Michael and Carolyn – Mary’s Story
In 1968 my elder son was two years old and I was expecting our second child. At about 29 weeks I noticed that I had not felt any movements from the baby for a few days. I was sent for an ultra sound check and told that the baby was dead. There had been no inkling up to then that anything was wrong so I was devastated. I was sent home to wait for the baby to be born naturally as apparently that was the “best thing for me”. Ten days later I went into labour in the early hours of the morning and was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. However, it was not the one at which it was planned I give birth and they did not have my records. I told the medical team that my baby was dead but initially they did not believe me. Michael was born very soon afterwards and was wrapped in a sheet and laid on my abdomen. I was not allowed to see him or hold him as he had been dead for nearly two weeks.

I was taken to the antenatal ward which of course was totally the wrong place for me. There was one young woman there, about to give birth, who did not want her baby and kept screaming for someone to take it. I was then moved to a single room. Unbelievably, the nurse in charge asked me if I was breast or bottle feeding! I never saw my baby. He was taken and buried in a communal grave for stillborn babies and I was told to “get on with my life”.
I was later told that Michael had died due to rhesus disease, incompatibility of the blood groups of his parents.

Just over 9 years later I was offered the chance of a possible successful birth with the baby being given blood transfusions in the womb. It sounded hopeful so I became pregnant and once the baby reached 30 weeks, the transfusions started. The first one appeared to be successful but my baby girl died from heart failure after the second one. Labour was induced and I gave birth to Carolyn after 23 hours. This time I was able to hold my dead child before she was taken away for some tests (with my permission) then also buried in a similar grave to her brother.
Losing this second much wanted child really hit me very hard and for a long time I was unable to meet friends with babies and would dive into a shop to avoid looking into prams.

To end on a good note, two years later I gave birth 6 weeks early by Caesarean Section to a healthy baby boy due to the wonders of plasmapheresis.
I am extremely grateful to have two healthy sons but will never forget the babies I carried for so many weeks but never took home.

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