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15 October 2020 | Comment | Article by Rebecca Gilmore

Baby Loss Awareness Week and the day our lives changed forever

Rebecca Gilmore and her family | Hugh James

On Thursday 15 October 2020, at 7pm, you may see a flickering candlelight in your neighbour’s window. You may have seen this every year and wondered why.

It’s to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week and a “Wave of Light” which has grown into a national event.

You may look around and see some landmarks, churches, cathedrals, bridges and hospitals have been lit up in blue and pink this last week. I notice this, I always do.

14 March 2010 is a day that our family will remember forever – sadly for all the wrong reasons.

I was almost 24 weeks into an otherwise uneventful first pregnancy. Clothes were being bought, names discussed, bump getting bigger and bigger.

Then one otherwise uneventful Sunday, our lives changed forever. I went into early labour and sadly our baby boy died a few minutes after giving birth. His face, fingers, toes all perfectly formed yet he was just too little to survive. We said our hellos and goodbyes simultaneously.

Thereafter followed weeks and months of tears, anguish, grief, medical appointments, questions, so many questions and yet no answers. We ran away and travelled the world. It took a journey of 1000 miles to be able to face the future.

Being a lawyer, of course, I researched all potential causes, any negligence (should the doctors have acted on my high blood pressure or high ketones?), and always why, why, why had this happened? There were no answers and I eventually faced up to the fact there never would be.

There was thankfully some support out there. I relied a lot initially on the charity Sands, who provide online support, literature and group meetings. There is also Tommy’s and now many more local, community-based charities and support groups.

Sadly, many families will experience miscarriage, neonatal death, and baby loss – and undoubtedly many colleagues will know this only too well. Research into miscarriage and stillbirth is ongoing and improvements in antenatal care continue.

Awareness of potential issues in pregnancy is key – reduced foetal movement always is a sign not to delay an appointment with your GP or midwife. Trust your gut instinct, always.

And, yes, we now have our “happy” ending; a daughter (aged 8) and a son (aged 6). If my 2010 self knew my 2020 family would be more than just a dream it would have given hope through the despair; plenty tell you it will be ok but you just don’t believe it!

If any of what I’ve said rings home I’d love to connect and help.

For Peanut (14/03/2010).

Author bio

Rebecca is a Senior Associate in the Specialist PI Department and specialises in Travel litigation. She has over 12 years’ experience in this area, regularly dealing with complex issues of jurisdiction and applicable law. Rebecca’s passion is helping victims gain access to rehabilitation and financial help at a time of vulnerability and often desperation, more acutely experienced when accidents occur abroad. Clients comment on Rebecca’s down to earth and compassionate approach and feel quickly at ease with her.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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