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.
By Anon (not verified) on 18 Jul 2018 - 13:14
I went in for an iron infusion and asked them to listen to the baby as I’ve been in a lot of pain. Never experienced pain like it during pregnancy (6th baby). They wouldn’t listen in and now I’m worried sick as I have to wait a week for my 38 week appointment. Was it really too much to ask?
By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jul 2018 - 15:20
No, this is not asking for too much
And if this is really worrying you, then please attend your pregnancy triage/day assessment unit/labour ward to get it checked out for your peace of mind. It won't take long to listen into baby with the sonicaid Doppler and if it puts your mind at ease, then it's worth doing. You did the right thing to ask. I am sorry that you were not granted this small thing.
All the best
By Anonymous (not verified) on 30 Apr 2017 - 10:02
I really wish this campaign was around when I lost my son at 29 weeks sept 16. I had reprinted reduced movement on a Sunday and all they did was put me in the monitor for a short while and I mean short, I don't think it was even 30 mins. Heard his heartbeat but I still could not feel any movement. There were other issues during the pregnancy and I left feeling they should have done more checks due to my circumstances. He passed that week. I should have spoken up, it may have been a different outcome. I live with that everyday.
By Midwife @Tommys on 2 May 2017 - 15:39
my sincere condolences for the loss of your little Son.
I also wish so much that the campaign had been around last September if only to lessen your feelings of guilt that you struggle with on top of the loss of your baby.
I hope that you are finding support in these dark days. Please, please seek out this for yourself and your future.
With love and sorrow
By Sue Longley (not verified) on 27 Apr 2017 - 19:12
Please, it is not your fault. Mothers should not beat themselves up. Surely as a first time parent, the professionals are the ones who should check everything more carefully. My daughter was let down by the professionals. They knew she was in labour, they were in constant communication with the hospital who were expecting them at the hospital. When they arrived, one midwife was there checking arrivals, some only having mild symptoms. My daughter was in full labour and they kept her waiting for ONE HOUR AND 10 MINUTES before even checking her, by which time the baby's head was visible and her heartbeat was no more. She could not be revived and post mortem stated she died through lack of oxygen. Happening quickly and within a couple of hours. My daughter blames herself! Simply not her fault - she was in great pain with no idea as a first baby. We are all in such pain
By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2017 - 16:07
We are so terribly sorry to hear of the loss of your daughter. If we can support you in anyways please do get in touch by email [email protected] Take care x
By Katie (not verified) on 27 Apr 2017 - 00:25
We lost our daughter at 35 weeks as we trusted the doctors rather than my own instinct. I took myself to hospital as I had multiple odd symptoms and just knew something was very very wrong but was told everything was fine. It clearly wasn't as two days later she was dead. A simple blood test would have saved her. If I'd just trusted my body and insisted on being checked properly she would be here now.