I have never been brave enough to post Zachary’s birth story, here we are almost four years on and I want to share how we welcomed our beautiful baby boy into this world. Although he was only with us for such a small amount of time we have cherished every moment and every memory that we have of our precious baby boy.
Sunday 6th April 2014 – 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant
I woke up and realised that I was leaking some of my waters and being so overdue it was about time! I had tried everything to bring on labour since reaching full term. We were so excited, this was the day we would meet our baby! I called the labour ward at Frimley Park Hospital and they asked me a few questions like is the baby active I said “He’s usually still asleep at this time” and they told me to get our things ready and make our way to the hospital.
Our last photos before going to the hospital!
Reuben was running around grabbing last minute bits and pieces with my mum whilst excitedly calling family members on the phone and telling them what was happening. I got myself ready, had some breakfast and then we started packing things into the car including the car seat.
I remember the car journey to the hospital like it was yesterday. I was smiling from ear to ear. We were all so excited I don’t think anyone can put into words how excited they are when they are about to meet their baby for the first time. I don’t even remember feeling anxious about giving birth I just couldn’t wait to meet my baby who I’d carried for over nine months. We all sang along to songs on the radio on the way there.
Mum dropped Reuben and I off at the main entrance so I didn’t have to walk from the car park to the labour ward with my big bumpy and she would meet us there.
We walked through to the labour ward and couldn’t figure out how to press the buzzer, luckily one of mums friends who worked there walked past us and we told her we were having our baby she wished us luck and showed us how to get in.
We got let in to the labour ward and they took my details and asked us to wait a few minutes. We cradled my bump while we were waiting and soon we were asked to go to one of the triage rooms.
I laid down on the bed whilst the midwife strapped the monitor to my bump. She couldn’t find the right place to find his heartbeat so she kept moving it around. “These babies get themselves into the funniest positions” she said and I smiled and remembered that sometimes my midwife had to search for a while to find his heartbeat. The midwife still had no luck finding his heartbeat and put it down to the machine playing up so she went to get a new one. I thought nothing of it and waited while she went to get a new one. She came back with a new one and tried once more to find his heartbeat with no success. “I’m just going to get an ultrasound so that we can look at the baby” so off she went to get an ultrasound, both Reuben and I still blissfully unaware of what was to come. She came back with the ultrasound machine and asked one of her colleagues who is a consultant to help her. They put some cold jelly on my baby bump and went ahead with looking for his heartbeat. I could see on the screen that our baby was not moving, they zoomed in on his heart.. which was very still.
At this very moment in time our world was turned upside down. “I’m so sorry, your baby has no heartbeat”.
I remember looking at Reuben who was holding my hand and hearing screaming, the screaming was me. I cradled my baby bump I just couldn’t believe what had happened. My mum came into the room as she heard me crying, she thought I was giving birth and she then found out too that he had died. We were all crying. I held my beautiful bump and said why, I love my baby I want my baby my poor baby. The next couple of minutes are a blur. Reuben went to call his family and I just cried and cried next to my mum.
I remember asking what would happen next. Would I still have to give birth even though my baby was dead?
The answer was yes, I would still have to labour and birth my baby. I was told I’d be given a tablet to start labour off and then if nothing was happening I’d be put on a drip to get things moving. I could not fault the staff working there they were so lovely and I’m sure they explained everything in the kindest manner.
We were moved to the Rowan Suite, a special suite where families can spend time with their baby away from the labour ward. There were beautiful photos and quotes on the walls and a comfortable bed, a cupboard with hand knitted baby clothes and a room attached with all the things needed to give birth. We looked around and I had some tests done and bloods taken and they gave me the pill to kick start labour.
I soon decided that I wanted to go home, it was making me too sad being there. I remember there being a beautiful frame covered in butterflies that said “A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment its beauty and glory belong to our world… but then it flies on again and although we wish it could have stayed, we are so thankful to have seen it at all.”
Although I can appreciate that quote now it made me feel sick and I just wanted to go home and cry, they let me home and told me to come back in the morning. I don’t really remember what happened when we got home but I know that we ended up going back to the labour ward again because I had changed my mind and then back home again once more because I’d changed my mind again!
We emptied some of the hospital bag and chose a couple of outfits for Zachary to wear, a lot of this is such a blur I think my body has blocked a lot of my painful memories.
Reuben’s parents had come down earlier in the day and Reuben’s mum Jackie decided to stay the night at my mums while we prepared to give birth to Zachary. Reuben and I sat in our summerhouse and cuddled and cried and then I think I went to bed. I laid in bed and I swear I could feel him moving in my belly. How could he be dead?
Monday 7th April
We went back to the hospital in the morning and went back to the Rowan Suite, I had some more blood tests taken and another pill. Nothing was happening. I just remember crying on and off on this day, getting fed up and messaging friends and family in between. We were given a memory box which had bracelets, one for Zachary one for us, a teddy bear for Zachary and one for us to keep with us at all times until we say goodbye and swap them over so that he has our scent and we have his, leaflets and books. One book in particular called “When a baby dies” which I have to admit upset me and I was not impressed one bit. I never read the book. We met the bereavement midwife and she was really lovely and encouraged us to still bond with our baby and told us that we could still make loads of memories with him. She asked us what we would be naming our baby and we told her his name. We had not yet announced his name to anyone.
They decided to kick start my labour with a drip later on that evening. We sent my mum and Reuben’s mum home, they’d been there all day and it was going to be quite a while until he was born. I hated the examinations they were extremely painful and made me cry, I still wasn’t dilated enough so they tried to put me on a drip. Its always been hard trying to get blood from me or a cannula in so they had to call an anaesthetist. I remember it being incredibly painful and I cried so much.
It didn’t take long for the drip to start working and the pain was like no other. Our bereavement midwife was with us and talked me through all of the pain relief options I could have but they let me have some morphine and also gas and air. Reuben was on a pull out bed next to me and I told him to try and get some sleep as it was going to be a long night.
I chatted to my bereavement midwife all through the night whilst being high on gas and air and morphine, we talked about anything and everything and she was so lovely. I remember the pain being so intense.
Tuesday 8th April 2014
I laboured throughout the night, waking Reuben on several occasions, I remember him offering me drinks and holding my hand. I really surprised myself I thought I would be cursing and swearing like what you see on OBEM but I was quiet when I laboured. I kept thinking and hoping that there would be a miracle and that he would be born alive and screaming and I kept this thought until he was born.
When it was time to push it felt like nothing was happening and it was so so tiring. At this point I had given up on pain relief a good few hours ago as it was just making me feel sick and wasn’t working. The bereavement midwife stayed a couple of hours past her shift bless her and then two midwives on the morning shift took over and they were equally as lovely. I wasn’t really making any progress with pushing after what felt like forever so I turned around on all fours and held onto the top of the bed to push to let gravity help him along.
At 08.55am Zachary came into this world very silently with his hand on his head, our special little superman. I was so tired and had to be stitched up which was really painful so I had gas and air for this.
Baby Zachary Laurence Banks 08.04.2014 08:55am 8lb 11oz
The midwives dressed our beautiful boy and he was placed in my arms for the first time. I had never felt a love like it in my life, I felt complete when I met him. Reuben and I looked at each other and both smiled. We made him and he was so unbelievably beautiful. He looked like mummy and daddy. We were so proud of him. We both gave our baby boy so many kisses and cuddles and we took our first photos together before Nanny Clubb and Nanny Banks came to our room to meet him.
Some of our precious memories from the day he was born. I will add more once I’ve found my external hard drive as I’ve very sadly misplaced it.
Baby boy you are loved and missed every day. x