I’d had an up and down start to my pregnancy, but I was being regularly monitored. Our 12 week scan showed our incredible baby: seeing this little person made it all worthwhile.
One day, setting off to work, I passed a massive clot. Panicking, I called the Early Pregnancy Unit and they advised me to come immediately. Thankfully everything was OK, and we were overjoyed to find out that we were having a little girl.
Then things worsened. I was in a lot of pain and we headed straight to A & E and I was admitted. After an awful night, an ultrasound was arranged.
With my husband Adam by my side I remained calm. Then came the news we’d been dreading. There was a 50/50 chance we may lose our baby.
I had scans and tests. Then on 23 August 2013, after Adam had left, my pain levels increased fast and gas and air just weren’t helping. I'm not sure how long it took me to realise I needed to press the buzzer for help, but I'd got onto all fours and I knew things were very wrong.
Doctors and nurses came running. They called Adam, but unfortunately it all happened so suddenly. It must have been no longer than five minutes but it felt like 30 seconds and hours simultaneously. One of my favourite nurses held my hand and told me to breathe.
I was terrified, grief stricken and in shock. A friend was in the hallway, hoping to catch Adam as he arrived. She heard the whole thing – I think the whole hospital did – and said that my cries will stay with her forever.
I was too scared to see my baby. I'd never seen a premature baby, let alone a baby at 19 weeks, so she was whisked away at my request. I knew she hadn't moved when I’d given birth to her. I knew what had just happened to me, but went completely numb. When Adam came in, all I could do was apologise.
After cuddles and tears, we were asked if we wanted to see her. I was still too scared, but Adam went. I don't know what I expected... perhaps I thought she wouldn't look like a baby, but after only a few minutes Adam came back and said she was beautiful. That was all I needed to hear. I was frightened to hold her fragile body, but I did. Adam said we should call her Lilly.
I needed something to take home with me, to hold close when I needed to. I remembered my amazing friend Lisa. I've always loved her jewellery – perhaps she could help? Within 20 minutes I met her outside A & E. She gave me the biggest cuddle ever, and some putty with which to take Lilly’s hand and foot prints. She had no idea if this would work but told me to try, and she'd see what she could do. How important those minutes with Lisa would be!
We used the putty as Lisa had told us to – it was easy. We had to work quickly as it would harden fast, but we got a couple of imprints of her hands and feet. Even if Lisa couldn't use them, at least we had something. This meant so much.
The following day, the hospital chaplain blessed Lilly and told us we could have a funeral for her. We’d had lots of very tough conversations after losing Lilly – whether it was letting our families know or finding out what happened next – so this was a great comfort.
We had our final goodbyes and were given some things by the hospital, including the pouch and blanket that she was laid in. We thanked the staff who’d looked after us so well. Obviously distraught, we left the hospital and headed home.
The following weeks were a blur of sadness, but slowly I came around. It was terrifying going back to work but they were amazingly supportive. I learned how common miscarriage was, and I shared my experience with anyone who asked.
A few months later, Lisa gave us an unforgettable present. She had made me an amazing necklace with Lilly's hand and foot print.
My baby would now always be close to my heart. I love my necklace and wear it every day! She’d also made Adam some cufflinks.
The impression of Lilly's foot print was an added, amazing surprise.
It is only a tiny bit smaller than her actual footprint was. It’s in our living room – a little piece of silver I can hold in my hand and stroke when I need to. I am so very thankful to Lisa.
Then we found out I was pregnant again. All the emotions ran through me! I couldn't relax until 19 weeks had passed.
23 August. In 2013 it had been an unforgettable day, but 23 August 2014 became one of the happiest as well as saddest days of my life. At 5am, my waters broke and at 9.46pm, my little girl Ferne was born. When the midwife said I would be having my baby that day, I just burst into tears. I'd wanted to give birth any day except Lilly's birthday, but how wrong I was! Lilly was very much part of the day and, looking back now, I wouldn't change anything.
Then Lisa surprised me with the loveliest addition to my necklace – a scroll with Ferne’s birth details on it. I could now hold both of my girls in my hand together.
Thanks to Lisa’s creations, Lilly is with me every day. As Ferne gets older, she always plays with my necklace. I'm sure one day she will ask about it, which will make things easier to explain. For now, I fall asleep every night holding Lilly’s hand and foot prints. This small, simple action means I know she's with me and always will be.
All I can say is ‘thank you’ a million times to Lisa. If Lilly's story can help just one person, our loss will never be without meaning.
- If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post and would like support, you can call our helpline on 0808 801 0322 or view our online support pages. If you would like to share your story with Bliss, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sulu's friend Lisa will donate 10 per cent of sales of Morgan and French jewellery (formerly called Fingerprint Jewellery) purchased using this link to Bliss.