Bertie Bee Baldrey, our Stillborn Baby's Story
This week is baby loss awareness week, Tommys the Baby Charity approached me to speak about our Stillborn son Bertie Bee Baldrey, who died 6 months ago at 8.5 months into my pregnancy. It was unexpected and devastating for us and our entire world of family and friends. They asked me ‘What was the importance for you about being able to share your story?’ So here it is...
Every life that exists is important, no matter how long or short. Bertie was our excitedly expected second child, a superhero’s sidekick little brother to Teddy a son to us. Our family would be complete. The pregnancy was similar to my first, three months of hyperemesis made it gruelling but I survived. I didn’t care, we wanted him so much.
I was 36 weeks pregnant when I had my final scan at Kings College London, as a training hospital this is the norm.
The Thursday before I was shooting a recipe book, I’m a stylist. Towards the end of the shoot I began to get period like pains, but assumed they were Braxton hicks. After that point, Bertie’s movement slowed.
I mentioned to the sonographer this had happened. She said not to worry, less room less movement. During the scan I immediately knew the worst as he had floated up from being engaged. Then my husband and I heard the words “there’s no heartbeat, I’m sorry, it happens”. Really, I thought, this just happens does it? Surely not to us, surely. I later found out it happens 15 times a day in the U.K. one of the highest rates in Europe. The cord was wrapped around his neck three times and he had a true knot. Other than this he was a big healthy boy. What a waste of a life.
What I would want people to know and look out for. Firstly, kicks count, not just movement, KICKS. As he was my second child the midwives barely reminded me of this. I felt him moving, as I later found out displaced in the fluid, he was moving right up to the point I had the c-section to birth him. At that point I even asked for a scan to double check, it’s an odd feeling, even though I knew all was lost.
Loosing Bertie we were experienced so many horrendous things in one go. Total shock, how could this happen to us? How could it happen so late in the pregnancy? Why wasn’t it spotted? (You can scan for the cord but it takes more time costing the NHS more money). Surely this only happens to “other people”.
We felt extreme loss, our son, our precious baby was dead. We had to have a funeral for our child, I made him paper flowers and we quoted Peter Pan the “Second Star to the Right”. We had lost our baby, who would have been so loved and cared for, safe, happy. There is nothing fair in that.
Regret, the midwifery care in the U.K. is quite frankly inconsistent. I met with young, inexperienced, different midwifes throughout my pregnancy who got a lot of unimportant things wrong, such as my BMI, not turning up to appointments, my maternity forms etc. It was not until things went very wrong that I met the most incredible midwives. I didn’t know or trust my pregnancy midwives, so when Berties movements slowed I didn’t think to call them. And who would I call? I never met the same one twice in that shabby room I had my appointments in above a school in Peckham.
Moving on, it’s six months now. The pain of the first 6 weeks slowly gets easier. If you have recently experienced this, take your time. Decisions as simple as deciding when to first leave the house will make themselves. If you feel you can, talk about it, this helped me greatly. Get away, have a change of scene for a week or so. I have just started thinking about work, building up the new normal. Life will not be the same without Bertie, but it can be happy again. I recently got my first tattoo, it’s a bee on my wrist, where my cannular was after all those visits to hospital, a gentle reminder, he is always with me.
I urge you to donate and learn more about Tommy's here.
This is our family (we can never get Ted to stay still for a photo!) missing one.