Tag Archive: stillborn


The 18 August 2009 is the day that life changed for Mike and I.

It was the day that we saw our baby on the sonar screen for the first time, but instead of tears of joy, tears of indescribable sadness flowed as we saw our quiet, lifeless baby on the screen with no heartbeat. At home that evening Mike and I sat very quiet on the couch, staring at the tv feeling completely numb. 2 days later I was in hospital to have the baby removed. I tried SO hard to be strong but as I was wheeled into theatre I looked back and saw Mike in his mothers arms in tears, my heart broke.

6 Months later I was pregnant again. It was a new year with new beginnings. After 1 successful ultrasound we were reassured that things were looking good. However, 2 weeks later at a routine ultrasound appointment the doctor once again had the awful job of telling us that she ‘was sorry’ but there was no heartbeat! I lay there thinking no, no, no, not again – this really cant be happening again? She wanted me to try miscarry naturally as during the first procedure my uterus was perforated and she wanted to limit as much trauma to my uterus as possible. But after a week I had to go back to theatre to have the baby removed. What pained me most was signing a paper that stated that I gave them permission to “burn all contents of my uterus”. Is that it all was? The “contents of my uterus” was a little boy!

We were then referred to a specialist at a fertility clinic who did tests and discovered that I had a septum in my uterus which could “possibly” have been the cause for the previous miscarriages. So, once again, I was wheeled into theatre to have the septum removed. Mike, again, my constant supporter and encourager!

10 Months later I was pregnant again. To find out on Christmas day that we were expecting was the most amazing feeling ever! This had to be it? The weeks leading up to this occasion had been incredibly stressful as it involved scans and blood tests to assess my ovaries so that I could start taking extra hormones at exactly the right time. Unfortunately, our world came crashing down again. This pregnancy was very short lived and once again we said goodbye too early.

Very soon after that I fell pregnant again! This HAD to be it? People were praying, my uterus was healthy, I was taking the right amount of hormones – everything was perfect? After 3 fantastic ultrasounds, our baby boy was growing so well. Good strong heartbeat, growing perfectly. Until the 9 March 2011, when our world collapsed again. Routine ultrasound showed out baby’s heart had stopped beating. My doctor just held me and we both sobbed. 2 days later I was back in theatre having yet another operation. 7 weeks later after being referred to yet another fertility specialist, I ended up back in theatre as there was still placental tissue that hadn’t been removed from my uterus and was causing problems. This was all we could handle – enough was enough!

It has been a journey that Mike and I NEVER thought we would go on. It was not something we had discussed before we got married – “what if we struggled to have kids?” It just seemed like a given – like a package deal when you get married – you have kids too.

We have been through some very low patches emotionally, spiritually and financially. It took months to get through a church service without sobbing and it took a year since the last loss to pay off our medical bills. We held a special memorial service in June last year with close family and friends. That was a turning point in our journey. To be able to openly share our pain with those who love us the most was so special! The grief we feel is definitely for the little souls we have lost, but also for the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Will we be parents? Are we willing to put ourselves through another pregnancy which might or might not work? This journey has caused us to drift from certain friends and get closer to others. The lessons we have learnt along this journey are invaluable. The things we have discovered about each other are just so special. We have definitely grown closer through this process and have a much greater appreciation for one another. It bothers me when people say “oh, look how blessed you are because you are pregnant or have kids”. Where does that put the couple who have lost kids or are struggling with infertility? It makes us feel like we have done something wrong to not be blessed? I have learnt that I mustn’t measure how blessed I am by what I have or don’t have. We are all blessed because of the fact that Jesus died on the cross – not because of what we have or don’t have.

I don’t know what our future looks like? It doesn’t have the fairytale ending that we had hoped. We still have baby clothes but no baby, so much baby love to give but no baby. But one thing I am SURE of is that we serve a faithful God who loves and cares for us beyond what we could think possible. Through all our hard times we have KNOWN God’s peace and healing in our lives. We came to a point where we thought that we actually can’t go on, but here we are. Sharing our story with others in the hopes that it encourages others to keep going.

I can’t wait to get to heaven one day, meet my babies and for God to say to me “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”

Blog: http://www.sandalsgilmour.blogspot.com

[Sandi and Mike Gilmour]

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Shaun and I had been married for a couple of months and decided to start trying for a family. Imagine our excitement as we found out I was pregnant. At about 8 weeks things didn’t seem to be quite right so found a gynae and went for a check-up. I had terrible pain and was bleeding a little. After some scanning and much to our surprise the doc couldn’t find any indication of a pregnancy in my uterus. It was confirmed that I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (where baby is growing inside the fallopian tube and not the uterus) and was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery. We didn’t have too much time to process all this as I was whisked off to theater and when I woke up was told that all was fine and there was no permanent damage. Yes, we were relived that my tube and uterus were intact but what about our little baby we would never get to meet. What was probably the worst for me was the comment people made like “oh well. You can try again” and “it wasn’t really a baby anyway”…to us it was!

A couple months later we fell pregnant again and I was terrified… I didn’t ever fully enjoy my pregnancy and it was filled with complications. I eventually had to have an emergency caesar at 35 weeks. God blessed us with a wonderful little boy. As I was already heading for my mid-thirties we decided that we didn’t want too much of a gap between the children so fell pregnant again when Merrick was about. 9 months old and things seemed to be progressing well.

Then disaster struck. I started bleeding again at about 6 weeks. We were on holiday in Plett and drove straight back to CT to see my gynae. She couldn’t find a heartbeat but said that it was perhaps too early. Blood tests, bed rest and a 2 week wait. We went back..a perfect little sac was seen on the inside but no baby… It was called a blighted ovum. In other words something had gone wrong during fertilisation and the foetus had not developed properly. Not some people don’t even consider this to be a baby. But we did..as we believe its our child the moment conception takes place. Another procedure to remove the remains of our pregnancy. And more comments of “it wasn’t a real baby”. “You’re so lucky cause you already have a baby” , “your age gap would have been so small” and lots of other insensitive things like that. Guess people thought they were being helpful but all I really wanted to hear was “I’m sorry for your loss”.

Often I think situations like this are more difficult for the husband as the loss is not physical but emotional and we know how most men are not so good at dealing with their “emotional side”. We were blessed with a gorgeous little man and had the courage to try again a couple of months later. We are now the proud parents of 3 beautiful children here on earth and two little souls up in heaven. I guess people may think that it was “just a miscarriage” – but not to us. We know God has reasons for these things happening but that doesn’t mean that we are always able to look at the big picture and see things the way God wants us to. Yes I get upset when I think about them, yes I get angry when I think about the thinks people say and yes I am thankful that God gave us more children.

This may not make a whole lot of sense but perhaps someone who reads it can relate..its okay to be angry, its okay to be sad but mostly its ok to talk about it.

Love Heidi xx

[Heidi and Shaun Hudson-Bennett]

My second daughter, Zoe, was stillborn at 37 weeks on 24th March 2007 in London, UK – we had no warning, one day she was well, with a strong heartbeat, head down, ready to come into the world, and two days later, she was dead. It turns out that Nicole has a blood condition that pre-disposes her toward clotting, and the best guess is that there must have been sudden clotting in the placenta/umbilical chord which starved Zoe of oxygen. We didn’t know this until after Zoe was born but because our first daughter, Janel, had been premature, Nicole had been under closer observation than a normal pregnancy, including specialised prenatal care, so there was nothing more that could have been done under the circumstances. Nevertheless, you plague yourself with “what if” questions – what if I’d taken Nicole the emergency room the night before when she first commented that Zoe wasn’t moving regularly, what if Nicole had noticed earlier that something seemed to be wrong?

The church community we belonged to were amazing and really rallied round, providing us with meals, doing laundry, taking Janel out so we could be alone. We were put in touch with a charity called SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) who invited us to a meeting of parents who had lost their children. It was just incredible to meet with other parents who had walked a similar path to us and who could tell us that there was some light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long and dark it might prove to be. When we returned to South Africa, we looked to find a similar support group, but saw that none existed. As a result we started Born Sleeping and have had the privilege of supporting, and being supported by, many couples both in Cape Town, where we live, but also around the country via email and Facebook.

The issue of my faith in relation to this experience is a difficult, complicated, and ongoing one – in the weeks after Zoe’s death, we felt God’s love and comfort expressed to us by his people and we truly felt that, somehow, it was all going to be alright. As a bloke, I was in full strong-man support mode for Nicole, we had a 18-month old daughter to take care of, I had a job to go back to after a couple of weeks, we were preparing to move home to South Africa, etc and although I had the opportunity for some counselling, I don’t think I was able to fully engage with the enormity of my grief and its impact on my faith. When we moved back to Cape Town, we struggled to find a worship community where we felt comfortable – going to church itself was not a happy experience, when you have deep questions about the goodness of a deity who would allow a child to be created only to take her back before we could know her, it is not easy to be surrounded by people singing His praises. The best advice we were given in this time was permission to miss church, to stop feeling duty bound to attend if it was damaging our relationship with God. In spite of this respite, for many months, I would go through phases of truly hating people who had an open, easy faith, because they had what I no longer could claim to be my own.

Truth be told, my relationship with God had been on a downward trend for some time before Zoe died, but the questions that her death raised for me became stumbling blocks which I couldn’t overcome and although we settled in a church and joined cell groups and I even began to lead worship again, my personal spiritual life was essentially dead. Matters came to a head one Sunday morning when God, through one of his children, lovingly confronted me and said that I could not continue like this, struggling on my own and hoping that things would improve, that I needed to seek help. And so I re-entered counselling, and have made progress – Zoe’s death has become the scalpel God used to cut through layers of tradition and habit to uncover fundamental flaws in the way I view God and how I relate to him. There is much work to be done still, but I have hope again that at some point in the future I will be restored as God promises, I will be able to say with Spurgeon “Oh Blessed Hurricane that drives me onto the Rock of Ages” and mean it.

Next month it will be 5 years since Zoe died, and although we have been blessed with a son in that time, I still think of her often and am surprised by how close to the surface the grief remains. In writing this, I have been reading through some of the messages we wrote and received at the time, and the tears have flowed freely again. You never “get over” a loss such as this, but you learn to live with the pain. You never ever quite work out how to properly answer the question “How many children do you have?” but you stop feeling guilty when you say 2 instead of 3. There is life after stillbirth, but it is never the same as before.

Graeme [Graeme Broster and Nicole Masureik]

Born Sleeping Website – http://bornsleeping.wordpress.com/
Born Sleeping Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Born-Sleeping/150344014978601

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