“There is nothing quite like the silence in the room when you should be hearing your baby’s heartbeat, and you don’t. There is nothing quite like the silence just after delivery when all you want is to hear them cry and there is nothing.”
Matt and Shelley have been married for 12 years and together for 18. They have four beautiful babies. Ky, the eldest, is eight, Jesse is five, Sam would be three, and their beautiful, sassy rainbow girl Summer is two.
“When we fell pregnant with Sam, it was like the final piece of the puzzle. Our little family would finally be complete. However, Sam was just over 19 weeks when my waters broke unexpectedly in bed one night. We rushed to the hospital, and I spent all hours of the morning lying awake, holding onto any hope that everything might be ok.
A few hours later, the obstetrician informed us that he was still alive, but his heart rate was slow, and she wasn’t expecting a good outcome. The following day, we had another ultrasound. When the doppler was applied, I closed my eyes, just waiting to hear the sound of his heartbeat, and the seconds passed, and it was eerily silent. I opened my eyes to see the sonographer had tears in her eyes, and then she looked at me and said the words that will stay etched in my mind forever….’I’m sorry there is no heartbeat’. In that single moment, our whole world came crashing to a halt. I remember walking out of the room and then collapsing into Matt’s arms. We just cried, wishing we would snap out of it and the nightmare would be over.
I was induced later that night, and contractions started in the early hours of the morning. During those lonely hours of the night with Matt holding my hand, I knew I needed to be strong for Sam and bring him into this loving family as I had our other two boys.
An amazing calmness came over me, and I laboured silently and peacefully, pausing to breathe deeply through the contractions which were coming thick and fast. Then there was a lull, and being so exhausted from the events of the last 40 hours, I fell sound asleep. My beautiful midwife Beth tapped me on the shoulder sometime later and said it was time. She stood me up and I birthed my beautiful little boy Sam at 0501 hours on the 27th May, 2018. He was so amazingly beautiful and looked just like his brothers.
Thanks to a beautiful cuddle cot, we spent the next 30 hours with him and gave him kisses and cuddles to last a lifetime. There were hours where we just sat and stared at him, there were hours where we just cried, and others where we sat telling him about his family and brothers and how, loved he was. We touched his feet into the ocean, he got cuddles from his brothers and grandparents, but our favourite moment by far was sitting with him and watching the beautiful sunrise over the water, just holding his little hand. They are memories we will cherish for a lifetime.
Then the time came to say goodbye, and it is by far the hardest thing we have ever had to do. I think there were three false alarms when I walked out and found myself rushing straight back in again. Then I kissed his head one last time and told him how much I loved him and that this wasn’t goodbye, it was seeing you later.
We now have a beautiful angel who looks over us from heaven. We talk about him often and he always puts on beautiful rainbows over the spot where we watched the sunrise with him, just to let me know he’s there.
Things we want other families to know
Make memories – take photos, hold and cuddle them, sit and watch the sunrise, bring family into met them. Memories will last a lifetime.
Talk about your baby and experience, don’t stay silent! We asked everyone to wrap their arms around us, and they did exactly that.
Be open and honest with your other children. We brought our boys into meet Sam and now they speak about him all the time and include him in their stories and drawings.
We love to keep Sam’s memory alive and hopefully by doing that we can encourage one other person to not stay silent and to speak up. We were very open and honest in our journey and asked everyone to wrap their arms around us and they did exactly that. Not sure where we would have been without this support. To make people realise that they are not alone, there are many families walking this same journey and they will get through. After every storm there is a beautiful rainbow. For us, that rainbow was our beautiful little girl Summer. Whilst she will never replace Sam, she has helped our hearts heal and I always look at her and think that Sam choose perfectly.
There is nothing quite like the silence in the room when you should be hearing your baby’s heartbeat, and you don’t. The is nothing quite like the silence just after delivery when all you want is to hear them cry and there is nothing. They are the moments that speak for me. That silence of holding your baby for the first time when every part of you wants them to open their eyes, cry and make some movement, but they don’t. No one knows what to say or do. You just stare, you stare at them with so many tears in your eyes, with so much love in your heart with no where to go.
It makes us so very sad that people feel they cannot talk about their journeys and they go it alone.