THE BLOG

Made in Vietnam: The Story of Our Little Star George

29/06/2015 12:23 BST | Updated 25/06/2016 10:59 BST

My husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby a few weeks after returning from our honeymoon in Vietnam. We used to laugh that our baby was 'Made in Vietnam'.

I had an amazing pregnancy and with four days left to go at work and a best friend with a house decorated ready for a baby shower to take place in two days' time, I suddenly realised that I had not felt baby move for a while. I tried to think back to when I'd last felt 'Bert' and realised that it had been the night before.

After a sudden dash to the hospital with me feeling extremely sick and my husband trying to be positive, we were told our baby had no heartbeat. I was 36 weeks pregnant. Our world stopped turning.

I looked over to my husband's face and will never forget the look of utter devastation for the rest of my life. I actually thought that they would use me for medical research, I never in my wildest dreams knew this was even possible.

Of course, little did I know - how naïve of me - they don't teach you this at antenatal class. Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, soon highlighted the fact that this was in fact not a unique case but just one of the 17 babies that died every day during that year.

Our lives had been ripped apart in seconds.

I was induced a few days later and gave birth to our son, weighing an extremely healthy 7Ib 7oz. I was so proud that I had given my husband a son, we named him George. We were so nervous meeting him as did not know what to expect but he was absolutely beautiful. He really did look like my husband as a baby with his jet black hair, but not only that, he looked like a baby! Fully formed with chubby cheeks.

We spent a lovely few hours with George and our close families. He was surrounded by so much love, he felt tears, and he even heard laughter.

We went from organising a nursery to organising a funeral in the space of a few days. I couldn't eat, sleep, wash, or even be bothered to clean my teeth. I didn't think it was possible to feel this low.

How can this have happened? I'd had a wonderful pregnancy with so many happy memories. How can I now be at home with all the signs of giving birth but no baby to hold in my arms?

Over and over this information would try to be processed in my head and sorted into some order. It was exhausting. I was suffering from terrible nightmares and then the long days of nothingness meant that there was no end to the pain.

We decided to have a post-mortem done, for two reasons: one for our own peace of mind to see if we could find out what had happened to our perfect little boy, and two because if it meant George could help in any way towards research, to try and stop any other family having to suffer this absolute heartache, then we felt like he was helping in a positive way.

We had made a decision to start a family, we had been 'two' for seven lovely years, we then wanted to be 'three'. We spent eight lovely months talking to 'Bert' and making plans as a family with the growing bump but now we were suddenly back to being 'two' again and that was one of the hardest adjustments to make.

An unbelievably high percentage of stillborn post mortem results cannot conclude the reason for a baby's death. You feel that medical research has progressed so much that they have an explanation for everything, so when you're personally involved in something that it potentially has no explanation for, it's very hard to accept. This is why Sands is just an invaluable charity. They not only provide support and a network to bereaved families they are also involved in research and funding to reduce the numbers of babies that die each year.

Some time has passed now and we have another son who is an absolute joy to us. George may be gone from our arms but he will never be gone from our hearts and will always be our very special boy. We will miss him forever but I do not want George to have ruined our life; this means we had to move forward, I would not want him to think that he was the cause for our misery forevermore, that's not fair on him or us.

When people ask about my children, I tell them I have two but unfortunately one was too good for this world. I am so very proud of my two boys, each for bringing something amazing to our lives in separate ways.

To find out more about Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity visit www.uk-sands.org.