Many of you know that we are so lucky to have welcomed our beautiful and truly amazing daughter, Zara, into this world in March 2018.
What some of you may not know is that Zara is our second daughter. Our first daughter, Jasmine, was born sleeping in November 2016 when I was 30 weeks pregnant. I had a very low risk pregnancy; there were no warning signs and no cause, I just went to sleep one Friday night, a very active baby kicking away, and woke up to stillness. Apparently we were just unlucky. I spent 5 long days at the Royal London Hospital (part of Barts Health NHS Trust) waiting to deliver Jasmine. I will always remember the kindness of the doctors, midwives and hospital Chaplain who supported and cared for my husband, Ro, and me during that terrible time.
The months that followed were such very sad days for us. Our life paused whilst the world around us carried on. We watched as all of our friends had their babies; we enjoyed newborn cuddles and were grateful to be able to celebrate their first Christmases and birthdays. We felt nothing but happiness for them and relief that they were spared the pain we felt. So we decided to try again.
In June 2017, I fell pregnant with Zara. Although excited we were also terrified. We tried to hide my pregnancy from as many people as we could for as long as possible. We returned to the Royal London Hospital and began a long and stressful 9 month journey with our obstetric team who we got to know very well. For us, there was no “safe” period or a point at which we could relax. We just hoped that everything would be ok and that this time we would hear our baby cry when she was born and that we would be able to take her home. Zara was born healthy and safely in March 2018 screaming at the top of her lungs! We will never forget Jasmine and will always feel that sadness, but Zara has helped to mend two very broken hearts. She has grown into a gorgeous little character who keeps us on our toes!
Barts Health is a big part of our personal lives too - it is where Ro studied medicine, did his all his training and is now a consultant radiologist. We believe that it is very important to give back to a community in which we have lived and worked for a long time so when I saw a flyer for Bart Charity on one of my many visits to the antenatal clinic at RLH, I decided that when I was strong enough again I would do something to raise money for RLH Maternity. So I am fundraising for Barts Charity, specifically the Royal London Hospital Fund, to say thank you. We will never forget all those that took care of us over the last few years, particularly;
- the Obs & Gynae consultant who came to see me everyday in hospital and spent a lot of time with us after our loss;
- the Obs & Gynae consultant who helped deliver Jasmine and allowed me to text and email her at any time throughout my pregnancy with Zara for advice;
- the lovely midwife who delivered both of our babies and took care of me on many of our late night visits to the hospital to check Zara was ok;
- my lovely midwife who took great care of us during my pregnancy with Zara; and last, but certainly not least,
- my very patient (to say I was a difficult is probably too generous; I was a difficult and challenging patient in a very lawyerly way) and often amusing consultant obstetrician who saw me so many times in his clinic and in Maternity Triage that I have lost count and who delivered our beautiful screaming Zara and kept us both safe.
The team at RLH Maternity work very very hard with limited resources in Tower Hamlets (one of the poorest London boroughs) to help ensure that all of their patients have a positive birth experience. I hope that your donation helps to fund state-of-the-art new equipment or research to allow them to continue to do so, or in sad circumstances like ours, enables them to continue to support bereaved parents.
In the UK, around 1 in 225 pregnancies end in stillbirth – when a baby dies in the womb after 24 weeks gestation. This is equivalent to over 3,430 babies dying every year. Our stillbirth rate is currently 24th out of 49 high-income countries. Often, parents are given no reason for their loss, and are left to cope with little support. Stillbirth is something that leaves its mark forever.
SANDS - https://www.sands.org.uk