To this day, I still find it hard to believe this happened to our daughter.

Gemma and Michael’s 3rd pregnancy with their baby girl Ada was described as “textbook”, until they noticed Ada had stopped moving. Devastatingly, Ada was born sleeping at 34 weeks. The couple turned to the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic in Manchester for support, and now have their rainbow baby Arthur.

Michael is running the London Marathon in memory of Ada, having already raised over £7,000.

Our first pregnancy 

In 2018, my husband Michael and I were delighted to fall pregnant with our first child. But, at a 9 week scan, we found out that our baby had stopped growing at 7 weeks. We were told we'd had a molar pregnancy. We were devastated but wanted to try again.  

The next year, I was pregnant again with our daughter, Isla. The pregnancy was smooth and despite any initial worries, Isla came into the world happy and healthy in 2019. We were over the moon.  

A "textbook" pregnancy 

2 years after Isla was born, I became pregnant for the 3rd time. This pregnancy was during lockdown, which came with its own challenges, but I was so busy with Isla I didn't have too much time to think about any of it. We were still a little anxious up until the 20 week mark just because of our pregnancy history, but doctors said this was a low risk “textbook” pregnancy.  

After noticing reduced movements, I made an appointment and went into hospital to be checked. We knew the drill by now - I was hooked up to the monitor and given the reassuring news that all was okay with our baby and we were free to go home. After continuing to monitor movements, 2 days later I noticed Ada hadn’t moved as usual. Off I went back to the hospital alone expecting to be monitored and told everything was fine. However, I was given the heartbreaking news that there was no heartbeat. 

Losing Ada 

On the 4th May 2021, our beautiful daughter Ada Poppy O’Toole was born sleeping at 34 weeks. To this day, I still find it hard to believe this happened to our daughter. I was aware that stillbirth was a risk but never once imagined this would happen to us.  

The days and weeks that followed were simply incomprehensible. Shock, disbelief, grief, anger, sadness, hopelessness were just a few of the emotions I felt all whilst having to carry out the practical tasks I had to endure, such as arranging a funeral. It's something no parent should ever have to experience. We will forever feel shattered by the loss of Ada.

Michael and their daughter Ada
Michael holding baby Ada

Support from Tommy's 

Following the loss of Ada, Michael and I tried to process our loss whilst feeling so alone. Others around us were having babies and we just felt like hermits or outcasts. We came across Tommy's on Instagram after seeing someone share their story of baby loss. We finally felt listened to and as though we were part of a community.

After getting in touch with Tommy's, we were referred to the Rainbow Clinic in Manchester. We were lucky enough to be under Prof Alex Heazell during our pregnancy with our son, Arthur. The support they offered us, both emotionally and clinically was second to none. Ada was spoken about like the beautiful little baby that she was, not like a medical loss, like we had been made to feel countless times before.  

Although we received great care, specifically from our NHS consultant, the care offered by Tommy's was different. We felt listened to, our concerns understood, and we felt part of a special community of parents. We knew we were being looked after by incredibly intelligent, highly trained professionals and that Prof Alex was a superstar in research into stillbirth.

Prof Alex and his team offered us reassurance, empathy and their expertise made us feel hopeful that Arthur would be delivered safely - which he was in August 2022. We are forever grateful for the support we received and will always hold Tommy's close to our hearts.  

Keeping Ada's memory alive 

We decided to share our story to show others going through similar things that they're not alone. We also want to remember and honour Ada, keeping her memory alive. 

We're also supporting Tommy's by fundraising as Michael has been lucky enough to join #TeamTommys at the 2023 London Marathon. So far he has raised over £7,000 and he would love to raise as much money as possible to fund vital research, in memory of our Ada.