Charlotte Smith shares the story of her son Finley, who died due to lack of oxygen to the brain during birth.
We found out we were pregnant and expecting our 2nd baby in May 2017. We were completely overjoyed. It took us 4 years of trying and a round of IVF to fall pregnant with our first son. Then as a complete shock, 9 months after Luca was born, we were pregnant again with our 2nd little miracle.
At 41+1 weeks, on the 19 January 2018, I went into labour naturally. My midwife came over in the afternoon for a routine appointment and I mentioned some pain I was having. She confirmed I was 4cm dilated, baby was doing fine and that we needed to go to hospital. We were so excited to know that we soon we would be meeting our baby.
We arrived at hospital and things started to progress quickly. Approximately 3 hours later, the midwife said to me ‘one last push and we will pass your baby up to you’. There was no indication that anything was wrong. Finley William Smith was born at 9.41pm weighing a perfect 7lb and 4 oz but with no signs of life. The alarm bells were pressed and a team tried to resuscitate him for half an hour. However, it was too late. Our little man had already grown his wings.
We were in complete and utter shock and disbelief. How could a very straightforward labour with a perfectly healthy baby end in this way?
We have had our post mortem and investigation results, which confirmed that Finley died of acute asphyxiation. He was starved of oxygen. The hospital has admitted lack of care. Our newly qualified midwife failed to identify his signs of distress. She had taken his heart rate readings using the doppler, however she had not followed national guidelines on the frequency of these and nor did she fully understand the abnormal peaks and dips of his little heart. He was showing signs of distress, per the heart rate readings, however for 1 hour and 50 minutes she failed to act and intervene in the labour.
Two senior midwifes came into the room at various points during this time, and both also failed to look at these heart rate readings or question the birth plan of our midwife. If one of these midwives had acknowledged Finley’s distress, they could have gotten him out quicker and the likelihood is he would be here today. We trust these professionals to deliver our babies safely and they fail with the most basic of procedures and guidelines.
We are completely heartbroken, our baby boy should be here and living his life with his family. We feel like our life now continues with a massive missing piece, our beautiful perfect boy Finley will forever be missed and forever loved.
Each Baby Counts is a project that is so important in ensuring that these unnecessary baby deaths do not continue. We have a good healthcare system in place, yet we fail at providing the most basic level of care when it comes to monitoring our babies in labour.
Charlotte Smith has set up a charity with her husband Robert, in memory of Finley. The charity Forever Finley provides bereaved parents with free hand and feet castings of their babies.