Dotted Line

Annelouisa’s Story

My daughter Abbie was stillborn at 34 weeks in December 2007. 

“I visited the midwife on the 20th December for a routine appointment to which she was discussing having a minimum of 10 movements a day, to which I responded I didn’t feel like I had 10 movements a day. She then said if you are ever worried just give us a call even if you’re sitting having your Christmas dinner. I didn’t even get to Christmas dinner. 
On the 23rd December 2007 I had felt no movements that day so called the local maternity unit who suggested trying something sweet to eat and drink then call back in half an hour. Still nothing. They asked me to come up to have a check-up. They listened in.. there was no sound. They went to get a sonographer who then confirmed there was no heartbeat. We were devastated. We then waited two hours for a doctor to confirm our baby girl had died. My first thought was that the cord had wrapped round her neck but that wasn’t the case. It was stillbirth. Something I hadn’t even heard of as a first-time mum. After looking back through the ready steady baby book at that time there was only a very small paragraph of a few lines talking about ‘stillbirth’. I’m glad that it is more openly spoke about now and a lot more awareness for pregnant women.
I went back to hospital on Christmas Eve to have tablets that would prepare my body for labour. I spent all of Christmas Day in my bed I couldn’t face anyone and so nervous for what was about to happen. Having to carry your unborn child over Christmas knowing that she had passed away inside you was one of the most horrific things for a mother to have to go through. Anytime of the year is hard enough but to experience this over a time that is meant to be happy and joyful really hits hard. Something that I still struggle with.
On Boxing Day, I went to hospital to be induced. It was a long and sad day. Our daughter was finally born at 00.53am on the 27th of December 2007. 5lbs 1oz she was perfect. The silence in the room when she entered the world is the most hurtful pain for any mother to endure, just longing to hear a cry, but there was nothing just a still silence.
SiMBA were amazing. They gave us the most beautiful memory box that I treasure. Abbie’s hand and footprints with a small lock of hair are in a frame in our living room to remind us that she is very much still part of our family. A lovely blanket that she was wrapped in also in the box. The thought and care that goes into making these boxes are just incredible. Our family has done fundraising in the past for this amazing charity as every box given means so much to a family that have suffered the loss of a baby.
The team at SiMBA are truly amazing at what they do.
Christmas is never an easy time. For almost 16 years there is not one second of the day at Christmas that Abbie doesn’t cross my mind. As the month of December begins it is always a trigger for me. I try to keep myself as busy as possible as it is a struggle. She is very much still missed and still loved all these years on. We put our SiMBA angel with other sentimental ornaments for Abbie in our tree every year.
She now has a brother and sister. They have always known about Abbie as we visit her resting place regularly and speak of her often. We like to get her a Christmas floral tribute every year for her resting place as this is our way of having Christmas memories for her, over the years she has had a Santa, snowman, a present to name a few we take this up on Christmas Day. For her birthday flowers are always the numbers of the age she would have been on her birthday. This year would have been sweet 16.
She will always remain a big part of our lives. You never get over the pain of losing a child you just learn to live with it. 

-Mum, Annelouisa McKenzie