A mother of a stillborn child has opened up about the heartbreaking moment she realised her baby had passed away, with a blog post that has touched parents all over the world
Laura Sheehan is the founder of parenting blog The Whole Mummy, which she describes as ‘an open space and an access to resources to help make juggling all the balls in the circus of being a mum just that little bit easier.’
Originally from Australia, Laura moved to the South of France with her husband ahead of the birth of her second child, a baby boy to be called Beau, which is where they experienced their tragic loss.
Writing with complete honesty and openness, Laura tells of how the family had already experienced trauma with their first child, Brody, who was affected by meningococcal B meningitis at three months old.
Although Brody survived, several years later Laura was forced to once again go through the pain that all parents dread, worrying about their child.
Laura describes how she felt the last time she could feel her baby inside of her, ‘On the way back from Ikea. I sat tired and contented with my arms wrapped around my belly feeling the gentle stirrings of my Beau rolling and rocking within me.
‘He stirred so much for that drive and for most of the night, lively, vibrant, almost innocently playful, playing with his mummy, as though he was smiling, happy. That time, in truth was the last time I definitively and with strength felt him move.’
Heartbreakingly it wasn’t long before Laura felt a change, sensing something was wrong with Beau. ‘Hours passed and I began to become more aware that I still had not felt any strong purposeful movements, no solid kick or shifting shoulders, no tucking elbow against my ribs or rushing, pedaling feet.
‘As I stand I feel a slow, gentle roll forward from within, it didn’t feel right, limp, lifeless, not an exertion or a rocking shift. I put it out of mind, perhaps out of denial, perhaps based on hope but I made the effort to feel the movement as a reassurance, a mantra, he was ok.
Laura recounts the moment that after telling a good friend of her concerns, she encouraged her to go to the doctor.
You can read more about Laura’s story on her Facebook page
‘Even now I can see my text… ‘I know that even if I went now, if I haven’t felt him moving, he’s already gone’.’
Laura took the advice of her friend, and though struggling to communicate with the hospital staff, she managed to organise a scan for her baby. It was then that gazing at their unborn child, Laura and her husband Brett realised that Beau had no heartbeat.
‘The outline of his head, his face, his arms, his legs, his hands and feet, his big round belly, my eyes scanning quickly resting on his chest, the white light, the blinking flash of light, gone, no flicker, just still.
‘I feel a hand, soft, somber, delicate, take mine, looking, the doctors eyes, sad, meet mine and tapping on his chest I hear him say the words “non le coeur”… no heartbeat.’
Bravely, Laura writes about the devastation that she felt in that moment, ‘Screaming in utter disbelief I hear my husband voice cracking ‘No!’ crumbling, folding to his knees. I will never forget that “No” from his lips, the sound it made, the heartbroken gasp before he spoke, it split me, struck me to depths, I’ll never be able to reach or remove it from.’
In her heartbreaking post, Laura goes on to detail the days after they were told Beau had passed away.
‘For two days I waited, I sat, holding, carrying, knowing that my child was dead and he was still inside me. Anger, heartbreak, pity, despair an unimaginable loathing and grief. After an induced labour, baby Beau was born naturally on June 19, 2014.
‘Placed in my arms is the small, fragile and achingly lifeless body of my son.’
‘I held him, I breathed him in, I kissed his head, his cheeks his lips, I felt the weight of him against my chest and his cradled curve in my arms, but I knew he was gone, that perfect soul I had been connected to, he had left me, I had lost him and he was gone.’
‘I don’t believe a mother ever forgets how their children feel from the first moment they are placed in their arms.’
‘It is comforting with that knowledge that I can, at anytime, go back to that moment and to let myself connect, to allow myself to be present and to give myself just one more minute, one more moment with him in my arms.’
Laura has some beautiful reflections on her situation, and is thankful for falling pregnant a third time with her now toddler, Daisy.
‘Every day you write a new chapter with me and not a day goes by that I don’t miss you, think of you, sometimes with smile, sometimes with a tear,’ she wrote.
‘I love you but as I cannot hold your hand as we walk this life together, I will, forever carry your beautiful soul in my heart.’