As it’s revealed Britain has Third World rates of stillbirth, one mother’s heartbreaking account of her shattering loss…
He’s going to be a footballer, this one,’ my GP said, her hand on my pregnant belly.
She wasn’t the first person to remark on my unborn baby’s hyperactivity, the tiny shifts from side-to-side, the flurry of bulges from feet and elbows.
When I imagined my second child, I saw someone sporty and strong. Such a whirlwind in the womb, what would life be like when he or she arrived?
That was on an otherwise ordinary Friday in February 1998 — a week before my baby was due. My blood pressure was slightly raised, but my GP didn’t seem unduly worried.
Over that weekend I became increasingly uneasy, however, as I realised the baby seemed more still than usual.
Cherished: Keren David, pictured with her children Phoebe, 14, and Judah, 11, lost her baby just a week before he was due 13 years ago
By Monday, there had been no kicks for at least 24 hours, so my mother arrived to look after our 19-month-old daughter, Phoebe, while my husband took me to the GP again.
‘It’ll be fine,’ we reassured each other.
Then the GP called us into her consulting room and the nightmare began. She couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat and referred us to AE at the local hospital.
We rushed there, telling each other they would have better medical equipment at the hospital than at the doctor’s surgery, as well as specialist obstetricians. Hope can be a terrible thing.
The midwife couldn’t find a heartbeat. When the doctor arrived but said nothing, we thought perhaps his English wasn’t good enough. Maybe he didn’t have the vocabulary to tell us our baby was fine.
The amplified sound of a heartbeat filled the room, but it wasn’t the baby’s heartbeat. It was mine. Only mine.
And just like that, hope died; in its place the fear and horror of what lay ahead.