In August 2005 our life is going well we have a business and already have a son called Travis and now Lynn is pregnant with our second child, fantastic we are ecstatic. What more could any couple ask for?
Not what happened next anyway one evening while we had a friend staying with us Lynn started to bleed! The outcome was soon very obvious a miscarriage what a way to be brought back to earth with a bang.
Lynn was about 10 or 11 weeks at the time and this had a huge affect on us. We felt the world had fallen down around us and it was hard to pick ourselves up and get on with life. This is a devastating thing to happen to any couple and our hearts immediately went out to all those couples who had been trying to have children and had multiple miscarriages, how do they cope we were really struggling.
We then wondered would this happen to us if we tried again. We made the decision to try again, soon afterwards and to our delight in November 2005 great news! Lynn is expecting again, this time we were very cautious and didn’t tell anyone until about 14 weeks “that’s it” we thought people don’t miscarry after the first 13 weeks we are safe now.
Lynn is a model mum she does not drink not even a sip, she does not smoke and will not stay in a smoky environment, she eats all the right foods and in general does everything that is right for the baby.
Things soon changed, we discovered there was such a thing as amniotic bands “what’s that” we ask, we soon found out what it is and websites didn’t make us feel good about it, babies lose limbs and fingers when these bands wrap round their little arms or legs. What a frightening prospect we think why our child and believe me the word why is so fitting to use because no one seemed to have answers these bands are as rare as dinosaurs and every consultant or professional we speak to has not had first hand experience of these.
So in desperation at 30 weeks we booked into the Birth Company in Harley Street for a scan as we had had our quota from the NHS. The consultant there was Mr Donald Gibb and he assured us the Bands were not affecting our son as we have now found out and they would probably go away well before the birth.
The scan was thorough and he went through every question we asked with poise and gave us a feeling of comfort for the first time in 3 months. So another hurdle jumped and all we need do now is look forward to the birth in ten weeks or so. We were so happy we were going to have that little brother Travis had so longed for.
Shortly after the great news we got about the bands not causing any harm we got some grave news, my best friend of 30 years Kevin Creechan lost his Nephew Daniel who was stillborn at full term. we were on cloud nine with things looking better for us, and now very good friends Daniels Mum and Dad had lost their son, a son they had waited so long to have. how could we attend a funeral while Lynn was nearly 7 month gone? we couldn’t…. Our hearts went out to them but we had no idea what they were going through but that was all about to change.
6 weeks later on the 14th of June Lynn lies on the sofa hands on tummy and proudly feeling her son kick her, she looks radiant and in her element. We can’t wait to go through those sleepless nights with feeding every 4 hours again. Lynn is a perfect Mum full of patience and nothing is a hassle for her when it comes to her children.
That night will remain in my memory until I die as it was the last time we felt Jude move he very sadly died while Lynn slept that night. Lynn woke on her left side that morning she had never been able to lie on her left side her entire pregnancy, she thought it was strange when she woke and immediately said baby was not moving.
We decided to call the maternity suite, they advised us to come to see them so we went to hospital that morning. All the while praying everything was ok. Not to be. Very soon after arriving at hospital we were informed that there was no heart beat and our precious son had died. We could not believe it he was a fighter he had been through so much in his short life, a serious condition like amniotic bands which he saw off but something took his life and too soon.
Our lives changed that day and it was forever, life will never be the same again. How do we tell Travis? Why did it happen to Jude? Why did it happen to us? And why does this happen at all? Lynn was distraught after the miscarriage everyone told us we wouldn’t have this new baby had the miscarriage not happened “really so what do we do now”
We were now advised to take a drug which will induce the birth and Jude was born at 9:20am on the most beautiful day I can remember on the 16th of June, the birds were singing loudly and the sun was shining brightly there were no clouds in the sky and I swear I could see a star, but our son was now in my arms asleep after his bath and he would never wake up.
Lynn was kept in an isolated room in the hospital, there for the purpose of giving bereaved parents some privacy in their despair. Jude was left with us so we could say goodbye to him and get some cuddles while we try to understand what has happened this should have been the happiest day for us and Jude should be screaming wanting feed, what would we give to hear that right now?
The midwife (a he) was fantastic he was patient and tried so hard to understand what we were going through but he will never know unless it happens to him and I hope it never does. He advised us that Jude could only be with us for short periods as he would start to decompose if he was not kept in a controlled environment with that he took Jude away.
Later Lynn asked if she could hold Jude again, with this I went to the room adjacent where we were told Jude would be to get him for Lynn to hold. He was not there, where was he? i asked myself Then my heart dropped again, in the corner was a Zanussi fridge, so this was the controlled environment? I opened the fridge and there was my son wrapped up and spending his short time in our world in a fridge. I don’t know what I was expecting but Jude in a fridge was absolutely not what I was expecting to see.
When Lynn was told another family had suffered the same fate as us and that the room was needed for them we felt it was time to go home and face the world again. We were told we could come and visit Jude anytime we wanted, I had other ideas I told the midwife I was taking Jude home with me he needed to see his nursery and where he would have grown into a toddler and played with Travis even if we knew it was never going to happen. So off I went to my office took the portable air conditioning unit and chilled our room to as low a temperature as we could and Jude got to sleep in his home and in his mosses basket even if was only for three days.
People can not know how this affects you. It was the lowest time in our lives, I saw no way forward from here but we needed to stay strong we still had Travis and how will this affect him? We also had each other and we would cling to each other for comfort, there were many tears in our home over that period and trust me there still is.
We now had to register our beautiful sons’ birth then his death on the same day, not something any parent should ever have to endure far less the thought of what our poor little son had to go through in his last hours and minutes of life. Jude never breathed but he lived for over 8 months and the bond we had as parents for him was and still is as strong as it is with our other son Travis.
What do you have to think of in this situation? Funeral we need to let our son go! Post mortem will we let them operate on our son to find out why he died? Lynn’s milk has come in and she now is experiencing the worst feeling a woman can, her body believes her son is there and it wants to feed him, it is so heart breaking to see the woman you love go through this horrendous experience.
Then of course life must go on so after all these extremely difficult issues have been dealt with you have to think of work and as a business man I though my business partner would understand that I may need a couple of days off! Not a chance, he told me to tell my wife “to get over it and that people had been through worse”. To hear that four days after your son died is like throwing petrol on the fire rubbing salt in the wound and taking a gun to my head all at the same time. When he said this I had other things on my mind so dealt with it some months later when he was removed from the business. A man with no heart is not the type of person anyone would want to work with every day.
Four years down the line can I forgive him for these comments? The answer is definitely not but there is a moral in this and it is why we are doing what we are doing with the Jude Brady Foundation. It is a perception that has been prevalent in society for many years. Through my work with Sands I have learned a lot, years ago when this happened people didn’t even get to see their child it was taken away buried more than likely in a multiple grave designed for the purpose of burying still born children.
So this shows how little value is placed on these small babies’ lives, my business partner showed a complete ignorance and heartlessness towards myself and Lynn whom he had know for 12 years. If that’s how your so called friends feel at your loss how do we expect strangers to understand and appreciate that these lives are precious and that the grief that goes with losing a child cuts so deep that it will never ever heal.
We felt we could not leave things as they were so decided we were going to do something to make us feel Jude’s short life was not in vain but would be a catalyst to show people how prevalent this issue of stillbirth and neonatal deaths are. It’s not a pretty subject but it must be spoken about so I am trying to change the perception that these lives don’t matter, they do and with 6500 families in the UK every year feeling the same as we do, 17 every day it’s time to do something about it. Jude was our Shining Star and he along with every one of the other babies that die every day deserve better. Together we can make a difference so please help us raise money and awareness to help reduce this number.