In 2011, we were overjoyed to discover that we were expecting our second child, and waited anxiously for the magic twelve week point before announcing our news. Of course, even after 12 weeks, things can still go wrong, but despite our worries - and a few extra trips to the hospital - all seemed to be going well.
At the 20 week scan, we learnt that we were having a boy! A baby brother for our then three year old daughter. She was so excited, and like us, couldn't wait to meet him. She planned all the things she wanted to teach him; to walk, to talk, to eat and play with her toys. We felt so proud to see her growing into her role as 'the best big sister - ever'. She even made some suggestions as we tried to think of the perfect name.
Towards the end of the pregnancy, we had plenty of appointments to check both my health, and that of our son, including extra scans to check his growth. Whenever she heard his heartbeat or saw him on screen, her face was such a joy to see, and of course, we were thrilled whenever we had another chance to connect with him.
On Easter Sunday, I started to feel contractions (at church - eeeep!). We spent the day timing them and when it felt right to do so, made our way to the local Birth Centre. Again, they checked my blood pressure and listened to his heartbeat, and all was well; but I wasn't dilated enough, so we went home. The next day, we tried to stay patient as we waited for the contractions to pick up again, and finally, around midnight, it was clear that things had changed and we were close to meeting our son. Again, we headed up to the Birth Centre, where I was examined, and as I thought, things had progressed enough, and I was in established labour. Then, they listened for his heartbeat.
After a few unsuccessful attempts, the midwife asked her colleague to have a go, whilst she called an ambulance to blue light us to Pembury Hospital 30 minutes away. Throughout the journey, I prayed like I never have before. When we arrived on the labour ward, my husband and a close friend were waiting for me. I had fully dilated during the journey and delivered quickly, just a couple of pushes and he was born. He was taken away for resus, and the next 15 minutes were the longest of our lives. Our friend had seen that the cord was knotted, and she prepared us for what we were about to hear, but when we heard that they were stopping resus, it felt totally unreal.
Over the next few days, both our families and ourselves spent as much time as we could with our son, who we named Benedict John Peanut. We were lucky that Pembury Hospital has a dedicated suite, the Hope Butler Suite, available for situations like ours. In fact, it is the only hospital in the country that has a dedicated suite from the planning stages. The staff at Pembury were amazing, and supported us through every stage of our horrible, difficult time there.
Sands provide funding for the Hope Butler Suite and for memory boxes, one of which we received, as well as training and support for staff. We benefitted greatly from their work and are raising money for the local Tunbridge Wells Sands group in our son's memory. We attend the monthly support group, and have benefitted hugely from going.
All test results were clear or inconclusive - so far, we have no clear reason for our sons death, other than the knotted cord, which may not have been the main cause.
Thank you for coming to visit the page. We hope you find something that takes your fancy - the lots up for auction are amazing and we are so grateful for everyone's support and hard-work in helping us as we raise money for this vital charity.
John and Lucie Yoxall. x