Kym Field shares her son Alfie's story, in support of the Each Baby Counts project.
On 19th December 2015, I went into hospital to be induced after my waters had broken but active labour hadn’t followed. I was able to start the syntocinon drip straight away. Leaving the house we were so full of excitement and anticipation to meet the baby we had waited nine months to meet and start our brand new life together. Two doctors and a consultant were in and out of the room towards the end of my labour but we were unclear why.
At 12.33pm, the moment we had waited nine months for arrived. To meet our baby. But we didn’t get to meet our baby. As soon as he was born he was handed to paediatric doctors. Silence. Panic. I remember thinking “he’s not crying, he’s not crying” but there was nothing I could do. “Maybe he will cry soon” I thought. He didn’t. He was briefly shown to us and whisked away. He will be there when I get back from theatre, having cuddles with daddy, I thought. I hoped. He wasn’t. A NICU (neonatal intensive care) nurse came to visit us. “He’s very poorly, we should arrange a christening” she said. What? Why? We didn’t understand. We came into the hospital with a perfectly healthy baby and now, less than 12 hours after his birth, we were planning his christening.
He was perfect in every way, despite all the scary looking machines and monitors. Instantly we fell madly in love. The next morning we were told there was nothing more they could do for our perfect baby boy, who was the image of his father. Details were sparse but we were told he had no brain activity. We had to say goodbye before we even had chance to say hello. It was, to this day, the hardest thing we have ever had to do. Instead of organising a date for family to come and meet our perfect new bundle, we arranged his funeral.
I can only describe the days, weeks and months that followed without answers as a blur of somehow keeping ourselves alive when everything inside us felt dead. Sleepless nights still happened, but we were kept awake by the deafening silence of the home we had created for our baby boy. After three months of going round and round every eventuality in our head we found out: “the root cause of the incident was that Alfie’s CTG trace was misinterpreted during your labour”. Our baby’s death was down to a collection of errors and negligence. He was our perfectly healthy boy until a few hours before he was born when he was showing all the signs of struggling but this was simply not interpreted correctly. Many opportunities were missed. Hospital meetings and the inquest passed in a blur. All we wanted was our precious perfect baby in our arms.
One thing was for sure, we had to do everything we could to ensure no one else found themselves in our situation, or those who did had support in place. After raising £10,000 for charity, we later discovered Each Baby Counts. Finally, someone who acknowledged that mistakes happen and work together to ensure they are learnt from. No family should ever have to go through what we have and the commitment of a 50% reduction of unnecessary loss of life by 2020 is incredible. Life is very different for us these days, uncertainty and unease fill our days but together we take each day as it comes. We would change the outcome of Alfie’s birth a million times over but we have learnt it is better to have known him how we did, along with all the pain and heartache, than to have never have known him at all.