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Personal Stories

Daniel's Story

Before I start the story, I want to say that I know that the experience of stillbirth isn't the same for everyone, and that I was exceptionally lucky to have the opportunities and choices that I was offered. For one of the unlucky ones, I was very lucky.

Before I opened the front door of the house, I was in a foul mood. I had experienced one of those days that makes you well-up with anger and frustration but at the same time be so overcome by fatigue that you want to curl into a ball and weep. I drove home too fast with the radio on too loud paying little attention to anything other than the idea of a cup of tea and a long soak in the bath. I opened the door to the cottage that we were renting to find my two-year-old a little distressed. He took me back to the ground-floor bathroom where I found Natasha sat in the bath crying. My mood changed. She knew that something was wrong with Bob.

We went to the local hospital, where the on-call GP and one of the hospital team both failed to find a heartbeat. I phoned my mother and told her that we had to go to a bigger hospital for an urgent scan, and about half an hour later we had dropped off the boy and were sat waiting to see a doctor. It was not long before the consultant broke the news to us that our child had passed away. Natasha was told that she would be chemically induced, and that in a couple of days she would give birth to our son at 34 weeks gestation. Natasha spent over two days with dearest Bob lying motionless inside her with his body gradually giving some of itself back to her. During times of frustration with our marriage, I remember that she had to endure this. I cannot fail to break down in tears thinking about this selfless act of love and respect. For this reason alone I will adore her forever.

The labour is a blur to me. The team of midwives and doctors at Gloucestershire Royal were gentle and treated his body with the greatest of respect. We helped wash him and we dressed him in the clothes that his elder brother had given him (the outfit that he himself had come home in as a newborn). I took hundreds of photos. I held him. I cried more than I thought possible.

The love I had for my unborn child had to be expressed to his breathless body, and the time spent in that room is the most precious time I will ever spend on this earth. There was nobody to impress, no tradition or routine to uphold, just the opportunity to show the physical manifestation of my son how much I loved him - I can not think of another time of absolute honesty in my life.

The hospital provided a funeral at the local cemetery. It wasn't as hard for me as I expected, I was still numb and I honestly don't remember who was there. I remember his tiny white coffin arriving on the back seat of a funeral director's black limousine. I remember the words I whispered to him. I remember the tears on my wife, mother and father's faces.

We will never know the cause. Neither of us could face the thought of a post-mortem. Sometimes I regret this, but most of the time I remember that we've had a healthy baby since and that had we have found a genetic cause for Bob's death then we wouldn't have his little sister asleep in a cot next to our bed.

Time has passed and I have come not to regret what has happened. It is desperately sad that dear little Bob didn't get to come home, but the fact that he is absent from our home does not mean that he hasn't played a role in life. He was real. He had hair and eyes and fingers. I wanted to wipe the blood from his nose. I love him deeply, and the thought that I might never have felt him kick inside Nastash's tummy is worse to me than the thought that I wont feel that again.

I will never forget him. I love him with all my heart.

About Memories

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