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My wife and I found out in the early summer that we were due another baby. Just after our 12 week scan we went on a family holiday to Spain for a fortnight. Within 24 hours of landing, she had a bleed. Our kind neighbours, who were looking after the apartment we were staying in, took my wife to the hospital there as we didn't know our surroundings and there was an obvious language barrier. Whilst she was there, she was diagnosed with a Subchorionic Hematoma - This is basically a clot formed by blood pooled between the chorion (a membrane surrounding the embryo) and the uterine wall. It occurs in about 3.1% of all pregnancies. Upon returning home, this was confirmed when we visited hospital. We were told it effects about 1 to 3 in every 100 pregnancies and that only 1 in 13 to 14 of these women would then have any problems due to this. There wasn't any other information given and the general consensus was that time will tell but it is unlikely to cause a problem. They usually either come away themselves or just absorb back into the body.
We decided to find out the sex of our baby privately before our 20 week scan at hospital, as understandably, things became very nervous concerning everything and the lack of knowledge around the hematoma. To our delight we found out we were due a girl in February. Our 6 year old was getting the younger sister she was desperate for, and our family was back to even numbers for girls and boys.
On the 16th October 2017 we were at home celebrating our son's 1st birthday when my wife felt blood come away, she was certain it was the hematoma! We rushed to hospital to find out if our baby was ok.
At around 10pm a Doctor examined my wife and confirmed the clot was gone but the membranes had moved into the canal. Our daughter was to be born that night at 22 weeks and 6 days - on the cusp of viability - and unfortunately we were told she was too young and too under developed to be helped. She would be offered comfort care with us until she passed away. Our world in that very moment turned upside down.
5 hours later Autumn Orion Dennis was born at 2.53am on the 17th October 2018. She lived for almost 2 hours and was showered with nothing but love for her whole entire life! Special moments...our only moments....that will stay with us forever.
At this point I should note we were told 24 weeks was the cut off, and afterwards we met a consultant several weeks later who stated 23 weeks was the cut off as per guidelines. We asked for help for her should she come out breathing and were told there's nothing that can be done. For full details visit our facebook page search Autumn Orion where my wife blogs the story and articles that have been written about our journey worldwide. You can also see our petition that currently has over 70k signatures.
After Autumn passed away, a midwife brought in a memory box. This contained lots of things for a little angel baby - these are given to bereaved parents to help comfort them in their time of need. We got little hand and feet prints, a postcard to heaven, photos, a teddy to keep and 1 to stay with her, and several other things that are small but together make a big difference. The best thing though was a cuddle cot. A cuddle cot is a cooling mat which basically slows down rigamortis. This meant that we could spend another precious 72 hours with her. My wife stayed in hospital for 3 days and there was no issue with her being there spending the time she needed with our daughter. This was thanks to a wonderful charity based locally in Washington called 4LOUIS.
4LOUIS is named after a little boy who was born sleeping and is ran primarily by his parents. They provide cuddle cots and memory boxes free of charge to as many hospitals that they can with the help of volunteers, fundraisers and donations like we are asking for here.
For us to give back to other bereaved parents and to support 4LOUIS, 4 of my friends and I are going to walk the 3 peaks. This is the highest mountains in England (scafell pike), Scotland (ben nevis) and Wales (snowdon) in 24 hours. I am prepared to go out of my comfort zone, push myself to the limit, all in honour of my little girl. I don't want her life to be for nothing so she will be my inspiration to complete challenges - the first being this one! Please pledge your support and help me reach our target in providing a cuddle cot and hopefully extra money for memory boxes too.
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