Saturday 20th September We went to hospital to get checked out as we werent sure if my waters were trickling or not. While I was there I had an internal to check, waters were fine and the check showed my cervix was very posterior, very thick and very closed. Thus meaning it wasnt even trying to get ready for labour. Thursday 2nd October Wed went into hospital very very early in the morning because Id been having pains, and as they do, they hook you up to a machine, checking babys heart rate, checking for contractions and your blood pressure. They gave me an internal to check the state of the cervix again, immediately I lost my mucus plug and then started bleeding, which we had assumed were my colours going. This bleeding continued from the time we got home which was 6am, until I went to hospital the next day. Evening/Night Time came and I had been in total agony for 7 days by this time, and had already been to hospital in the morning, so I rang the hospital again, complaining of agony, they said because I was low risk pregnancy just to stay at home and not go in. The pain I was in was unbearable but I stayed at home. I had explained that my colours etc had gone after the internal. Friday 3rd October Rang hospital on the night complaining of agony, which had only gotten worse, told them out right I was not coping and went in to get checked out. They said just to bring my hand held notes, so we did. They took me in and hooked me up to the machine as usual, to measure contractions and baby's heart rate and left the room. I was writhing around on the bed, completely out of it with pain, Matt was trying to help keep me calm with breathing techniques that the Midwives were telling him to use, telling him to stand to the side of me and rub my shoulders to try and get me to relax them. The pain, Ill never forget, Ive never felt pain like it, I knew something was wrong because wed already found out my cervix wasnt playing ball so to speak. We had our doubts about this being labour, as a week prior Id had an internal exam, which showed my cervix was shut. Id been hooked up to the machine for just a few mins when Jessicas heart stopped, but with no staff there to witness. This is where things sped up, everything went into fast forward. Matt shot outside to find someone to tell them the machine was beeping like mad. The Midwife came running in, called in the Surgeon, he looked at the chart, saw it and immediately Jessicas heart rate went off the chart again, within a second he said "we need this baby out now, emergency cat 1 c-section"... I was prepped and in theatre in mins. It literally only took a matter of mins from the Surgeon saying C-Section to me being in there having one. Matt ran out of the room to ring my Dad who he couldnt get hold of. In the short time Matt was outside on the phone I had from what I remember, about 5 members of staff around me in the bed, I was having things put in the back of my hand, signing forms to say it was alright to knock me out, as with Cat 1 Sections you have to be unconscious, and because Jessica had no heartbeat, this was necessary. I had the anaesthetist on the left hand side of me explaining what would happen to me whilst other people were stripping my clothes off and pulling a robe thing round me. I had someone between my legs putting a catheter in. You understand this all happened in mins. I was walked down to theatre carrying my catheter, shaking like a leaf, a total wreck having still not seen Matthew as he was still on the phone again, that shows how fast this happened. So I was in theatre, sat on the bed having everything explained to me while the staff were preparing everything they needed. I was still on the monitor and Jessicas heart rate slowly started creeping back up, very slowly mind. But this meant I no longer had to be unconscious, I was allowed to be awake. I was given the epidural into my spine. I was pretty out of it so just lying there looking around as I couldnt see what was going on with being covered by a sheet thing up to my chin, I kept asking where Matthew was, if he was coming and just generally wanting him by my side. They said he was busy getting changed and would be in very soon. I looked above my head at people standing in scrubs and genuinely didnt recognise Matthew standing there all in green. He sat down next to me stroking my hair asking if I was ok and telling me he loved me. I felt a lot more calm with him there for some reason, just with his hand on my head and feeling his touch, I felt secure. He never looked over the sheet during the section, as he was pale as it is, he was terrified himself. The first time they mentioned the section he was a total wreck, totally nervous, panicking and everything. Baby was delivered at 23.38 on Friday October 3rd, she had to be resuscitated immediately as her heart had already stopped when she was in my tummy, we had already lost her when that happened. No one said a word as Jessica was delivered because of this, however they managed to resuscitate her and we heard her make a noise, 4 times. I dont think well ever forget hearing her little voice. As soon as this happened the Surgeon leaned over and said Congratulations, we looked at each other and smiled and said we loved each other. I said youre a Dad and Matthew was just staring into my eyes smiling back, still stroking my head. She was a very poorly little girl, had the cord round her neck and had opened her bowels a few days PRIOR to us going to hospital, this was the reason for the total agony I was in, not labour. There was very very little fluid, it was mostly meconium. Shortly after she made the noise the Midwife came dashing over saying Ill show you baby quickly and flashed her face at us then ran off with her, taking her up to Special Care upstairs. After Id been treat for infection and had the meconium cleaned out of me and was stitched back up, we were taken back down to the room we were initially in and we were told youll be able to see baby within the next hour Great we thought, fantastic, we couldnt wait. Matt was talking about his shift at work on the Saturday and getting it covered and time off. We were discussing the visiting times so he could come back in the morning and see his little family, we were so happy. He was even saying how he could go to the pub on the Sunday night with his mates for a drink to celebrate. Everything was perfect, we had our little girl. We now understood WHY people would go back and have more than one child, its for that instant when theyre born and you just hear them, that instant feeling of endless love that comes from nowhere on earth. The 9 months of hell was instantly forgotten, it didnt matter, it wasnt a factor, Id do it for twice as long just to have that feeling again. (Not that we would dream of even trying to replace Jessica cant be done). The hour passed, we were told maybe another 20mins. The 20mins passed, then 2 hours passed. Time kept passing and we realised something wasnt right. It got to about 04:00 and the consultant (paediatrician) came down to see us with staff from Special Care, where he went on to say she is a very poorly little girl, we are doing everything we can for her My heart had just been sliced in two with an axe. We have the top doctors from the RVI here trying to save her, theyre working on her round the clock, we have to transfer baby to the RVI for the treatment she needs. He went on to explain they had an ambulance ready for Jessica, and all they needed to do was stabilize her so they could get her into the incubator and across to Newcastle RVI. South Shields didnt have the equipment for a baby this ill. Theyd said I wouldnt see Jessica for a few days while she was in Newcastle, which was terrifying, I just wanted to be next to my baby and to be able to cuddle her and make everything better, but with all the love in the world I was still totally useless. My Midwife saw how I upset I was and she came back in once the Doctor had left saying shed been on to the RVI and would I want a place on a Post Natal ward there so I could be around Jessica, obviously I replied saying I wanted to be close to her if possible And so it was arranged, as soon as Jessica was stable, shed be taken to the RVI and I would follow over a few hours later. The Midwife left the room. About 06:40 came and the Midwife came back in saying we could go up and see Jessica soon but to understand she was on a lot of machines, with a lot of wires and lots of people around her. We just wanted to see our little girl. The pain I was in after the C-Section wasnt even bothering me, I clambered out of bed and into a wheelchair, I just wanted to get to my baby so desperately. We were taken up to Special Care and as soon as we went through the doors, we saw people, everywhere, lots of doctors, nurses, midwives, consultants, all around, all working. Then we saw her, lying on her back, lifeless on a machine with all the wires, things down her nose and throat. The most perfect, innocent and gorgeous little thing wed ever seen in our lives, my heart sank and I was pouring my heart out, my poor baby girl was NOT well, and it was NOT a dream, nor was it the drugs from the section. This was very, very real now and it HURT. I stretched my hand out, scared to touch her, not sure if I was allowed to, and touched the back of her hand with my left index finger, she was warm, but there was no reaction. I just sat stroking the back of her hand, with Matthew standing over us, his hand on the back of my shoulder, hugging me occasionally. He was staying so strong, he hadnt cried but the hurt was in his eyes, like Id never seen before. I got a bit more brave and put the tip of my finger inside her little fist, again there was no reaction, nothing, but she was still perfect. Her skin was immaculate, she was so different to what wed expected from the scans, on scans shed shown as chubby with chubby cheeks. In front of us she was a lovely, slim, tall baby. I was watching her heart rate on the machine and whispered to Matthew her heart rate is going down, and we watched it go down. It slowly started creeping back up, very slowly indeed. We took our eyes off the machine and back to Jessica. The lady from the RVI dashed over and put her stethoscope on the left of Jessicas chest, then moved it quickly to the right. The heart rate is gone! Lets get Mam out of the room, get Mam out of the room! There was staff everywhere, I could barely see for tears and now Matthew who was being so strong had completely lost it, he was beside himself. We were rushed into another room, pouring our hearts out, he was kneeling in front of my wheelchair holding my hands, both crying so hard. I said If ever theres a time to be religious Matthew its now and I prayed and prayed and prayed, please God dont let my baby die. The door opened I think you need to see your baby now and we were rushed back to the room. I cant find words enough to describe the feelings we had going on and the total mess we were in. The staff were around her all working, the lady from the RVI was trying to manually resuscitate her with her hands, rubbing her chest and saying to me This is where we have to stop Sarah, we have to stop now. NO! Dont stop! PLEASE dont stop! I was shouting, blood curdling yells of No! No! No! Then it happened, that split second where I looked straight into the eyes of RVI lady, and she looked straight into mine, and I nodded. She lay Jessica back down, the time of death of 07:17 was announced. It was over, wed lost our little angel to a better world. I was asked if I wanted to hold her, they took the things out of her chest and nose and passed her to me in a blanket, I was beyond help, looking at my dead little girl knowing I couldnt save her, Id never see her grow up, or hear her shout Daddy! when he came home from work one day. All the things that happen on a daily basis to others, it wasnt going to happen anymore, and it felt wrong on so many levels. Holding her, looking at her, I genuinely dont have words to describe this feeling. The feeling that was made worse when blood was pouring from her nose and mouth in my arms, as if knowing she wasnt alive wasnt enough, we had to see just how ill she really was. This was the blood that was in her lungs. We were asked if we wanted her baptised, to which we said yes Please understand, none of this was calm, or rational, this was all absolute terror, tears and crying, sobbing non stop. The type you see in movies. It actually happens in real life. The chaplain Jennifer Lake came up to see us, and asked us her name. We looked at each other and said Jessica Charlotte Reay. We hadnt even had time to name her, when we were discussing it in the room downstairs Matt had said well weve got 6 weeks to register her name, so we dont have to rush it Well, now we did. But wed already said we didnt think she looked like a Charlotte, more a Jessica. So we knew somewhere deep down, she was Jessica Charlotte Reay, daughter of Matthew Thomas Reay and Sarah Tuck. And the best thing that had ever happened to either of us. Jennifer baptised Jessie for us, while she was in Matts arms. I wanted him to hold her while she was baptised, the whole time we were breaking our hearts and I was just staring at the two people I loved more than life itself, seeing them both broken. Our little family that had been perfect just 7 hours earlier, smashed to pieces in an instant, irreplaceable, unable to be repaired. They gave us time with Jessica and then took us back downstairs into a different room. Room 9 on the Delivery Suite. The lonely door that stands on its own to the left of the reception desk as you enter. I was put into bed there while we waited for Jessica to be brought down to us. We were told we could dress her. Matthew passed my hospital bag over with all of Jessicas clothes in, the sensible tracksuit Id packed with her supposed to be a September baby, in case it was cold outside when we took her home. So I didnt want to pack a pretty dress. I was sorting through the clothes, deciding on baby grows and crying to Matt saying Do I put a baby grow on her to keep her warm under her top?, then you think, she cant feel anything, and cry even harder. Our midwife for the day Keely came in, introducing herself carrying Jessica in a moses basket and placing the basket inside the crib next to me. She asked if I wanted to dress her, or if I wanted her to. We were still crying, we hadnt stopped, I asked her how to dress Jessica, what clothes to use, socks etc. She said You dress her like you would if it were any other day So I did, I picked the clothes, baby grow, socks, booties and hat and asked Keely to dress Jessica, I was scared in case I hurt her. The whole of the Saturday was filled with tears and us tightly holding our baby girl, talking to her for hours, telling her how much we loved and missed her and how beautiful she was. Promising to get married, so Mammy could have the same name as her daughter. Daddy telling her that Jessica will always be number one. We had lots of visitors, family coming to see us, every last person in tears, absolutely beside themselves. Saturday was a very long day. Friday was the best day in our lives, the day our daughter was born, Saturday was the worst day in our lives, there can be nothing worse than that to come. Sunday 5th October - We had a lovely day with Jessica, we got up at 7am, and they brought Jessica to us. We had to send her to the mortuary on a night as she had to be kept cold to stop her from deteriorating. This was hard for us, the thought of our little girl, so cold, so lonely in a bloody freezer without even a teddy bear for company. But, we had to do it. Sunday we spent acting like a proper family, just as if our baby girl was sleeping, we sat and ate with her next to us in her crib. I had to get up and about that day to try and get myself better, so I had to go in the bath, where Matt ran the bath for me and I asked if he was gonna keep me company and he said "I'm gonna keep an eye on the bairn". We picked her up, had lots of hugs. We just wanted ONE day where we could TRY and be a proper family, and have some happy photos of us and our little girl. It wasn't all sad, we love her very much and we LOVE the fact that we have a daughter together and she's so perfect. Just because she doesn't play in the same playground as other peoples children, it doesn't make us any less "Parents" than anyone else. We have a daughter, she's just asleep. I can't describe the Sunday very well, because its something you won't understand unless you've lost a child and done it. It was such a lovely day, we just enjoyed our time with Jessica. Genuinely enjoyed it. Ok, we didn't feed her, change her nappy, hear her cry. But we cuddled her, kissed her lots, snuggled up together as a family on the sofa, slept next to her. Tried to do the things we could STILL do with her, even though she was asleep. We played music to her and cried so hard. We played : Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven (CLICK) Sarah Brightman - Time To Say Goodbye (CLICK) Madonna - Dear Jessie (CLICK FOR SONG) PLEASE READ THE LYRICS FOR MADONNA DEAR JESSIE HERE - THERE IS A REASON WE PLAYED IT But don't get me wrong, we are in no way happy. We just knew we had one day, and one day only, to pretend everything was ok, so we did, we pretended and literally played happy families. As a result we have hundreds of photos of our family. Matt fell asleep next to Jessica and I just stood and recorded a 2 min video of them asleep together. So when he feels ready he can see it and say he got to fall asleep with his little girl. We never got to see her when she was alive, we never got a photo of her before she fell asleep, we never got to see her with her eyes open, we dont know what colour eyes our daughter has and never will. ------------------------------------------- This little angel had touched so many lives in the short time she was with us. -------------------------------------------- There are still bits and pieces missed out of this story, there is so much to tell and not enough words to describe what happened well enough. Her name is Jessica Charlotte Reay. She was with us for 459 mins and this is her story.