Back in 2014, Tom and myself were very blessed to have our daughter Isabella. The joy she has brought to our lives has been indescribable and she is my mini me, my security blanket and soon expressed to us how much she wanted a baby brother or sister.

So fast forward to 2018…. It was early March and we found out that we were pregnant. We were so excited that we were going to become a family of 4, and with my due date set to be 7th November 2018 it was to be the most perfect early Christmas present. We didn’t tell Isabella straight away but as the date drew closer for our 1st scan we let her in on the secret. Being a sassy clued up 4-year-old we decided that we would involve her as much as possible, so she came along with us to our first scan. Isabella sat so quietly, fascinated by the picture of our little baby on the screen and to make the moment even more special and memorable, the sonographer let her pick her own scan picture to take home. To this day, it is still in her bedside table with other memories of Monty that she has.

Over the next few months Isabella enjoyed telling all her friends and nursery teachers along with wearing her big sister T-Shirt. Every morning she would come into our bedroom and kiss my belly, saying good morning to her baby brother or sister. These are the kind of precious memories I will never ever forget and forever wish we could go back to them. Because Isabella was adapting so well to the idea of having a brother or sister, we decided not to find out the sex at the second scan. I always liked the element of surprise and we didn’t find out with Isabella either, so we decided it was time to come up with a nickname. My nickname from when I was younger was ‘Squishy’ (not quite sure why but I liked it and it has stuck to this day) when I was pregnant with Isabella she was nicknamed ‘Squigglet’ so continuing with the slight odd theme we nicknamed this baby ‘Froglet’.

Everyone around me was so excited for Froglet including close family and friends but the ones that surprised me the most were the children that I teach. See, I am a dance teacher. Surrounded every day by children aged 4-19, they are like my second family, so it only made sense that they were involved aswel. They would often ask me if I could feel Froglet kicking, when my due date was, names that we had come up with and if we were going to find out the sex. After telling them that we weren’t, they all took to guessing whether we would have a boy or a girl. We created a list and to be fair it was pretty even, I think most of them were just saying the sex that they wanted, and one of the older girls even thought that I would have twins. They loved looking at the scan pictures and I knew that this baby was going to be as much a part of my work family as Isabella is.

Summer was fast approaching and countdown until we met our little Froglet had begun. Like when I was pregnant with Isabella, I was lucky. I never had any morning sickness, and there had never been any medical issues. I was healthy (or so I thought) and more importantly so was our little baby. We decided to go on holiday to Spain with my mum and dad as a last little holiday as a family of 3. We went to Xabia where we had gone 2 years previous. We hired our own villa so that I could be an exhausted pregnant person in private and to be honest, we as a family have always preferred our own pool that doesn’t turn into human soup. We went on lots of excursions visiting waterfalls, dino land and our favourite restaurants. There are a couple of days that I can really remember and now that I look back on them, I wonder whether my body was trying to tell me something was wrong. One day we had gone to the beach and then had lunch at a restaurant. I remember feeling really hot and uncomfortable and wasn’t able to eat much of my lunch. At the time I just thought well I’m 5 months pregnant and its like 38 degrees, of course I am going to be slightly on the warm side. We continued to enjoy the holiday, spending time in the pool teaching Isabella how to swim without arm bands and visiting all our favourite places from last time. Last time we were here we had managed to get a handmade sign for Isabella’s bedroom so decided it was only fitting to get one for Froglet aswel. Luckily the same stall that did Isabella’s 2 years ago was still on the beach front parade. Not knowing the sex of Froglet we got one with frogs on. The holiday was quickly coming to an end, and as much as I had enjoyed our little get away, I knew that when we got home the countdown could really start. I never even thought that the following week our lives were going to change the way they did.

We arrived home on the Saturday after a rather uncomfortable flight (I was super tired and just couldn’t get comfy) and settled back into home life. On the Sunday we had found out that our local Mothercare was having a closing down sale, so we decided that we would go and pick up a few bits on the cheap. £200+ we spent on a bottle set, clothes, bras etc. We managed to get ourselves a fair few bargains along with a few treats for my 3-month-old niece. The week started off fine, Isabella hadn’t started school yet, but Tom had gone back to work so we were enjoying a few girly days before the term started. On the Tuesday, we decided to walk to the local shop (15mins for a non-pregnant person) to get some treats for our girly film afternoon. On the walk back, I remember having to stop a couple of times because I felt uncomfortable but just passed it off as over exerting myself. The rest of the evening went without a hitch and went to bed fairly early not knowing that when I woke up, I was going to have one of the worst days of my life.

It was Wednesday 15th August. I woke up, call it mothers’ intuition, I knew something was wrong. I then started to panic, telling Tom that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt the baby move. Still to this day those last few days are a blur and I honestly can’t remember. Tom told me not to panic, we had had the same thought with Isabella and everything was fine she was just back to back. He rang the midwife and she advised going to the hospital just to double check everything. It was like 8.00 in the morning, Isabella was still in her PJ’s, as was I. I don’t remember getting either of us ready or getting into the car or the 5-minute drive to the hospital. Everything that happened next felt like I was in a movie, like I was on the outside looking in. We walked into this room that had 3-4 other women having their baby’s heartbeat monitored, and then we got taken into a small room attached.

‘I’m just going to get another midwife to come in’ – I didn’t need another midwife to come in and tell me, I already knew, my baby had no heartbeat. I was trying to stay calm as Isabella was with us, everything had been such a rush that we hadn’t even thought about finding someone to look after her. The second midwife came in, tried to find our baby’s heartbeat with no luck.

‘We’re just going to move you into another room that’s a bit more private and have a sonographer come up’ I had to walk past the other mums listening to their babies, across the hall and into the home from home room. It was at this point I rang one of my friends. Crying down the phone I told her that we were at the hospital as we couldn’t find a heartbeat, and could she come and get Isabella. Like the star that she is, she dropped everything and came to the hospital. At least I knew that Isabella was going to have a day of fun with one of her nursery friends and I wouldn’t have to hold back whatever emotions were about to explode out of me. From then everything just went downhill. Tom took Isabella downstairs as Katy literally did a drive by to scoop her up. He was going to be a maximum of 5 minutes. I was on my own. The sonographer came in with the midwife who kindly asked if I would like to hold her hand. She obviously knew what was coming. I told the sonographer Tom was just downstairs and that he would be straight back up. I don’t know if she didn’t hear me, or just carried on regardless. She started scanning my tummy. ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat’ and just like that my world came crashing down. She left the room as quick as she had come in. Tom came into the room with me screaming and passing the sonographer in the doorway may I add. I don’t really know what happened next or what order it happened in. We got moved to the newly refurbed bereavement suite down the corridor. People were coming into the room to say what would happen next, handing us leaflets about one thing or another. I was totally relying on Tom to do all the listening. I was watching their lips move, but I wasn’t hearing anything, and when their lips stopped, I felt myself just nodding as if I had taken it all in. I got given a tablet (or 2 – I can’t remember) to bring my hormone levels down and I think they took some of my blood for some testing. They said that I could stay in until they induced labour on the Friday or I could go home. I didn’t want to spend the next couple of days in hospital just staring at the walls, I wanted to go and get Isabella and go home. I wanted to rewind time, change it all, wake up from this horrible nightmare that I was in.

I don’t remember walking out of the hospital, but I obviously did. I phoned my mum and told her so that she could tell my dad & brother, I couldn’t face having to tell everyone. Tom did the same with his family. I have no idea what time of day it was at this point, but we went to collect Isabella from Katy’s. I had no idea how I was going to tell her. I didn’t want to be the one to tell her that we weren’t going to bringing home her brother or sister. Somehow, we did. I don’t know if what we said made any sense as I can’t remember what we said to her, I just remember hugging her really tight. Mum came up that night, I needed my mum, I knew she couldn’t make it better but just having her there made all the difference. We tried to make plans on what to do on Thursday and all I could think about was how we needed to take the stuff back to Mothercare that we had bought before the close down. So that’s exactly what we did. We lined up in the queue with bags full of what we had bought, still pregnant, thinking in my head what I was going to say. Tom said he could do it if I wanted but I stupidly thought I had control. Yep, I didn’t. I opened my mouth to explain and nothing came out, I just cried. Tom explained and then the lady started welling up and went to get the manager. We then decided to look for the perfect outfit for our baby. Everything was going to be way to big and we still didn’t know the sex, so we were limited. After going back and forth between a few, we finally picked one along with a little owl cuddly toy. We kept the hat part of the outfit and actually still have the owl too. I have no idea what we did the rest of that day. I know my brother and dad came up to see me. I started feeling really sick, and because of that I didn’t really eat anything which made me feel even worse. I tried to eat a couple of times but when I did, I was just sick, so I just took myself off to bed. I wanted to be on my own anyway. The last few hours of it just being me and my baby.

Friday 17th August. Its always been an emotional day for our family as it’s the day my Granny (mum’s mum) passed away in 2005. It is now about to get a whole late harder. Mum had stayed the night again and was going to look after Isabella. The rest of our family were waiting at the other end of their phones waiting for updates. We were told to get to the hospital for 9am. All we had to do was tell the midwife my name upon arrival and they would know why we were there. I don’t know why but I just wanted to get to the hospital. I was getting fidgety so about 8.30 we got in the car to drive to the hospital. I was only 28 weeks + 2 days. I still had 12 weeks to go. I held onto that hope that they had got it all wrong, that I had dreamt the past few days…. but I hadn’t. We arrived at the hospital and we were taken to the home from home room we were in just 2 days ago. The room where I had heard those 4 words ‘sorry, there’s no heartbeat. All the midwives were on shift hand over, so we waited until someone came to see us. I was happy to wait, the longer it took, the longer I still had my baby. Once the handover had been done, the head midwife came to see us. They explained to us the process and what was happening. They were going to induce me, 3 tablets (1 internal, 2 orally) 1 every 4 hours. Feels strange to say that we were lucky, but we were. We were lucky that at that time we were the only ones “booked” in that day which meant we were moved to the Daffodil Suite. As I mentioned earlier, this room had been newly upgraded. It wasn’t like the home from home room. This room was yellow, it had colour in it. There was a sofa which turned into a bed, a couple of chairs, a fridge, kettle, tea, coffee, TV etc. Apart from the hospital bed and a couple of machines it felt nothing like a hospital room. This made such a difference to our time. My mum soon turned up with Isabella, she was able to feel comfortable, was able to watch TV without feeling anxious. The midwife came in and told me about all the pain relief I could have. To start off with I didn’t want anything, (I had said the same when I was in labour with Isabella and ended up having to have an epidural) but that soon changed. (I don’t really know what order everything happened in the rest of the day apart from the obvious). I had taken some paracetamol to start off with but that doesn’t normally shift my headaches, so I knew it wasn’t going to help with this. I started feeling really hot and ill and after having my temperature taken, they put me on a drip and gave me antibiotics. It probably sounds strange, but I love the tiny little scar I have on my wrist from my canula. It’s a little piece of that day that I will hopefully always have with me. Toms mum turned up shortly after and her and my mum took Isabella to the hospital café for a bite to eat and some fresh air. Whilst they were out me and Tom just sat and watched telly. There wasn’t much else to do as we were waiting for the contractions to start. The midwives came in every now and then to check on me and we started talking about alternative pain relief. Shortly after our mums returned with Isabella and my dad turned up. Even with us all in the room we still had so much space, no-one was cramped, which is why I am so grateful that we were in the Daffodil Suite. I’m sure everyone was bored just sat around waiting but at least we were altogether, and my brother & Toms Dad were on their way aswel. The hours passed without a lot happening apart from having pethidine. I had never had pethidine before, so little did, I know that they would be putting an injection in my bum cheek. I also didn’t know that it would bloody hurt. I never plan on having pethidine again if the only way to administer it is by injecting gluteus maximus.

It was soon tea time and I was starting to get a little spacey aswel and tired, so my dad and Toms mum took Isabella home for dinner and to stretch her legs. Mum being mum stayed with me and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I knew that she was having a tough day given the date, let alone seeing her daughter going through all of this, I knew she needed me as much as I needed her. It was about 4pm when Toms dad turned up. My contractions had been going for about 4 hours and were slowly starting to intensify so it wasn’t long until morphine was discussed. By the time the doctor came in to talk to me about morphine and check my details I was in a lot of pain and could barely talk or open my eyes. Tom was having to answer the questions for me as I was trying to nod or put a thumbs up. A soon as the first dose of morphine had kicked in, I was starting to feel better. I then went into panic mode as the doctor explained that 2 midwives had to stay with me. This is due to the fact that the morphine can slow your heartrate and you can stop breathing. Well that’s all I needed to hear to send me into a downward spiral. I remember saying to both Tom and my mum that I didn’t want to die. After a few doses of morphine, I decided that I didn’t like the spaced-out place it was taking me to so stopped pressing the button. Whilst this was all happening my brother turned up, I don’t even remember seeing him walk in, but he didn’t just magically appear, so he must have come through the door.

As the minutes passed, I started getting more emotional and wound up, not that I was showing it. I needed the toilet so went to stand up and where I still had a drip, Tom and his dad tried to help me out the bed without getting tangled. As they were wheeling the drip around Toms watch got caught on my canula. That was it, that was all I needed to set me off. It felt like it was the end of the world, in all honesty, I don’t think it hurt as much as I thought it did. I think it was a mixture of pain, panic and a broken heart all starting to come out. After having the canula checked, I made it to the toilet without wetting myself. BONUS. It wasn’t long after that I started to feel the need to push. My mum quickly got Toms dad and my brother out the room and they waited in the waiting room. I love my family, but I did not need them there for the whole giving birth process. (Although my brother later told me that the walls weren’t overly soundproof – Brilliant)

I could feel that my waters were about to break and luckily the midwife managed to just move out of the way as according to Tom they shot across the room. (I think this is the one comical moment of the whole day that always makes me giggle to myself) It wasn’t long until I was pushing, our baby was feet first and I remember only having his head left to go and thinking that I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to, once I had given birth to him, it would be official. The only cries we would hear would be ours. Tom was super supportive and at 7.15pm our little angel was with us. The midwife told us we had a boy. The perfect addition to our family of 3.

I couldn’t wait to hold him, he was so tiny although he did weigh 3lbs 3oz. The midwife wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in my arms. I tried to soak up every second possible but was also very aware that Isabella and the rest of the family were in the waiting room. The midwives were having a shift change so whilst we were waiting to meet the next midwives me and Tom sat with our precious baby boy. His skin was so soft, he had the same Edwards nose as his sister and the same Fraser lips. I took some pictures of Tom holding him and we decided on a name. MONTY GEORGE FRASER-EDWARDS. Monty after my mum’s dad, and George after my dad’s dad. Sounds unfair on Toms family but I promise he was just as involved with the name choosing as I was. I was sat there just staring at our beautiful boy when the midwife came in and talked us through the next steps. They might have been explained before but if they had, I wasn’t listening. We were given the option of bathing him ourselves, but I went in to slight panic mode. I was aware that people were in the waiting room and I need to have a wash etc before they came back into the room, so we decided to have the midwife bathe him. Its one of my few regrets from that day. Once both me and Monty were all sorted, we had the rest of the family come in to meet him. Another regret was not having Isabella come in first, let her hold her baby brother and spend some time with him. Because Monty was so delicate, he was in a special little basket and we didn’t physically hold him again. We didn’t want to cause more damage to him. The midwife had looked after him beautifully, dressing him in the outfit we had picked out and putting a little blue hat on him along with a yellow blanket. My heart was breaking but I was trying to keep it together for everyone. I was really anxious about how Isabella would react to seeing Monty, but I should have had more faith. The first thing she said was ‘he’s so cute’. My heart melted.

We spent the next few hours as one big family, taking lots of photos and savouring every moment. These would be the only few precious hours that we would be altogether. And that was only possible because we were in the Daffodil Suite. The midwife came in with a memory box that we would get to take home. They were so great with getting Isabella involved in making this. We managed to get his footprints and his left-hand print, we couldn’t get his right as he was holding his left arm. Isabella got to pick out matching teddys for us all which we have since name Monty Bear. Isabella has one, me & Tom have one and more importantly Monty has one. There were other little bits where Monty has one and we have one and Isabella loved getting involved with it all.

A few hours later family all went home. The midwife said that we could keep Monty in the room with us overnight which was so precious. We had the fan on to keep us all cool, Tom set up the sofa bed and we settled in for the night. I barely slept, I didn’t care how tired I was, I wasn’t going to get these precious moments with my son ever again. I only had one night to watch him “sleep” so to speak. Saturday morning came around and we continued to enjoy spending time with Monty. My mum brought Isabella back in before she then headed back home. We then spent a few hours taking more pictures of us all. The midwives said we could spend as much as time as we wanted but I knew if we didn’t set a time, I would have spent forever with him. We decided that 3pm would be the time to say goodbye, so we made the team aware and enjoyed our last few hours together as a family of 4. We packed our bags and had everything ready to go. It might sound weird, but I didn’t want to say goodbye and then still have to spend time getting our stuff together.

3pm came around, after giving Monty lots of kisses, I sat and watched as the midwife walked out of the room carrying Monty.

The walk back to the car was the longest walk. I remember there being lots of people waiting for the lifts and I just couldn’t stand with them, so we took the stairs. Luckily it was a Saturday so there weren’t any pregnant people in the waiting room downstairs.

As we drove away, I couldn’t take my eyes off the room that he would have been in. How 3 days ago everything was fine, how 2 days ago I had walked into the hospital pregnant, and now I am leaving the hospital, not pregnant and with empty arms. We now have the long journey of post mortem results, a funeral, Monty’s due date and a year of firsts that Monty George will not be here for.

My heart will forever be broken, Friday 17th August 2018 is the day I lost a piece of me forever.

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