Wallasey mum reflects on her tragic loss as awareness-raising campaign gets underway (From Wirral Globe)
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Wallasey mum reflects on her tragic loss as awareness-raising campaign gets underway
12:12pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
WALLASEY mum Debbie Clark should be preparing for her daughter’s fourth birthday, but instead, she’s picking out flowers and teddy bears to lay on her tiny grave.
Four weeks away from giving birth to her first child, everything was ready for the impending arrival of Calleigh May Dolan, from the little booties to the pink Moses basket.
But Debbie and her partner never got to bring their baby home as what should’ve been the happiest moment of their lives turned into their worst nightmare.
To make their plight even more heart-wrenching the 31-year-old believes a flick of a switch would’ve been enough save the infant’s life, but in a cruel twist of fate, she was delivered stillborn.
Speaking on the anniversary of Calleigh’s death - and at the start of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - Debbie reflected on her pregnancy trauma in a bid to raise awareness and call for more support for other mums like herself.
She recalled: “I went to see the midwife at 32 weeks and was told I had high blood pressure and so I was sent off to hospital where I saw a consultant.
“He put me on medication in a bid to control it and I was to come back regularly for checks.
“At 34 weeks, my blood pressure was still really high so I was sent for a growth scan and was told the baby was a bit on the small side but not to worry too much.
“I was told that if it continued to be high, I would be induced at 35 weeks, but when I came back to hospital, the consultant was off so my medication was increased.”
The former Weatherhead High School pupil added: “While I was at home, the baby’s movements became really erratic as if she was in distress.
“Not long afterwards she seemed really quiet and I hadn’t felt her moving for a while.
“Suddenly I had the awful feeling then that something was wrong.”
At 36 weeks, Debbie went back to hospital and was sent for a scan when she was given the dreaded news that her baby had no heartbeat.
“At that moment, everything was a blur and I told the doctors I wanted her out before they had the chance to tell me to go home.
“They started my induction after I filled out all these horrible consent forms about the post mortem and what parts of my baby I wanted removing and what parts I didn’t.”
Days passed and there was still no sign of Debbie going into labour but almost a week later, her waters broke and at 5.50am on September 26, little Calleigh was delivered weighing just 3lb 13oz.
“It was really surreal holding a new born baby that was so silent,” said Debbie.
“Her little hands were still pink, she looked so perfect.”
A post mortem revealed that Calleigh died of interuterine growth restriction, which occurs when the placenta stops functioning.
Since the tragedy, Debbie has gone on to have two more healthy children, Isla, aged two and 15-month-old Nancy.
“When I was pregnant with Isla and Nancy, I was so scared of the same thing happening again but the doctors assured me that it wouldn’t and carried out doppler scans to check on their growth.
“All it is is the flick of a switch - the same as a normal scan but literally another button being pressed that gives medics a lot more information about the baby.
“I just don’t understand why these things can’t be done as routine.”
After undergoing the devastating task of decorating Calleigh’s little headstone with birthday balloons and trinkets last week, Debbie said: “Every time I go to the cemetery, there is another tiny little plot there shortly followed by a headstone that reads ‘born sleeping,’ it’s heartbreaking.
“That’s why I think Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is so important to help and support mums who’ve gone through what I have.”
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