Our story starts in 2012 on a cold February evening. Me and a friend had gone out for drinks, and after one too many we made the decision to go to a local club. After the taxi ride and the fresh air had gone to our heads we literally fell out of a taxi. What I didn’t know was that we were seen falling out of said taxi – something I laugh about now. Well into the club/bar we went, where I was met by this young lad who I had known through people. He offered to buy me a drink, his name was Ash. After that night we exchanged numbers, and over a few months we found we really liked one another and had a lot in common.
Life wasn’t easy for us, and we still lived with our parents , but we made it work and split our times between their houses. I decided to take up a job closer to his home, and move in to his parents with him. After a while we spoke about our future and the fact that we both wanted children, but that we weren’t ready. I had also been diagnosed with a Bi-curonate uterus, and was told it would be difficult to fall pregnant; added to the fact that I don’t produce an egg every month. We kind of went with the flow, and never consulted with a doctor about this.
Summer soon came around, and I had missed my period and I just knew I was pregnant. Telling Ash was really difficult, because, well, were we ready? Could we do this ? We had only been together for three years.
Everything went okay in my pregnancy , until the end when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia . Skip forward to March 2016 and along came our son Maxwell. We was beautiful 8lb 9oz. The easiest baby you could wish for; so chilled and slept through the night , always ate all of his food . It was all amazing.
We spoke briefly about having another child, but we had our hands full. It wasn’t until March 2018 that I realised (on our sons birthday) that I had missed my period again. I took a pregnancy test, went down stairs to set up the balloons for his birthday, and then came up again to find a positive test sat there. I jumped for joy! How easy it was to fall pregnant this time. I was so happy ,and so was Ash when I told him. We jumped around the bathroom. We found out we were having a girl , and I really enjoyed buying girls clothes, as there isn’t as much choice with boys. I bought her a cot and stored it under our bed. I washed her clothes whilst watching the wedding of Princess Eugenie.
The pregnancy was perfect , no morning sickness, no weird cravings . I was calm and I was ready to be a mother of two. I attended the Day Unit once towards the end of my pregnancy, for reduced movements and was reassured that everything was well.
Ash was due to go in to hospital too, to have an operation on the 26th October; that would leave him not being able to do much with the baby. I remember sitting in the hospital and feeling so big and uncomfortable, and the nurses asking me how I was, and how long I had left. I almost wished the time away – just to have my body back – something I regret now.
28th October; I get up, make a beef stew, pop it in the slow cooker and then off out of the door me and my son go. We’re meeting a friend in Bournemouth, to attend a ‘baby rave’. Whilst I was there there I was getting painful back ache, nothing unusual just niggling. Could this be labour? I thought to myself. I went to bed that night with our baby bouncing away in my tummy, if anything, looking back now, these were a lot of movements, something that was out of the ordinary for her; but we had not been told about over movement, just lack of movement.
For the next part, you’ll have to bear with me, as some of what I’m about to say is a little hazy, and I might repeat myself , but this is coming from memory and from other peoples memories.
On 29th October 2018, I woke with pain in my hip, as normal, I applied deep heat to the area. I then started to get period pains/bowel pain. Off I trotted across the landing to the bathroom. I left the light off so as not to wake our son. I sat there for five minutes, opened my bowels and passed urine. Still nothing out of the ordinary. I stood up and felt a little dizzy, so I turned on the light in our bathroom that was over the mirror . Now when I say I was white as a ghost, I was white as an A4 piece of paper. I was shocked. What was wrong with me? Then there was the pain. Now, I had had contractions with my son, but he had back-to-back so this was different. My tummy was constantly hard. The contraction was coming and going , but the hard belly didn’t let up. I collapsed to floor, and then shouted for Ash, “Something is wrong, call my mum”. He just thought I was over exaggerating, so walked to the bathroom, but he tells me now that he knew something was wrong by the colour in my face.
My mum arrived, and asked if I thought I was in labour – “Could be, mum? I don’t know.” I just knew I was scared, something in the back of my mind was telling me something else. Whilst I was pregnant I don’t know how, but I came across something called an abruption, this is where the placenta comes away from the wall of the uterus and is life threatening for baby and for the mother. I told my mum I thought this is what was happening, whilst she was on the phone to 999. She told me not to be silly, and that everything was fine. She asked if I had felt the baby move whilst this was all going on. I hadn’t. I was rushed to our maternity unit in an ambulance. Whilst in the ambulance we hit a pot hole and my waters broke. I remember saying thank you to the driver for helping break my water.
In my head I had this whole idea of going in, and wanting to give birth standing up. This was going to be a VBAC, and I felt empowered to do this. Now, I can’t tell you why I hadn’t noticed, but the room had filled up with consultants and nurses and health carers, all helping me to try and get onto the bed. They were chatting amongst themselves, and I heard some one say “Okay, this is good, her waters are clear”. As I lay on the bed they started trying to scan me. They apologised and said that the machine was playing up today, and that they would have to take me upstairs to the ultrasound room.
(Breathe Rose, you can do this) I was quickly wheeled upstairs where they scanned me. Whilst laying there I thought about how much pain I was in, but how exciting this was ; I was going to meet my baby girl at last. No one was talking, no one would look at me. I asked “Is my baby ok?” No reply. “Is my baby ok?” “One minute, Rose”
“IS MY BABY OK?” I shouted. I literally felt the atmosphere in the room turn, and I knew, she didn’t even have to tell me. She wiped my stomach , and turned around . That is when she said those words, “I’m so sorry, Rose, your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat”. I don’t even know what came out of my mouth – but I knew it wasn’t human . I sounded like an animal in pain. Screaming for my life. This wasn’t real. This doesn’t happen to people like me. THEY ARE LIEING. The midwife turned her face to look away as she was crying. I had no one with me .
My father-in-law had taken Ash to the wrong maternity unit; something that we can laugh about now. My mum was downstairs sipping on her tea. My son was asleep in his bed. My family were sleeping. Yet here I was, being told my child had died.
Wheeled back down, I told my mum, she was in denial. No one had broken the news to Ash, so when he walked in, I had to. He was jumping for joy, rubbing his hands saying “Let’s have this baby”. Have you ever broken someones heart before? Stolen the light from someones eyes? I have. I told him that my body had failed us, and had stolen his daughter from him.
The consultants spoke about giving birth naturally, but were unsure what damage had been caused inside. So they took the option away from me. Whilst being wheeled away again, I kissed my phone which had a photo of Max as a screensaver. If I was going to die, I was going to die with the memory of my boy. I was ready to meet my maker. What I didn’t know was that they had spoken with my family, and had told them that due to the amount of blood loss it would be touch and go, and that if they had to they would remove my womb in order to save my life. What I know now is that Ash (who may add is a 6ft2, broad, lads lad.) Crumbled in the family room, and had a panic attack; this is the guy who doesn’t think anxiety is real, or panic attacks for that matter. There he was, being cuddled like a little boy by his dad.
I woke in the HDU; “Where’s my baby?” “She will be along soon.” I was in and out of it. Taken into a special suite, they brought our daughter in. Black hair , button nose , long elegant fingers , bum chin. She was beautiful; she was amazing. We decided on the name Pheobe Patricia Rose Jackson. Pheobe was spelt differently because of the OBE at the end, we started to associate swans as this was the queens animal. The Patricia for my mum, as this was her middle name, and the Rose for me; her mum.
We spent five days in hospital with her; sleeping with her in the bed. Talking, singing, making memories, and when it was time to go, it was horrific. I had to be held by Ash. The funeral home men were so calming, yet I could see the pain in their eyes. One of them had to walk out. It’s funny, because she was only going back to the town where we lived, and was just down the road, and we could visit anytime we wanted. However, this felt so final. This is not what I wanted. I remember screaming “This isn’t fair, I don’t want to do this.”
I don’t know how, but I let her go. I watched them walk away with my baby, and down the stairs, out to the van where they put her on the front seat in a Moses basket, so that she could see the sky. We walked out of the hospital empty handed. Destroyed, broken, angry scared; every emotion, except for happiness.
We never thought this would happen to us. To this day I still cannot believe this happened. We buried our daughter, our daughter lives on the moon, taken up by aliens in a red rocket. How do we survive every single day? We only have photos, some clothes, and her ashes. I sit here with tears running down my face as I write this, because even though she will be 4 in October, I can’t believe we have lived through this. I’m a strong person, but this has broken me, and still does. She was beautiful, and I am so sorry that my body failed you, Pheobe.
We carried on, because even though our world had ended, the world didn’t end for everyone else. We grew apart, mentally trying to figure our heads out and both trying to navigate our grief. I received counselling weekly, Ash received nothing. He wanted to deal with it by himself. I strongly believe that one day he will just hit a wall, and will not be able to function. We found out that I had experienced a placental abruption, for no known reason. Apparently these things can just happen. Although some comfort was given to us in the fact that they said it would have been so quick, she was more than likely asleep at the time, and wouldn’t have known anything,, she would have only ever known love and warmth.
After throwing an event for Pheobe’s birthday, we found out we were pregnant again. We never found out the sex; and I disassociated myself with the pregnancy, never bonding with the life I was growing inside of me; to protect myself. We welcomed another daughter in August 2020. She has helped us with grieving. She hasn’t replaced Pheobe, but she has helped.
Every year we do something for Pheobe to remember her. Every September to October I start to go a little crazy, tearful, angry and quiet; but I am finding that this is the price we pay for love. She existed, and she was ours. Forever thine, forever mine , forever ours.