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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

COUNT THE KICKS - A Mother's Story

I'm so proud of my daughter-in-law, Shelly, for writing this incredibly heartbreaking and moving post. It's a difficult post to read, but so important!  Please read and share her story to help raise awareness. Thank you.

My grandson, Joey, will be loved, missed and remembered always.

By Shelly Turner

The cause of my son, Joey's, death was cord asphyxiation x2.

Pregnant women need to be informed by midwives that if their baby's movements are at all different to normal, go and be seen immediately! Otherwise there's a good chance your baby will Die! And it needs to be said in those exact words, too!

People, including health professionals, are so worried about scaring a pregnant woman that they would rather not tell you about the consequences of reduced movement!

I can tell you now from first hand experience that putting your child in the ground is a lot scarier and is impossible to get over!

The day before Joey was born I noticed he was not as wriggly as normal. He was still kicking but a lot less, I remember thinking it must be because it's almost my due date and he has less room to move, advice I was once given in a previous pregnancy by a midwife!!! Turns out that this is a myth and one that cost my son his life!

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the telephone manner and over all welcoming by staff on labour wards! I used to dread calling the maternity unit with a concern, or God forbid turn up there unannounced! I was always made to feel like I was wasting their time, like I was being silly!

I contemplated calling maternity unit the day before I went into labour with Joey, because something didn't feel right, but yet again I talked myself out of it because I didn't want to be a pest! I was naive! Misinformed and uneducated! I had no idea that reduced movements could mean my child was in danger! No idea that this could indicate that my son was dying! Because if I had known that then nothing would have kept me from calling them!

The morning of the day that Joey died I called the labour ward after having contractions at home through the night. I didn't call sooner because I knew I'd be made out to be a neurotic woman being over the top. And I would be told to have a warm bath and paracetamol. As I dialled the labour wards number I was overcome with dread as I knew I'd get a cold, unwelcome response! I was right. I was greeted with a tone of voice that resembled someone rolling their eyes. "Well, is it your first baby?" My reply, "No, it's my 4th." She proceeded to tell me to come up if it was absolutely necessary, but that they were very busy!

Shortly after that my waters broke and we made our way to hospital.

During the 5 minute journey to the hospital I received an almighty kick. I remember saying to my husband that it must have been so sharp because I had no waters left! I didn't know it at the time, but this was to be Joeys last ever kick. He was struggling, running out of oxygen, dying.

Within minutes of being in the assessment unit I was on the monitor, the midwife said "This monitor must be broken", so she went for another - but still nothing...

A mobile scan machine was brought to my bed, along with a team of doctors. And there he was - my beautiful Joey. But unlike every other time I'd stared  at a scan screen, there was no flickering heart beat.
Then came the words, the hardest words I have ever heard:

"I'm so sorry, your baby has died"

And the hardest thing I've ever done is live every moment since.

3 hours later I gave birth naturally to a big, beautiful, perfect 7lb 10oz baby boy.  My first son, Joey Paul Michael Turner.

His cord was wrapped very tightly around his neck twice. He didn't stand a chance.

I will forever blame myself for not making that call, for not realising my boy was in trouble. Living with that is impossible to bear.

Almost 4 years on, I suffer from birth trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and severe anxiety. I have terrifying nightmares, and vivid thoughts of awful things happening to my living children. I'm not the person I used to be, nor am I the mother I used to be.

I celebrate my sons birthday in a grave yard, and every Christmas morning is now spent anxiously waiting for the cemetery to open so I can be with all of my children. I look at photos of my children in the homes of family members, but there are only 5 in the frame! I sign cards from us as a family and break down in tears every single time as I have to leave out one of my children.

When asked "How many children do you have?", I can't find the words to answer.

I regularly hear mindless comments, such as "At least you already have children", or after the birth of my rainbow babies "At least you can be happy now." Peolple say to me "Isn't it about time you move on now?" And then there are the milestones... So many things I've missed seeing my child do, and the list will be endless for the rest of my life.

All of the above could have been prevented, simply by being given the knowledge, the advice, the warning. And by a better system of care provided by my maternity unit, a more reassuring experience whenever seeking advice or voicing concerns!

Don't risk your child's life. If you have any doubt, no matter how small, make that call. Get checked! And ALWAYS count your kicks! Because the consequences are impossible to live with, life shattering, and heartbreaking.

I've since been fortunate enough to given birth to 2 beautiful rainbow babies, and by the end of my pregnancy with both I was practically on first name terms with the receptionist at maternity!
Pregnancy after loss is unbearably difficult! Living each day expecting your child to die is hell!

This post is not a plea for sympathy or empathy. It's not a cry for attention. I'm posting this in hope that someone may see this and possibly save another family from going through this life shattering experience.

Please feel free to share

~In loving memory of~

~Joey Paul Michael Turner~

~Born sleeping 16/07/2012~

"Too beautiful for earth" πŸ‘ΌπŸ»

Loved, missed & remembered every single day πŸ’”
Thank you for reading.

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