Anything we can do to prevent other parents go through what we have means so much to us

Nicola and her husband experienced the heartache of stillbirth when their son Jack was born sleeping. Nicola took part in Danceathon 2016 to help us fund vital research. This is her story.

Tommy's guest blog, 01/02/2017, by Nicola Payton

1 in 250 babies are stillborn in the UK every year and most of these deaths go unexplained.

This causes untold heartbreak to parents who are not able to find out why their baby passed away and if it will happen again in future pregnancies.

Following the heartbreaking stillbirth of her first son Jack, Nicola Payton worried that the same thing could happen in her next pregnancies as she and her husband, Ryan, were given no reasons as to why Jack's heart had stopped beating. This is her story.

It seemed like a straightforward pregnancy

We were expecting our second child, I’d had a great pregnancy. I felt healthy and had attended all my appointments.

Two days before my due date I had visited my midwife, all was fine. However the following night I began to feel like my movements had reduced. The next morning, my due date, I went to the hospital to be monitored.

This was where our whole world came crashing down when we were told that our baby had no heartbeat.

I cannot put into words how devastated we were. I stayed in hospital from then and was induced later that day. I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy at 1.40am on 15th May 2015. Jack weighed 7lb 13oz, with no obvious signs as to why he had died.

The staff and in particular my midwife Amy who delivered Jack at Russells Hall Hospital were truly amazing.

We decided to have a full post mortem done, in order to try and find any answers as to why this had happened. I totally blamed myself, and felt this way for a long time.

We both had counselling before and after Jack's funeral and receiving his post mortem results.  

I can honestly say Gracie, who was just over 2 and half at the time, was our saviour and the reason we got up in a morning. Telling her was so very difficult.

We received Jack's results on 19 August 2015. An extremely tough day... There were no answers, nor explanations as to why Jack died, all we know was he was starved of oxygen in some way 12-24 hours before he was born.

It was such mixed feelings, as I wanted answers, however so scared that we would be told something that could have been prevented or something that could affect the future.

On 4th May 2016, our third baby Charlie Jude was born safely into the world. He is a joy and we are so lucky that we have been able to add to our family.

However, we miss Jack desperately and think about him every single day. This third pregnancy was difficult at times, however I tried really hard to remain positive and received so much support from family, friends and maternity staff at Russells Hall.

As a family we light a candle for Jack and talk about him all the time and for us this is so important, he is such a huge part of our lives. As Gracie and Charlie grow up, they will know and learn all about Jack and his memory will live on in them. 

We believe research into the issue of stillbirth is vital. Anything we can do to prevent other parents go through what we have means so much to us.

Nicola and Gracie have raised over £350 in the Tommy's and babyballet 2016 Danceathon to help us fund vital research and save babies' lives.

If you want to find out more about our stillbirth research, you can take a look at the work of our Manchester research centre here.