26 April 2017
Anna Baker is a 30-year-old nurse from Fareham in Hampshire. She's married to Kieran, 27, who is in the army.
My daughter Bobbi was stillborn at 37 weeks on July 2, 2016 and every single day since then I have wondered 'what if I'd really insisted things weren't okay'. I work as a nurse and I never thought I'd find myself in a situation where I wouldn't feel able to speak up and say something felt wrong. I never had a pregnancy red flag symptom but I knew something wasn’t right.
For the last four weeks of my pregnancy, I was in agony all the time. I was massive and I could barely move, my back, pelvis and hips were so painful. I weighed myself before and after my waters broke and I had 6kgs of water.
I spent days crying as I was in so much pain. My midwife and consultant kept telling me I was being so stoic and brave but I never felt able to tell them the truth about just how bad my pregnancy was.
Finally, my consultant thought I might have had pre-eclampsia and admitted me for observation. I was so relieved as I thought they were finally going to induce me. My consultant was so reassuring that my baby was fine, he would tell me that he was sure having extra water was uncomfortable and I thought 'I'm probably being a wuss', I didn't want to be seen as a complainer. Yes, having extra water was uncomfortable in the beginning, but later it was excruciating and I should have said that. It never once occurred to me that she wouldn't be fine, so I didn't say anything. My instincts were telling me to tell them how it was but my pride stopped me.
They found that I didn't have pre-eclampsia and wanted to discharge me and have me come back in two weeks. I broke down, it was so awful and I just thought to myself 'no, I've had enough'. I asked for a CTG before I was discharged and it was then that they couldn't find a heartbeat. I had only felt her move a few hours before and it was only just too late. I had suffered a silent placental abruption. If only I had told my doctors just how bad my pregnancy was my baby might be alive.
Always Ask is a campaign which encourages women to ignore their pride and listen to their instincts. I wish I had seen this campaign when I was pregnant with Bobbi. It's so important to trust yourself, not just for better outcomes but also so that if the worst happens then, you know you did everything.
Bobbi was my first child and I didn't feel that I had any experience to put my foot down and say, 'no this isn't right', but deep down I knew my pregnancy wasn’t okay. It’s so important that women feel able to say, 'this just doesn't feel right' and not feel guilty or paranoid or ashamed. This is my guilt to live with and it is a horrible one, I would like to hope that one day no woman will know this feeling.
Being your own champion during pregnancy is important. That’s why Tommy’s has launched a new campaign called #AlwaysAsk to encourage you to trust your instincts and speak up when it comes to health concerns in pregnancy.
Practical tips from other women on how to get listened to and be taken seriously when you have a concern in pregnancy.