This is not the story I ever imagined I would be writing. On Thursday 7th December 2017 at 4.15pm I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Quinn Clara Cadwallader and my whole world was torn apart.
It has been almost 4 weeks now since losing her and I wanted to share my story with you. I don’t feel ready to share my whole experience just yet. It is still so raw and sensitive. This doesn’t make for light reading and I don’t intend to upset or scare anyone, I just wanted to share my experiences and feelings from a day that I will never forget. A scar I will carry for the rest of my life. This is for you my angel, Quinn.
I had been in hospital for 4 days being induced, desperately waiting to meet my gorgeous baby. It was midnight on Thursday 7th December that the midwife came to take me up to delivery. I cannot explain the excitement I felt. I grabbed my phone to call Gavin to let him know to make his way to the hospital, collected my bags and went with the midwife into the lift up to delivery. She turned to me and said “How are you feeling?” I looked up at her and replied “I feel so excited and relieved. I have waited so long for this.” She smiled and took me through to the delivery room and I got onto the bed to be put onto the heart monitor (CTG scanner). She placed the transducer on to my tummy, but there was nothing. She carried on moving it round my stomach. I said “They usually pick the heartbeat up here.” Still nothing. She looked up at me and I knew from her eyes, in that instance that something was wrong. I kept thinking its ok. I felt a kick twice at 11.30pm. Gavin arrived and the midwife went to get a doctor to do a scan, to make sure everything was ok. The sonographer began to perform the usual ultrasound scan, but just stood there in silence. It felt like the longest few minutes of my life. I was staring at the screen. Where we should have seen her heart beating there was nothing. Finally the sonographer spoke and said “I’m sorry. There’s no heartbeat.” Those 5 words completely numbed me. I was in complete disbelief. This wasn’t real. It felt like a bad dream. We went back into the delivery room and I said to the midwife “Is there any way they have made a mistake?” She replied “No, she is a really experienced doctor.” I was clinging on to any last little bit of hope. Even when I delivered her I was waiting to hear her cry, but there was nothing. Only silence.
I didn’t have the easiest of labours and in the hours leading up to her delivery, I had every emotion possible. I was absolutely terrified and still in shock. I just kept saying “I want to go home.” I didn’t want to see her, I didn’t want to name her. I just wanted to go home. Looking back, I feel so guilty for saying that about my gorgeous baby girl, but I was just so scared. I was scared about seeing her. I was worried that the image of her would be branded in my mind and if I couldn’t handle it, I could never take that away. It was a coping mechanism for me. That all changed as soon as I saw her.
Once I held her in my arms I was completely overwhelmed with love. She was perfect. Every bit of her, right down to her little toes. I truly had given birth to an angel. An angel too beautiful for earth. I looked down at her begging for her to move and open her eyes. Tears running down my face, I kept repeating to her “I’m sorry baby girl. I’m so so sorry”.
Having to leave the hospital the following day was one of the hardest days. Not only was I in pain and exhausted from labour and from having a post-partum haemorrhage, I was leaving without my baby girl. I look back and remember lying in bed and stroking my tummy the night before having her. I said to her “Everything is fine. It’s ok. We will be going home soon”. Little did I know that wouldn’t be the case.
I got home and the whole place seemed foreign. I went upstairs to have a bath and I completely broke down. I said “I just want to bring her home. I want to look after her and feed her and cuddle her”. My maternal instinct were going into overdrive. I had such overwhelming feelings of wanting to look after her and care for her but there was nothing I could do. Quinn was gone and there was nothing in my powers that I could do to bring her back.
Every night I lie in bed crying to myself, reliving every minute. Tormented by the what if’s, why’s and how’s. 2018 is just around the corner and I can imagine that everyone will be thinking that I cannot wait to get this year out of the way, but that’s not true. 2017 was not the worst year for me. The worst thing I could ever imagine happened to me and it is something I will battle with for the rest of my life, but I have still got to meet my gorgeous little girl. I really hate the term ‘born still’ or ‘stillborn’. She was still born and she still lived and because of that I cannot say this was the worst year. Gavin and I created our beautiful Quinn and we were able to hold her in our arms. Nothing can take that away from us. For that I will be eternally grateful.
Gavin has been my absolute rock throughout this and it may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. I do not know what I would do without him. He has been so incredible and supportive throughout this and we have come out of it stronger than ever. I really do not know what I will do when he goes back to work! I am in such a state of limbo at the moment, to the point where I feel like I don’t even have an identity. I feel completely lost with no idea where to turn next. Just an emptiness. I should have been a mother. A role I cannot fulfil.
All I can say is that my whole perspective on life has completely changed and it makes you rethink everything you take for granted. Just last week a guy turned to me and said “Kids eh! Who’d have them?” To the average person that would be just a throw away comment. Just a light hearted comment that’s shrugged off and joked about. For me, it stuck. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do to have a daughter. To have my little girl here with us now. You look at people that palm their kids off on other people so that they can have a ‘break’ for the night. You have no idea what I would give to have one night with my baby girl.
Another thing I have realised is that in such tragedy, some people feel the need to use the situation for their own personal gain. This is not a piece of gossip, it is not something to be used to get sympathy, a competition on who can cry the most, who is more upset or to get your 5 minutes of fame. This is my life.
You quickly learn at times like these who your true friends are. Some who you were close to, that you have been through a lot with in life, that haven’t bothered to say a word. Then there are people you haven’t spoken to in years, who can’t say enough, who want to do everything they can for you. I completely understand that people don’t know what to say. It’s an awkward subject to broach, but I’m still a person. I’m still the Devan that you went to school with or met at work etc. You don’t have to say much. You don’t even have to mention anything on the subject at all, but to be ignored, when all you need is someone to say “I’m here” is the worst thing ever.
Having said that, I cannot thank my close friends and family enough. Their support has been incredible. To the point where I get texts every day asking if I’m ok. I know I’m rubbish at replying sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it gets ignored and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate knowing that you are there. You know who you are.
I want to give a special mention to everyone at the Shropshire Star, Gavin’s current employer and a former employer of mine. You have gone above and beyond and shown such amazing support to us both. We are so thankful for everything you have given us at this difficult time. Even just visiting us at home. It has meant the world to us.
The pain we are feeling will never go away. We are broken and our hearts will never be fixed. Hopefully getting some answers in the new year will help us to process what happened to Quinn. I apologise for the disarray of this post. I have just typed my thoughts with no planning or preparation, because I wanted to tell my story honest and true. Hopefully some people will find some comfort in this post, knowing that others have been through a similar experience. Know that you are not alone.
On Thursday 7th December 2017 at 4.15pm we became a family of three. We will never forget our beautiful little girl, Quinn Clara. You will always be in our hearts. Forever and always.