As every dream pregnancy happens we had 2 lines on a clear blue and ‘pregnant’ on a digital. That moment was the happiest moment, even though I was adamant I wasn’t pregnant just sick, but soon got proved wrong. The whole pregnancy was going brilliantly: the scans were showing he was growing perfectly, kicking and stretching away at all appointments and heart beat of a trooper. I was so happy to be a mum again and his brothers were happy to not be the only two boys. I was working whilst pregnant and had everything in place ready to be leaving and the general safety checks whilst there, etc…
On Monday 8th May I woke up slightly concerned on his movements as he hadn’t been kicking me as he would normally. Thinking I was being a paranoid mum we went to get checked, but I got more nervous as his dad normally feels him at night and didn’t. We sat in the waiting room which felt a while, but not as long as it felt them looking for a heartbeat: they tried the ECG, Doppler and Pinard horn which is when I got told I was being sent for an immediate scan. That’s when I knew something wasn’t right. I was in floods of tears and had Michael and my eldest son Reuben with me, so to keep Reuben calm Michael nipped to the car to get his juice and something to play with whilst I was waiting to be called through (which was a couple of minutes later). Before Michael even walked back through the doors to the maternity ward I was already on the bed waiting for the scan to proceed, when walking through I was in floods of tears and probably scared every woman that was awaiting a scan to see their precious life they had created. I wanted to wait until Michael and Reuben had got back before I had the scan, but she continued and didn’t wait. As soon as she scanned me I hoped the machines and hearing were wrong, as I seen my baby but nothing was happening: he wasn’t moving and had no heartbeat. I kept thinking he was just resting/needed a chill. I was 33+5 days pregnant and how wrong was I: he was asleep but it was permanently and there was nothing they could do. I couldn’t breathe or stop the floods of tears, I felt I did something so wrong the guilt was killing me! Michael walked in and instantly knew I hated that they didn’t wait for him.
I was rushed up to labour ward; one walk I was hoping not to do yet. I sat on the bed and spoke to a midwife who discussed what was happening and all I kept saying was ‘stop me breathing and save him I’ve had my life why can’t my son have his!’ The worst thing you could possibly imagine as a parent is the thought of burying your own baby/child before you. They had given me oral misoprostol to try and start off my labour naturally and they said it could take a few days to start anything, if it worked, so I was booked in to give birth on 10th May for induction, if that didn’t kick start anything. I got offered to go home and sort out any arrangements of what we want him to wear, get organised and all the normal things you do for an induction, but it didn’t feel right: I knew I’d go into a hospital with a baby and come home without one; I had a million and one questions but couldn’t say one word. We went home to sort out his stuff and pick a lovely outfit and make him happy that way. We went out on the Tuesday 9th to pick an outfit went in various shops, but nothing was standing out until we seen this one outfit that said ‘sleep well little one’ and it seemed to fit the occasion perfectly, but still wasn’t right. Went into another shop, but told Michael not to be long, as I was in emotional and in physical pain; something wasn’t right and, sure the pessary should not have started this fast, we went home so I could sit down and calm down as much as I was able to, but my labour had started and I spent an hour laid on my bed, in labour, being sick and with a ambulance on the phone as Michael didn’t want to risk taking the car; so we waited what felt like a lifetime! I was in the ambulance (when it finally arrived) and it got stuck in traffic as it seemed no one wanted to let it through; but when I finally got to the hospital and back in the same room I had the tablet in, the midwife was getting me prepped to have a canula in my hand, but I knew I was in labour. I was pushing and felt his head coming out. By the time the midwife had a chance to see he was out, she had to pretty much catch him before he fell off the bed. I was in labour a total of 2 hours and in hospital 10 minutes before my special little boy made an appearance. What made it worse he weighed 5lb 3.5oz and looked perfect, so how could he have been asleep! I was angry upset and felt like giving up myself. I couldn’t let him go, nothing was right, everyone was wrong: he was going to wake up, he just needed a cuddle as I had seen the miracles that happen when a baby is on the mummy’s chest, so why wasn’t mine waking up? What had I done so wrong? WHY ME!!!!??
We were able to take him home in a special cuddle cot that kept him cool so he could stay with us a little longer. First family in Lincolnshire to take our sleeping baby home which felt like a pleasure as he was still my baby, we stayed in hospital a few days before we took him home to ensure I had no infections ect. I couldn’t care less for myself, for the fact I was willing to take his place just so he could have his life. I felt so guilty I didn’t know what to say to Reuben, I was scared if he would hate me for not bringing home his baby brother to play with.
We managed to get it arranged that we took Jaxon to Nottingham in our car to our choice of funeral director in Beeston with a woman called Adele. We had to alert the police to ensure we knew we wouldn’t get pulled over or if a crash occurred they knew he didn’t go to sleep from that; we had valid paperwork and they had it confirmed by the hospital themselves too. We just contacted them when we were leaving, and when we had arrived in Nottingham then they could close the case – if that’s the right word to use, I don’t know how but we managed to speak to Adele about most of the arrangements on day 1 which was the hardest, but I knew if we didn’t do it sooner than later we might not have made any plans at all. The funeral was arranged for the 24th May which seemed like ages, but yet not long enough; but if we had left it any longer Jaxon would just be more and more uncomfortable and I couldn’t bear that thought. Michael was brilliant: helped me every step of the way and was my rock; if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have sorted out anything for the cremation for Jaxon. I just didn’t feel strong enough to do anything. I held Jaxon as much as I could; he was still my baby and Michael held him and did things with him to ensure he could get through every day and still be there for me and Reuben. He had a beautiful casket light blue and padded out for a prince, my boy, even got a pillow in it; he looked so perfect, but it was still not sinking in.
The day before the funeral we managed to take him back to his Grans house so we could have the family say there last goodbyes and leave for Bramcote Crematorium the next afternoon. Having him back for a whole night was amazing we had to ensure the room was really cold to mimic the conditions he had been in; obviously it was never going to be perfect but it worked for him. Our baby finally had to leave us for good, it was time for the cremation and me and Michael both carried him in, as we brought him into this world so I believed it was only fair we got to help him and let him know it was okay to leave. I couldn’t have a stranger do it. He had the most precious send off: it was such an emotional time, but we made him proud. His brother Cyrus made us really proud too, as I wasn’t sure how he would react to obviously going through it, but he made us so happy with how he responded and how much he shown his dedication in supporting us all and even kept Reuben happy which was a massive help. Considering it was the worst time in our lives, every help made it feel like we weren’t alone and it felt amazing having such support from everybody there.
I just want to thank all the midwives from Pilgrim hospital in Boston including the Chaplin who did a service for us in the room he was born. Thank you Adele for helping us through the hardest time we had to go through and showing us emotional support also. Thank you to bereavement midwives I have Nikki and Christa both from different hospitals but have supported me every step of the way and helped me and Michael. There is so many people to thank, but I genuinely struggle to remember everybody.

Support For You

Hello. If you are bereaved, we know it’s not easy to ask for help.

Most people can’t imagine what you’re going through.

But however you’re feeling now, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s important to remember you are not on your own. There are lots of men who’ve been through this pain.

You can meet some of them here… 

Here’s five things that might help you:

How can I get through this?

What you’re going through is really tough but we can help you find the right kind of support that works for you.

Grief doesn’t come with a manual. There’s no right or wrong way to react.

Sometimes you might want to be busy and then need quiet time alone with your thoughts.

Don’t feel bad about needing this time to recover, let people know you might not be always available.

If you’re working, for yourself or someone else, check out your options for having time off.

Have a think about what you enjoyed doing before this happened. It’s OK to do something that makes you feel better for a while. That doesn’t mean you’re letting your baby or your partner down.

When you’re ready, Sands is here for you. Find out about the different ways we can help you find your way through grief.

How can I ever talk about this?

You don’t have to talk about it. For some men that’s the last thing they want to do and that’s OK. Talking isn’t the only way to get through this.

There are other ways to get your feelings out that will release some of the pressure. If you are able, being active is a great way to do this as it relieves the tension in your body and mind without talking about your loss.

Being physically active is proven to have a dramatic effect on mental health. Something as simple as going for a walk can help hugely.

Some days you might not want to even get out of bed. Try something you know you enjoy and build up gradually, after all your body is in recovery mode.

If you’re up for it why not set yourself a new challenge in memory of your baby? Sands has challenge events and activities which provide an opportunity to remember your baby. You can run, cycle or literally do anything you want in their name.

When you feel ready to talk you will find a way that’s right for you.

If you have someone in your family or a friend you can talk to that can help hugely. And it may also help your partner to share their feelings too.

There are people at Sands you can talk to – confidentially and anonymously if you prefer. That could be face to face, on email, online or webchat – there are options listed at the bottom of this page.

You can also download Sands Bereavement Support App from Apple Store or Google Play on your smartphone.

What you’ve been through is unimaginable to most people so finding other men who’ve been through similar experiences can help. Joining a running or walking group or a Sands Group or a Sands United team can offer a space to talk without it being the reason you’re there.

And these days lots of men find that social media gives them a space to open up about how they’re feeling.

How will I ever feel better?

Grief will tire you out – physically, emotionally, mentally. Remember to look after yourself.

You might not feel like it, but it is important to eat regularly and drink plenty of water. Sleep when you can, take it easy if you can’t. Do stuff you enjoy, don’t feel guilty about it. Spend time with other people if that helps.

Be on your own when you can’t face anyone. Let people know you won’t be answering your phone or messages for a bit. Binge on a boxset, listen to music, go for a walk, play a game, play sport. Do whatever works for you.

Speaking to another bereaved parent may also be helpful. Sands has a helpline (call 0808 164 3332 or email [email protected]) and trained befrienders around the country who are there for you.

How can I stay strong for my family?

It may feel like men have to be the strong ones. But you really don’t and that’s OK.

As a bereaved dad it can be doubly isolating as much of the focus from friends, family, colleagues and professionals can be on your baby’s mother and you may also feel you have to be “strong” for them.

Your emotional needs are as important as your partners, they just may be different.

You might feel pressure to be the one who breaks the news to the rest of the family and friends, maybe because you want to protect the baby’s mother. Perhaps you can share this burden together, or ask someone close to you to help with letting people know and respond to messages of condolence.

There may be a lot of decisions to make about saying goodbye to your baby. You don’t have to bear all of this on your shoulders. Don’t be worried about asking for help.

If you’re the baby’s grandad, uncle, brother, Godfather or even a best mate, you will be dealing with your own grief and wanting to support mum and dad too. Just remember to take time to look after yourself too.

What if I feel like I can’t go on?

It’s frightening but not unusual to want to be with your baby.

Many parents who contact Sands have these thoughts.

It’s normal to have a passing feeling about ending your life. But it can be dangerous if you notice those feelings lasting for a long time or becoming too intrusive or overwhelming.

When thoughts about ending your own life start taking control you should talk to someone about how you’re feeling.

The Sands Helpline  0808 164 3332 is open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 9.30 am to 9.30 pm on Tuesday and Thursday; or email [email protected].

Outside of these hours, you can access our Online Community  or download Sands Bereavement Support App from Apple Store or Google Play on your smartphone.

If you feel you need professional help urgently, you can contact your GP surgery, ring 111, visit your local walk-in centre, or A&E. You can also contact the Samaritans.

How to help a man who is grieving for a baby

Being there for a male friend or family member whose baby has died may seem really challenging and you may not know where to start, but there are a few simple steps you can take.

Be there to listen

The benefits of simply listening to someone are incredibly powerful.

Don’t worry about saying the right things, just ask them to tell you about their baby and give them time to talk. Ask them what their baby looked like, or what name they decided to give them, this will show you’re interested and want to listen

Give reassurance that they are valued and important.

Don’t try to problem solve and don’t say, “Everything will be ok” or “You can try for another baby”.

Listening will be more helpful.

Silence might feel much louder for you than for them. Just being with someone whilst they think and sometimes speak is incredibly helpful.

Offer practical help

The simple things in life will feel impossible so be ready to step in.

In the early days, it can be hard to put one foot in front of the other, let alone, go shopping, eat, or pick children up from school. Anything you can do to help, like cooking a meal, or doing some shopping will be helpful.

Keeping things real

It may not feel possible but life does go on – you are a vital part of that.

If you’ve always done a regular activity on a particular night, try to keep this going, even if you don’t talk much whilst you’re there. Routine can be really helpful and knowing you’re there will mean a huge amount. Don’t be afraid to laugh or use humour – you’ll know if it isn’t appropriate, but it can break tension and allow someone to open up a bit.

Be aware: they may feel like they can’t go on

If you think someone is really low and may be at risk of taking their own life don’t be afraid to ask.

Ask a question and be specific “How are you feeling today – you seem low” or “How’s this week been?” Making it specific sounds like a real question that you want a proper answer to, rather than general politeness.

Listen more than you speak, use open questions or reflect back what they’ve said – “So you’re feeling really down today?” and leave time and space for them to respond.

Don’t be scared to ask if they’ve been thinking about taking their own life or have a plan – if they have, it may be a relief to admit to this and shows you’re not afraid to be supportive in their distress. If they haven’t got a plan, then you won’t have made anything any worse.

Warning signs that someone may be feeling suicidal

Sometimes there are no warning signs because the person wants to keep their personal crisis private, and so will work hard at hiding their thoughts and feelings.

Unexpected mood changes – including suddenly being calm and/or happy after being very depressed

Social withdrawal

Change in sleeping and eating patterns

Lack of energy

Neglect of personal appearance

Reckless behaviour

Increased drug or alcohol abuse

Anger or irritability

Talking about suicide or wanting to die– their statements may be vague or appear to be joking about it

Giving away possessions

Saying goodbye – to friends and family as if they won’t be seeing them again

Get advice for them

When someone’s baby has died they may not feel able to spend time looking for support for themselves. You can do the leg work for them.

At Sands we have support groups, an online community email and telephone support. You could get in touch on their behalf.

For details, please scroll to the bottom of this page, or visit www.sands.org.uk/support

Sands

Helpline: 08081643332

Helpline open hours:

From 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

From 9:30 am to 9:30 pm on Tuesday and Thursday

Outside of these hours, you can access Sands Online Community at sands.community

Alternatively download Sands Bereavement Support App from Apple Store or Google Play on your smartphone.

Ways Sands offers support: www.sands.org.uk/support

CALM

0800 58 58 58

thecalmzone.net

Helpline & web chat available 5pm to midnight every day

Samaritans

116 123 (24 hours)

www.samaritans.org

Maytree

020 7263 7070

www.maytree.org.uk/index.php

A sanctuary for the suicidal

MIND

0300 123 3393 (Mon – Fri 9am – 6pm)

www.mind.org.uk

Papyrus

0800 068 41 41 (Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm / 7pm – 10pm. Weekends 2pm – 5pm)

www.papyrus-uk.org

Prevention of Young Suicide

GriefChat

Losing a baby before, during or shortly after birth is arguably one of the hardest things anyone has to find a way through. What takes many people by surprise is how strong the emotions can be, how they can change very quickly, and how long they last. People around you may seem to think you should be ‘back to normal’ after a few weeks or months. You might appear to be your usual self to other people, but you know that on the inside, you’re not even sure what normal is anymore.

Everyone grieves in a way that is unique to them. Well-intentioned people may say to you, ‘Time is a great healer.’ Sometimes, however, it can seem that life is more difficult as the weeks and months go by.

We know that no-one can understand exactly what losing your baby feels like to you. But we do understand that it’s sometimes easier to talk to someone outside of your friends and family about grief and the impact of bereavement of your life and this is why we offer the GriefChat service, alongside Sands’ Helpline and our other support services.

GriefChat was created by bereavement experts and by clicking on the GriefChat box below, you can chat directly to a specially trained bereavement counsellor. GriefChat counsellors are experienced in supporting bereaved people and will listen to your story, explore how your grief is affecting you and help you to find any additional support you might need. GriefChat is a completely free service and is available Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm. You can email or message Sands or GriefChat outside of these hours.

GriefChat provides emotional support for bereaved people, access to trained bereavement counsellors and referral on to Sands’ specialist bereavement services.