• Beth Wankiewicz

The Baby Loss Hub - Still birth - Ollie's mum

You never think it will happen to you until it does. My partner Reece and I decided to try for a baby following lockdown, however having been on the contraceptive pill for a number of years we presumed it would take us a while to conceive. I was wrong, just 4 weeks later I took a pregnancy test following a missed period and the second blue line appeared. We were absolutely thrilled.


Aside from suffering from dreadful morning sickness and nausea from weeks 6 – 14 I sailed through my pregnancy with no complications. Despite a urine infection and a slightly low iron count I encountered no problems and was considered low risk. My friends threw me a beautiful baby shower, we moved home into a bigger place to accommodate our new arrival and the 4d scans we had of Ollie were beautiful. But I had an extremely anxious pregnancy, I attended hospital numerous times for reduced movement and was utterly convinced something was going to go wrong. However, when we reached week 40, the home stretch I started to relax a little. I started having Braxton hicks contractions and my body appeared to be gearing up for labour, it was decided by myself and my community midwife to have a stretch and sweep at home at 40 weeks + 5 days. Everything went mostly to plan however Ollie had changed position and was now facing the wrong way, I was assured this was normal but slightly unusual.




The midwife listened to his heat beat on the Doppler and everything appeared to be normal. This is when things went drastically wrong... Around 1 hour after the sweep I was sitting at my dressing table getting ready for the day when I felt what could only be described as a popping sensation. In my sad naivety I thought my waters had broken, I rushed to the bathroom expecting to see this however what I actually found was a huge amount of blood. It was clear I was having a haemorrhage. I called the Labour Ward and they advised I came into hospital immediately; I was unfortunately home alone and in a complete panic so unable to drive. Luckily my friend lived around the corner and was at my house within minutes. I made it to the hospital in around 20 minutes and by this time the bleeding had subsided a little, my partner Reece was on his way from a funeral which was an hour away, so I waited in the assessment room alone due to Covid restrictions my friend, Hannah, was unable to sit with me.


Despite heavy bleeding I was kept waiting for over an hour and was ignored by midwives on the unit when I repeatedly told them something was wrong. Eventually Reece arrived and a receptionist on the unit took pity on me and forced her way into the Maternity Assessment ward demanding I be seen immediately. However, I knew it was too late, I hadn’t felt Ollie move for around 1 hour and knew he had gone. The Midwife finally attached the straps and started the Doppler, nothing happened. She told me ‘his shoulder is probably just in the way’ and moved me into several different positions but we still heard nothing. However we had a small glimmer of hope when she told us ‘I think I can hear something, I’m going to get the doctor just to be sure’ and left. Reece was very optimistic about the outcome. As his mother I knew this was wrong and that his heart had stopped.


The doctor attended and repeated the same exercise, he told us ‘I’m sorry, I’m not detecting a heartbeat’. What followed is a blur, I recall Reece shouting NO repeatedly, but I stayed silent. The world seemed to stop, and I felt like I was watching myself on a TV screen, that this could not be happening to us. I remember looking at the Midwifes face who was as shocked as we were. He was 4 days overdue. I felt like I wasn’t present, like my body had left somehow and I was floating up in the corner somewhere, like this was someone else…

At some point I was helped into the scan room by Reece and the doctor, the sonographer confirmed that Ollie had died due to a placenta abruption. he identified a large clot behind my placenta and told me that my life was in danger as I was at high risk of a haemorrhage. I was going to die with my child and I made my peace with that.


I was moved to the bereavement suite, I called my parents and told them he had gone and messaged my friends to tell them the same. I asked my close group friends to please contact everyone to inform them of the news, I was still getting messages from people who were completely unaware of what had happened asking if he had arrived. To this day I feel-immense guilt at how I broke the news to my friends who I consider to be family and the burden I imposed on them to relay that terrible news.


I had a very long labour; I was given a morphine injection to help with the contractions and then given an epidural and anti-sickness injection to stop the vomiting.. I was attached to a glucose drip and oxytocin to induce my labour, I stayed there for 13 hours until I started to push. Due to Ollie’s position and the epidural after pushing for around 2 hours not much was happening. The Registrar attended and the decision was made to use forceps and do an epiostomy.


After a further 2 hours at 06.42am Ollie was born, he was taken next door where he was cared for by the midwives and washed and dressed. I haemorrhaged post labour and went into shock, I don’t remember much after this…


We took some comfort from the fact that Ollie’s death would have been instant, and Ollie would not have known much about what was happening, I also took comfort from the fact that he died with me listening to my heartbeat, so he knew his mummy was with him. Ollie weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and had beautiful light brown hair. I couldn’t understand why I had survived, and he hadn’t. Had the option have been available to me I would have happily died in his place. It seemed unfair that I was spared.



I was discharged a day later thankfully with no follow up, I had lost a lot of blood, but my iron count returned to normal quickly. The paperwork we had to complete was torturous, instead of signing a birth certificate I was signing a death certificate. Leaving the hospital without a baby was honestly the most harrowing and painful experience I have ever encountered. The hours and days that followed were the darkest of my life, I am not ashamed to admit that I contemplated numerous times taking my own life to be with Ollie. But somehow, I made it through by taking things hour by hour. For a long time, I was unable to be left alone and friends and family took it in turns to sit with me drinking cups of tea while I stared into space, I was flooded with hormones and had periods of time where I physically could not stop crying. I stayed up most nights until 3am watching mindless television because I developed a fear of the dark, I was prescribed Diazepam to control severe anxiety and panic attacks that developed in the days after his death.


But now? Almost 9 months after losing him, the mist is starting to clear & I’m beginning to feel a little more like myself again. My son was so special, I don’t want his life to be associated with death and darkness, he has brought so much joy and impact to people’s lives that he deserves to be talked about with love and not associated with my demise – he will never be forgotten.

In the dark days after his death I found numerous things helped me including

  • Puzzle books – seriously! TV and reading weren’t enough of a distraction so I bought arrow-word books, word searches, crosswords. They kept my mind occupied when it needed occupying the most and required me to use my brain to think about something else other than grief.

  • Walking – When I was well enough Reece and I used to go walking for miles and miles, being outside made me feel closer to Ollie and the exercise helped kill time & build my strength up.

  • Books – I swear by ‘The Baby Loss Guide’ by Zoe Clarke Coates, this helped me normalise my grief and how I feel, the quotes included in the book are beautiful and the daily journal entry helped me articulate what I was going through.

  • Journalling – I found writing down how I was feeling to be a helpful outlet and by writing letters to Ollie made me feel closer to him. I wrote pages and pages of ramblings, it also helps you to look back and see how far you have come. You can read more of Hayley's blogs here

Despite everything Ollie has changed my life for the better, he taught me how to be a better person. More empathetic, more forgiving, more understanding, kinder. He may have died but he has taught me how to live. Reece and I are still parents, and we always will be. I know my son had blue eyes, and sandy hair and large hands. He loved strawberries and pineapple juice and hot drinks. He has a beautiful soul that will always live on.


In loving memory of Ollie James Watson

16/10/21 – Our star forever in our hearts x



214 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All