Sophie Louise Kirk was born sleeping on 11th March 2016 at 2.09pm weighing 3lb 2½ oz; she was a perfectly healthy little girl born without breath. At first we couldn’t comprehend how a baby of 35 weeks’ gestation could simply pass away without their being anything wrong with her so we set about finding answers to help us, as a family, come to terms with her death. I am hoping that this blog will raise awareness of infant loss and organisations which are available to help should you find yourself in this devastating position.
We discovered we were expecting Sophie on 7th August 2015 which was our wedding anniversary; we had been trying for ages so to see that line on the pregnancy test was the most amazing thing and from the start we were convinced that Sophie would be a boy. We already had 3 gorgeous boys so we just assumed that this baby was a boy too. At 6 weeks pregnant I began to bleed; we were nervous because we had unfortunately had a missed miscarriage in January 2015 which followed the same pattern. However, we were relieved when the scan showed a healthy heartbeat and no known cause for the bleeding. I was offered weekly scans as the bleeding continued; the blood loss increased gradually until I had a major bleed at 9 weeks; this time I was rushed to A&E where I was seen as an emergency patient. The on duty gynaecologist performed an ultrasound and discovered that I had developed a large hematoma (blood clot) which was located near the placenta. I was warned that if the hematoma didn’t dissolve then we could lose the baby, and at this stage the odds were 50/50 as the hematoma was still being fed by a blood vessel and continued to grow.
The bleeding and weekly scans continued until I was 16 weeks pregnant, occasionally heavy enough to warrant a trip to A&E, and each time we were convinced that we were losing her but we saw a healthy heartbeat at each scan. We had a private gender scan at 16 weeks and discovered… to our amazement… that we were having a girl!!! We were overjoyed and our boys were so excited to be expecting a sister. As the bleeding had ceased, the baby was growing at an average rate, and the hematoma had dissolved we were given the fantastic news that we now had average odds (98%) of a successful pregnancy. The rest of the pregnancy was uneventful with the normal pregnancy aches and pains!
I had a growth scan at 29 weeks with showed a normal, healthy, baby girl. However, when I was nearing 35 weeks I began to notice a reduction in movement. I went to maternity triage for monitoring; her heartbeat was fine at that moment so a scan wasn’t needed. The next day the movements were far less and almost non-existent; I assumed that she was in a position is which I couldn’t feel her as she had been fine the previous day. The following day I felt that something was wrong; my stomach felt ‘heavy’ and the movements had completely stopped. I went with my husband to maternity triage and we were given the news that our gorgeous daughter had passed away. I was 35 weeks.
Two days later we went back to the hospital to be induced, and after only a 3-hour labour, our daughter was born silently on to my tummy. Perfect in every way… just without breath.
We decided to have a full post mortem and a series of blood tests to try to find answers. The post mortem showed a perfectly healthy baby girl; but from my blood tests we discovered that I have antiphospholipid syndrome (sticky blood). This can cause the blood to form clots and it was therefore very likely that a clot developed at the base of Sophie’s cord which would have significantly reduced her oxygen. This could have also been the reason for the miscarriage in January 2015.
With this blog I hope to raise awareness for infant loss, highlight some of the factors that can cause stillbirth and neonatal death, explain what help is available to families should the worst happen and discuss trying again after infant loss. If you would like me to share your story, or would like a specific topic covered in detail then please get in touch.