When Betty died, I know how much everyone’s hearts ached for us – at first I was sad, then I felt numb, then the anger came, then the blame, then the sadness, then the anger again, then I began to realise I had to accept it, it wasn’t going to change. BUT I WANTED HER BACK. But no matter how many times people said, I’m so sorry or they cried for me/with me I just wished they could help me to change what had happened. They couldn’t. There was no bringing her back. EVER. She was gone. I hated that.
Deep down I just thought they were all just happy it wasn’t them, it began to feel like the only people I could turn to were the ones who had had it happen to them. But there weren’t many that I knew. Who do you turn to? What do you do? The worst thing was it felt like this was going to be just the start of our fight for Betty, it was, it still is. We have a long way to go before I will ever accept what happened to us was an accident. It wasn’t. I will not accept that. Sometimes things do happen – the consultant providing us with the investigation results said it was ‘a tragic accident’. Maybe. Maybe not. She died in October we then had to spend 3 long months waiting to find out the results of her post mortem. It was inconclusive. No answers, just so many more questions. The ones we had spent all that time going over and over were still there, but this time there were more to accompany them.
I don’t know if I will ever be able to accept that – I am having to fight hard not to think about it, yet I know I have to because it doesn’t help things to dwell on negativity but sometimes you have to. Sometimes it feels like there is no other way and sometimes you need to go through that to help yourself. I think I do. I can honestly say I don’t think there is a day that has gone by since October 17th 2015 that I havn’t thought about what happened to Betty, thought about an area of the investigation in to her death, the night she died, the week leading up to it. In fact it brought into question my whole pregnancy, what did I miss – I would get a sign if my baby was going to die, I would know, I would see it coming, I didn’t, it hit me so hard, I think I might actually still be in shock! Did that actually happen to me? To my family?
A recent report published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, ‘Each Baby Counts’ (first report) (https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/press-release-over-a-quarter-of-local-investigations-into-stillbirths-neonatal-deaths-and-severe-brain-injuries-are-not-good-enough-says-rcog-report/) has given me more insight and made me realise what I already suspected, that our case was not investigated comprehensively. In my opinion, an investigation after a child has died should be conducted by an external team – it should in no way involve members of staff who had colleagues directly or indirectly involved in the care of a patient who died whilst under the hospitals care, in our case Betty. I cannot and will not accept that my child’s death was ‘a tragic accident’. There were factors that contributed and people were, in my opinion, until I can be shown otherwise, complacent and haphazard when it came to our care. Guidelines are there for a reason, if they are not being adhered to then there is a level of negligence, surely that is clear cut.
I do not want others to go through what we went through. I know they will, but I want to do my best to prevent other families receiving the poor level of care we did. I want Betty’s case to be used as an example in the hospital to remind people to follow procedure and more importantly the ‘NICE’ guidelines. In 2016 it is not acceptable that 11 babies die a day from being stillborn. We should be able to prevent this. What am I going to do? To be honest right now I am not sure – I feel like a small fish swimming in a big ocean and it’s very daunting, I don’t know who I can turn to, but every day I am getting a little bit closer to helping myself and getting justice for Betty. I won’t let this consume our lives but equally I will not give up. She was our baby girl and a mothers love is not one to be reckoned with.
I know I might sound crazy, bitter, unreasonable. But, at the end of the day I lost someone I love and if we can’t fight for the ones we love then what is there left to fight for?