My wife Amy and I met at school when we were 13, and have been together for 19 years. In 2017, Amy was 40 weeks pregnant with our daughter, Elowen, and we were so excited to be her parents.
But, on 24 July, only a few days before her due date, our daughter Elowen stopped kicking. We rushed to hospital thinking our precious baby girl was engaged, ready to come out into the world. It was the day we were finally going to bring our daughter home. We couldn't wait to meet her. All I ever wanted was to be a Dad, her Dad.
On arrival at the hospital, Amy knew something wasn't right. She was checked and checked again by a midwife, and then we were taken into another room, away from all the other expectant Mums and Dads. It was in that dark, quiet room that we heard the words, "I’m sorry, but your baby has died."
“Our world ended there and then.”
I clung onto Amy as though my life depended on it. And she clung onto me, too. We were then sent home, with Amy having been given an inducement drug to start the labour process.
After 14 hours of labour, with failed gas and air, and failed epidural, and suspected sepsis, Amy delivered Elowen at 1.35am on July 27th, 2017. She weighed 7.5 pounds. But we were too frightened to see her, to hold her.
When we held her the following day, we cradled her as though she were merely sleeping. Our lives felt complete again - until we returned home without our Elowen.
Navigating our grief
In the immediate weeks, months, after losing Elowen, Amy and I fell on the loving support of family to get us through the days. We had to start from scratch, - to wash, eat, exercise. We simply didn't want to be in the world anymore.
“But as the months crept by, we turned more and more to one another, as Elowen's Mum and Dad.”
When the timing felt right, we sought the help of a grief counsellor. She steered us together through the "landscape without signposts." We saw her once every week for almost a year. And it saved our lives, and made our love for Elowen stronger, more real, and true. We were able to tell our story to strangers, friends. We wanted to uphold Elowen in every aspect of our lives.
When more time passed, with Amy and I closer than ever, and yet still heartbroken, we tried again.
The pregnancy was utterly nerve wracking, and an extremely anxious time. But Amy and I had one another. We took the pregnancy a day at a time, and our precious boy, Eli was born, a year later.
I then went on to write a book, titled "Elowen," about our journey from a father's point of view. And this helped immeasurably, to share her name and our story to the world.
Why we support Tommy’s
Tommy's is very important to me because it seeks to help break the silence over losses like Amy and mine. They offer support and love for those who, like Amy and I, do not know where to turn when their lives suddenly fall apart.
Raising awareness, offering emotional and physical support to parents and families who have undergone the trauma and tragedy of losing a child, it's a light in the dark, and makes you feel less alone.