Reuben's story

In 2018, Lucy & Stephen’s first baby, Reuben, was stillborn at 36 weeks. Here, they tell their story to raise awareness of the continued need for the work of Tommy’s.

Story of baby loss

Story by Lucy, 

Our story begins with a care-free, healthy pregnancy that was full of joy, planning and a nursery ready to go. The care we received from our local maternity unit was excellent and Reuben’s growth and movements were normal throughout. We felt we had nothing to worry about and were calm and optimistic about labour. We were so looking forward to being parents to our healthy baby boy.

At 36 weeks, we met up with our new NCT friends and bumps on Father’s Day for brunch. I ordered a meal that was full of garlic – Reuben’s favourite ‘let’s kick mummy a lot’ ingredient and enjoyed the much-needed calories.

As we were preparing to leave, I became aware that he hadn’t moved at all since we’d arrived, which (when there was garlic involved) seemed odd. However, as his movements in the days prior and also that morning had been normal I wasn’t overly concerned - I just presumed he was sleeping.  

That afternoon, I lay on my side, had a hot drink, ate some toast with honey on – all in an attempt to encourage Reuben to move. A few hours passed and as our concern grew, we rang the labour ward who encouraged us to pop in to be monitored.

When we arrived at hospital, we were seen straight away and a kind, caring midwife attempted to find Reuben’s heartbeat with a Doppler. With no luck, several senior staff arrived with various bits of kit, all encouraging us to stay calm until they were sure what was happening. Shortly after, it was confirmed by a senior sonographer that our baby boy had died.

From that moment, up until this day, we have known depths of love, pain, loss and grief that we never imagined. All of the tests relating to Reuben’s death came back clear.

There were no problems with the placenta nor umbilical cord - there was no infection - my blood results were normal - Reuben was healthy genetically - I didn’t have pre-eclampsia nor gestational diabetes. The conclusion into his death was therefore, ‘no known cause’.

No parent should have to say goodbye to their loved and longed for baby, whether there is no known cause or a cause that may have been preventable through greater awareness.

The work of Tommy’s is so important to us as it looks towards the future with the aim of understanding the causes and reducing the likelihood of baby loss. They want every parent to have the best possible pregnancy outcomes and to take home happy, healthy babies.

When Reuben was born, he was so beautiful to us. We held his perfectly formed, 7lb body in our arms and tears fell down our cheeks. He will always be ours, but he will always be gone.

We hope that with the help of Tommy’s, fewer parents come to know this pain.

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