Camille Del Pozo
My husband and I were over the moon when we found out we were pregnant with our first child. I was in my final year of my training as a midwife, I obviously knew a lot about pregnancy and babies.
Once we had our 12 weeks scan I felt confident everything would be fine. I know babies can still die past the first trimester, I had met women who had a stillbirth or a late loss but I never thought this would happen to us.
When I got to 18 weeks I started getting stomach pains. I quickly realised that they were contractions, I could feel my uterus tightening and relaxing every few minutes by putting my hand over it.
My midwife came over and reassured me it was stress and advised me to take it easy.
The tightenings eased off that night but they came back over the next few days and intensified.
I went to the GP who ignored me and said I had a urine infection (which I knew I did not). I went to a&e the next day and was told it was Braxton Hicks (practice contractions that you normally get in your third trimester to prepare for labour).
I insisted that I could feel something was wrong but was told that unless I was doubled up in pain or bleeding there was nothing they would do. The next day I started bleeding.
I was 19+3 weeks pregnant, so I had to go to a&e and EPU (early pregnancy unit) as you have to be 20 weeks to be seen in the maternity. Her heartbeat was fine but I was told, as I was still bleeding, that I may miscarry and there was nothing they could do.
One doctor I saw later on that day told me to "sit on the toilet and see what comes out". I was treated like a woman with a pile of tissues in her uterus, not like I was pregnant with a baby.
The bleeding stopped but I was admitted to the maternity unit at 20 weeks after my scan showed my cervix was short and there was a blood clot.
I was also getting more and more tightenings and they were becoming painful. The midwives treated me with kindness and compassion. We knew there was an infection in my uterus but the antibiotics did not work. I stayed in hospital for a week and then was allowed home.
We were hopeful although still scared as the tightenings were incredibly painful at that point and I had a lot of them.
The next morning as I woke up, I felt a pop. I knew my waters had gone as I was leaking fluid and my whole world came crashing down.
I knew I was going to go into labour and she was too early to be saved. All hope was gone.
I was 21+2 weeks pregnant. Five hours later I held onto my husband's hand and gazed into his eyes as I gave the final two pushes that both started and ended our daughter's life.
It was a magical moment on the saddest day of our lives. She was alive and moving at birth but I could not see her, I did not have the strength to watch her die.
I was told so many times the word miscarriage that I think I didn't quite realise I would give birth to a perfect baby.
I thought she would only live for a couple of minutes, nobody explained to me what would happen. The guilt I felt the next day, when I found out she was alive for 53 minutes, was overwhelming. I still feel to this day that I abandoned her. She lived for nearly an hour and died alone in that little cot, and I find this very hard to accept.
I became very unwell after she was born but I managed to hold her about three hours later, once I felt better. She was perfect. Very small but a perfect little girl.
We named her Keira and are incredibly proud of her. Whilst in the hospital I was often telling her that I loved her so much, to hang in there and be strong, and she did. Despite the fact that she developed pneumonia from the infection, she kept fighting.
She is our hero.
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