As we approach Baby Loss Awareness Week on the 9th, this touching story reminds us of how far we have come with bereavement support?. It seems unimaginable that families were not given the opportunity to meet their baby or talk about their feelings at this time. We hope that Irene’s story serves as a gentle reminder that our experiences and voices over the years have continued to shape the care that families have and will receive. As we move into this Week, we remember all families from recently to longer ago bereaved and our doors and hearts are always open to anyone who wishes to talk about their precious baby x
“In 1980 I was 19 and 26 weeks pregnant. To cut a very long story short, I knew my baby had died inside me and I was admitted to Bangour hospital in Bathgate. I was told I would have to deliver my baby and that everything would be fine. I was also told my partner would be allowed to stay with me. They put me on a drip in the morning and into the ante natal ward. Nobody warned of the pain and throughout that day I never received any pain relief. At 9.00pm they said that because I was making a noise they would have to move me, so they took me to the delivery room. I was on the bed, nothing else in the room apart from a clock, and nobody came near. Not a doctor, nurse or anyone. At around 10.30 I felt an almighty movement and she was there at the back of my legs. I was too scared to look, so I lay on my side and broke my heart. A few minutes later, I felt something else move and was so scared, I thought my stomach had fallen out. I eventually rang the bell and a nurse came in, never said anything but moved my baby and everything else and left. She came back in and I had to ask what I had had.
The next day I was told to go home and get on with my life, there would be plenty of other babies. I had nothing, no handprints, footprints, a photo, nothing. From that day I changed, my whole life changed, and she was always on my mind.
We went on to have 2 other daughters. My partner was not supportive and nobody ever spoke of her. Until 1997 when my sister in law told me I had to find her. I was so shocked I asked what she meant. She had been to a spiritualist who told her my daughter was playing with 2 of her grandchildren who sadly had also passed. But the spiritualist told her my daughter was buried and I had to find her.
So I wrote to St John’s in Livingston and they replied saying that the chances of finding her were very slim as at that time, a lot of babies ended up at the Sick Kids in Edinburgh and (sorry to be brutal) but they were incinerated. However, they did a bit of digging for me and we discovered she was indeed buried. I didn’t take it any further at the time because I was quite bitter and my partner thought that should be enough for me. However, when the baby ashes scandal broke, I contacted SANDS and Dorothy happened ? She told me to contact Mortonhall and I did.
After finding her, I had a milestone in my mind for some reason, which was 40, and now I have been given this opportunity to give my daughter her rightful place, an identity which is so important to me because I feel she was left and forgotten by everybody in my life except me. But now at 11am on 05/11/2020 I am being allowed to hold a small service for her and I am so grateful to SANDS / Held In Our Hearts be in this position after all these years. A mother’s love is a very powerful thing.” Irene ??