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Phoebe’s story

Phoebe's storyLisa and Lee Armstrong share their daughter Phoebe’s story in support of the Each Baby Counts project.

On the 24th February 2014 I was 40+4 weeks pregnant, I awoke at approximately 5am having strong contractions. Phoebe was our second child and as my contractions progressively became more intense I knew I had to get to the hospital. On arrival I was examined, found to be 8cm dilated and placed on what I now know as the low-risk pathway. An hour and a half after I was admitted, the initial midwife who was looking after me was replaced by a second midwife and she was accompanied by a student midwife.

My labour was progressing well until during a routine check carried out by the student midwife, no fetal heartbeat could be found. 25 minutes later Phoebe was born via emergency forceps delivery. Phoebe was resuscitated but had suffered severe HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy). Five days later my husband and I had to make the agonising decision to turn off Phoebe's life support machine and Phoebe passed away in our arms.

Following investigations and an inquest, the below failures in my care were identified:

  • Failure to carry out intermittent monitoring correctly - recording the fetal heartbeat range as opposed to the actual heartbeat
  • Failure to recognise I was in the second stage of labour and therefore begin monitoring every five minutes as opposed to every 15 minutes
  • Letting an inexperienced student midwife carry out some of the monitoring whilst unsupervised
  • Leaving an inexperienced student midwife alone with me for long periods of time at critical stages of labour

The loss of Phoebe was devastating and there will always be a part of our family missing. Phoebe was a longed for daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece; each one of us has had to learn to live with this loss but hopefully by sharing our experience and supporting the Each Baby Counts programme we can prevent another family enduring the same tragedy.