“Alice was born still, silent and perfect.”

By Clare Worgan

“Alice was born still, silent and perfect.”

I felt scared and excited when I found out I was pregnant with Alice.With every scan my fear reduced and my hope increased, then at 37 weeks I relaxed because I felt that everything would be ok now that I was full term.When I went into labour I was ready, I had finished work the week before and had bought every baby gadget a first-time mum thinks she needs.

At the hospital the midwife used a handheld Doppler but said that there must be something wrong with it as it didn’t seem to be working. I knew she was flustered and that confirmed all my fears.

She left the room and came back with another machine but I knew the baby was gone. I think she knew it too.  I could see fear in her face.  The other machine didn’t work either so they walked me round to the sonographer’s room.

I can’t find the words to describe the pain I felt when I heard the sonographer say the words:

“I’m afraid it’s bad news”

I cried and screamed while the midwife held me, I sobbed in her arms.

A wheelchair then appeared and I was wheeled back to the labour ward though a corridor I had never seen before.  I knew they were taking me through back way to avoid the pregnant women in antenatal clinic, but I didn’t care. I had no feelings.

In the delivery room I stopped crying and was silent.  In my head the baby had gone so it took a long time for me to realise that I would have to birth the baby.  Everything was foggy and my brain just didn’t work.

Alice was born still, silent and perfect. She was beautiful, with curly auburn hair and features just like mine. My heart exploded with love when I first held her. I was so relieved that she hadn’t gone.

The doctor had tears in her eyes when she said:

“I’m so sorry this has happened to you”

I’m not sure if she was talking to me or to Alice but her tears made me feel cared for, like our pain mattered.

Our little family stayed in hospital for 3 days together, it was peaceful, full of love and sorrow.

I washed Alice, changed her, read to her, sung to her and took hundreds of photos and videos.  I’m so glad we had this opportunity because these moments are my most cherished memories and they still get me through the darkest days of grief.

I wanted to stay in that bubble with Alice forever but very slowly I started to accept that I had to say goodbye.  We left the hospital with an empty car seat and a memory box instead of our baby girl. I felt numb.

Leaving the hospital without my daughter is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Mums and their babies belong together but I’m so happy to have held her, even if it was just for a few short days.

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