral.
There was also an investigation into her care that followed which took a whole 9 months to complete. It was a hard, long road. Again, it was out of hands but it was something that we hope may help others in the future.
In my eyes she's produced a little legacy already.
There are no other Tabitha days or stories, I only get to share one. Share her one day. I want to talk about her as much as I want to talk about my living daughter. It’s the hardest thing in the world. It's so positive that we have weeks like Baby Loss Awareness Week to acknowledge, remember and create awareness. I hope that all mums can talk freely and openly about their children every day that they wish to and not just on weeks like this.