It broke my heart to leave without my daughter in my arms

Sonia from Birmingham sadly lost her daughter, Angel, a day after she was born.

A pink rose on a table

My husband and I got married about 3 and half years ago when we were 29. The following year, when we both turned 30, we decided it was time to start trying for a family and I became pregnant soon after. My first pregnancy went really well, and I worked up until I was 37 weeks.

My little boy arrived into the world via emergency c-section and was just perfect.

Life with a new-born

When we arrived home with our son, it took me a lot longer to recover than I’d expected. I felt numb from my c-section and didn’t feel like my usual self. I also found breastfeeding difficult and I struggled to get my son to latch on. I live with my in-laws and felt a lot of pressure to spend time with family when all I wanted was alone time. After a couple of weeks passed, my mental health began to suffer, and I was diagnosed with postnatal depression.

I began to feel a little bit better a few months later. I was out shopping with my husband and 3 month old son when I realised that I was feeling very tired. Deep down, I knew that I was pregnant again. I took a test a month later and it came back positive. We were both very surprised and didn’t know what to do. A few weeks later we had an early pregnancy scan and found out that we were 8 weeks pregnant.

A little fluttering heart

We saw our baby’s little fluttering heart beating and fell in love. We called it our little ‘Jelly Baby’ as it was wriggling around so much.

At 16 weeks we paid for a private scan to find out our baby’s gender. I’d always dreamt of having a little girl and I was thrilled when we found out that we were expecting a daughter. That’s when the online shopping started – I adored buying little dresses and bought so much for her. During the May bank holiday, we had a gender reveal party. We bought a special cake and when we cut it, pink sprinkles appeared. It was such a happy time.

Again, my pregnancy progressed very well, and my daughter was due to arrive almost exactly a year after our first son had been born.

Contractions started

On Friday 9 August, my waters broke. This was two weeks earlier than I had expected and my first reaction was that I wasn’t ready. I had booked a nail appointment for the following week. I just didn’t feel prepared.

We went into the hospital that evening and I was taken for a c-section the next day. Even though I didn’t feel prepared, I focused and felt mentally ready for what was ahead. Everything seemed to be going well – they’d monitored my baby’s heartbeat and I’d been feeling her kick all evening. I just couldn’t wait to meet her.

Our daughter’s arrival

Our daughter was born at 5.49pm. We heard her cry as soon as she arrived. She was a nice big chubby baby with tiny little eyes. She was all pink and lovely and she was placed into my husband’s arms. When I was taken into recovery, I had skin to skin with our little girl and breastfed her for 45 minutes. It was a very special moment as she latched on very easily.

My sister-in-law arrived at the hospital with lots of pink balloons and teddy bears. My husband dressed our little girl with a little dress I had bought decorated with the phrase “little sister”. I felt so overwhelmed and so happy.

I couldn’t sleep that night at the hospital. I stayed awake all night and tried to feed our baby, but she didn’t seem interested. My husband and I noticed that her feet were purply-blue, but the nurses reassured us that this was normal.

Heartbreak

The next morning, our daughter had all her new-born checks. They told us that her heartbeat was strong and she was well but I was still concerned that she wasn't interested in feeding. A few hours later, I had her on my chest doing to skin to skin when I noticed the side of her face changed colour, but as my husband put her back in the cot she changed back to her normal colour. I went to the bathroom and when I came back, I noticed my daughter wasn't breathing and her lips, which had been as pink as a rose the day before, were blueish in colour.

My husband pressed the emergency button and the midwifes rushed her off. The minutes that followed were the hardest of our lives. After 10 minutes, someone took us to a room and told us that our baby had passed. I couldn’t bear to stay in the hospital and asked to be discharged.

I woke the next day with empty arms and an empty stomach. I just couldn’t believe what had happened. We named our daughter Angel because, in our culture, we believe she is now back with God. When she was born, she reminded me of a beautiful pink rose, so I call her my pink rose. On Friday 30 August 2019, we held a funeral ceremony for Angel and it was the hardest day of our lives.

No answers

On the morning of Tuesday 29 October 2019, I found out that the results were back from Angel’s post-mortem. After 3 long months of waiting, we were told that the cause of her death is unknown. That’s it, no answers. I was in tears reading the report. My perfect, healthy little girl was ready for the world. My Angel was perfect.

I carried my little girl for 9 months and kept her safe inside me. I listened to her heartbeat at every appointment and felt her move like crazy. All of this, for her to be in my life for only 24 hours & 31 minutes.

Now my little daughter will always be in my heart forever. We will always love our little Angel.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss – and most parents never find out why due to a shocking lack of research. It doesn't have to be this way – and Tommy’s research is finding the answers. But research into pregnancy loss is currently seriously underfunded compared to other medical conditions. 

We believe that every parent deserves answers. Let us know if you agree.

Learn more about our pioneering research

  • Predicting and preventing premature birth

    Premature birth is the biggest killer of newborn babies in the UK and much of Tommy's research is devoted to predicting and preventing this. One discovery has made a huge difference to our ability to treat women in time.

  • Finding the reasons for stillbirth

    In more than half of stillbirths parents are not given a reason for their babies' death. Doctors simply do not know why it happens. This animation looks at how Tommy's researchers are finding out the causes of stillbirth and how this leads to treatments and saved lives.

  • Finding the reasons for miscarriage

    Too many miscarriages are unexplained. Our research is entirely dedicated to finding out why miscarriages happen and how to prevent it in the future.

Read more stories

  • A small premature baby in an incubator

    Story

    Knowledge is what got us through this journey

    Ali and Daisy from London were excited when they found out they were expecting their second child in 2017. After a complicated first trimester, Daisy went into labour at 23 weeks gestation. Baby Jannah was born weighing just over 1 pound and spent 105 days in hospital before finally going home. This is Ali’s story.

  • Woman holding baby

    Story

    I tortured myself with questions

    “I stared at the screen; the chambers of my daughter’s heart were still. They weren’t opening and closing like they had been at all previous scans. I said to the sonographer, ‘she’s dead, isn’t she?’.”

  • A woman in hospital with a new born baby

    Story

    The worst thing about not having an explanation was the fear that the same thing could happen again

    Rachel and Stephen’s first son, Adam, was born after a straightforward pregnancy. Two years later, they had a miscarriage before becoming pregnant with twins. Bill and Ben were born prematurely at 22 weeks and sadly passed away. After two further miscarriages, Rachel became pregnant again. Hugo was born at 24 weeks gestation and is now almost 4 years old.

  • Story

    We were heartbroken and desperate for answers. The support we got from Tommy's changed our lives

    Sarah and Adam had their first son Brodie in 2015. They suffered four heart-breaking losses before being referred to the Tommy’s research centre at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. With the support of Professor Andy Shennan, Sarah gave birth to baby Ari.

    Was this information useful?

    Yes No