Guest Column

Miscarried at 14 weeks, baby Phoenix shares the humanity of preborn children

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On July 30, 2015, when my daughter was around five months old, I discovered I was pregnant. This came as a huge shock to us both, as I have PCOS and it took seven-and-a-half years of trying, and many procedures and fertility medications and heartache, to conceive our daughter. We had a miracle baby on the way: our third child.

I had a scan around six weeks (as I have a history of recurrent miscarriage) on 21st August, which showed a heartbeat.

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Eventually my first midwife appointment came. I had told her something didn’t feel right, but it was just brushed off.

I carried on as normal, then I hit 11 weeks gestation and started bleeding on September 16th. I was offered a scan a few days later, which showed my baby alive and seemingly well with no visible sign of where the bleed was coming from.

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Then the bleeding got worse, so I was scanned again on the 23rd of September and, again, all looked alright.

Then on October 9th, 2015, the bleeding became heavier and was now passing on to a pad. I was offered another scan and all seemed fine once more, and my baby had been developing as he should have been the entire time.

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On the 10th of October, I felt him moving away inside of me; then around 4:40 a.m. on the morning of the 11th of October, I awoke with pains. I originally thought I needed the toilet (I suffer IBS), but nothing came. I kept trying, and then I vomited, which is very unlike me. At around 6 a.m., I got on the phone, as I suspected a water infection, which I am prone to.

They said a doctor would call me back, but to inform them of any changes as I waited. After I finished this phone call, my water broke, and it kept coming and coming (at this point I didn’t realize it was my waters). I dialed back emergency quickly, which called an ambulance for me. They arrived, but just as they came through the door, I had another gush of waters which went through to my pajama bottoms. They came in and checked my blood pressure and asked a few questions; then they said they need to take me in, so I went to the bathroom to change my pants and trousers.

When I sat on the toilet, I felt pressure and I put my hand there, and I caught something and then felt a snap (it was the placenta coming away from the umbilical cord, which is how I caught it). My baby son followed seconds later, born into my hand.

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After this, I made my way into the dining room where the paramedics had made their way after hearing my cries, and they could see what had happened as I held my son. They then told me I no longer had to go to hospital if I did not wish to.  I then asked them if they could test my baby and his placenta, to which they replied “No, it’s just one of them things.”

The next day being Monday, I phoned the funeral directors to arrange Phoenix’s cremation after calling the Women’s Center at Newark Hospital. I asked to speak to my own midwife, but she was on holiday so I spoke to another and explained what happened. I requested a post mortem and/or placental testing, and she told me no—that it cannot be done.

I then called King’s Mill Hospital and asked the same, and was again refused. I knew full well that this was possible, as it can be done on babies even at six weeks gestation, so I put the placenta in the freezer in the hope of fighting later after I had grieved. Little did I know this may be a problem.

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 A week or so later, I got to talk to my midwife. I asked her for placental testing and she actually told me it was not possible— not even in full term babies! I was told what I had already heard before: “It’s just one of them things,” despite crying down the phone, begging her because I knew it could be done.

Shortly after, I saw my own GP,  who I explained things to and again asked for placental testing. He was absolutely shocked and gobsmacked at what I had been told by the midwives and assured me it can be done. He informed me it should have been done, given how far along I was,  and he put in a referral for me to see a specialist. He also asked me the names of the midwives who had refused me.

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While I was carrying Phoenix, I was offered nothing more but scans. I wasn’t offered any vaginal or internal exams, no urine checks, no swabs, and no blood pressure checks.  I have been seriously let down and these basic checks should have been carried out. Had they have been, maybe a problem could have been found and treated, and my son may still be here.

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Here is my son, Phoenix Aesir Mann. Born at 14 weeks and one day on the 11th of October, 2015. My precious sleeping beauty. Look how perfect he is; 10 fingers, 10 toes with nails, a perfect little nose, feet and hands and a beautiful smile. You can see all his veins, too. He was PERFECT. I miss him every day.

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