Rebecca Ponchard shares the story of her daughter Ruby who died during labour, in support of the Each Baby Counts project.
On the 6th of November 2013 at 00:10, our beautiful daughter Ruby was born after an emergency caesarean section. What was supposed to be one of the happiest moments of our lives became the most horrific as we were told that tragically she had been born still. I was 9cm dilated when the emergency was called at 23:50 after they saw that I had bled. Within only 20 minutes from that time, our entire world would be ripped apart.
As Ruby’s death was classified as an ‘intrapartum stillbirth’ (meaning she died during labour and did not take a breath), she was not entitled to a coroner’s inquest. Both Ruby and I had been healthy upon arrival to the birthing suite some 6 hours prior. The hospital conducted their own internal investigation that we felt was inadequate. This resulted in us having to co-ordinate our own investigation into our daughter’s death. Through the Campaign for Safer Births we were able to find a solicitor and only with their support, did the hospital finally admit to negligence. At the end of 2016, the hospital acknowledged that Ruby’s heart rate was not monitored in line with NICE guidelines and this resulted in her death. Opportunities to detect that she was in distress were missed over the 45 minutes prior to the emergency being called. Although it is devastating to know that her death was preventable, this has gone someway to explain what happened. However, we continue to have many unanswered questions related to how this was allowed to happen.
This is why RCOG’s ‘Each Baby Counts Project’ is important, so that other families do not have to experience this needless pain and anguish. If the recommendations published in the Each Baby Counts full 2015 report had been available and followed at the time of Ruby’s birth, it is possible that she would have survived.
Ruby Louisa Adefunke Davies was an incredibly precious and important life. She was our very much wanted and loved baby girl. Her loss has had the most profound impact on all of our lives. We continue to do everything we can to honour her every day.