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My Plea:

My Name is Kirsty and I am Louis’ mammy, and founding trustee of 4Louis. This is Louis’ story.

April 6th 2009 I visited my GP with a migraine and was told after 3 pregnancy tests that I was pregnant, I couldn’t believe it. All emotions hit me in the following 5 minutes, scared, excited, worried and happy. I called my partner in fear of what he was going to say, “Oh, ok…. Well… erm… so….” I went off to my mums, after agreeing with Michael that we would let everyone know together, to try and sleep off my migraine. The excitement was too much and I couldn’t sleep so I shouted my mum up and told her of the exciting news. She was over the moon and so excited for me, and couldn’t wait for me to tell my dad.

I went home to meet Michael so we could tell his mum and dad our fantastic news. “Your going to be grandparents!” they couldn’t believe it but were really happy for us. By the next morning everyone knew I was pregnant and Peanut the Facebook baby hit everyone’s computer screens. Everyone was really excited and happy for us both and followed everything through out my pregnancy.

We all first met baby Peanut 22nd April 2009 when we had our first scan to find out I was 14 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I loved every minute of seeing my tiny baby on the screen moving about and could not believe that we had created a tiny life that was now growing inside of me. A name we needed a name, for a boy we decided on Louis Robert Joseph and for a girl… well… we could not find one we liked but plenty of time for thinking of names still.

Things then started to happen, my bump grew bigger, butterflies at first as peanut started to move, then it was kicks, punches and jumps. Very quickly we started to get ourselves organised moving our stuff out of our wardrobe and even our bedroom, too make space for all the clothes, nappies, wipes ect… that we started to buy in for Baby Peanut.

August 5th 2009 I went for my 20 week scan, we were so excited we were going to find out Peanuts sex, and the baby would be getting measurements taken. However the midwife could not get baby peanuts measurements but she confirmed baby peanut was a little boy. Our baby Louis Robert Joseph I returned twice more before baby Louis’ measurements could be taken.

Louis could now been seen moving never mind felt, you could see him move from one side to the other, hit and kick me it was the best feeling ever to feel this tiny life inside of me move. Time to get my own house and decorate Louis’ nursery. Whiney the Pooh themed mural that took two weeks by my mum and I too complete cot up, clothes in the wardrobe ready just to bring Louis straight home. The excitement started the weeks passed by so quickly, and the countdown began 89 days… 54 days… 20 days…

On the 6th December 2009 while out for tea with friends things started to go wrong, I stood up and the pains started. “Labour? I’m I actually going into labour!” . as directed by my midwife I took two paracetamol and had a hot bath. By morning the pains had not subsided. After trying to contact the midwives many times it was a trip to the hospital with my mum and Michael. We sat in the Maternity Day Care Unit waiting for a midwife to come and see us, while we sat there the we could hear the heart beats of all the babies around us. We were going to here baby Louis heart beat, the gel was cold on my belly, and she started to search… Silence…. I looked at my mum, and my heart sank, where was the thump thump thump of Louis heart beat?!? The midwife bustled off and came with another monitor and yet again… Silence…

We were ushered off in to a side room where we waited for the doctor to come and do a scan to find Louis beat… “I’m sorry… But he has gone…”
“NO NOT MY BABY BOY!”

Michael fell on to the bed and was silent… while my mum fell to the floor screaming, I had to get out I just wanted to smash the room up, scream and shout!!! Out side Michael called his mum “We’ve lost Louis”
“Your joking!” the voice said on the other side,
I tried to call Michaels dad “hello…”
“Paul..” I said through tears and fell to the floor, Michael took the phone from me and let his dad know that our little boy had died.

Back at my mums we waited for Michaels mum and dad, we were all in tears and just could not make sense as to why this had happened to us! Things like this just don’t happen anymore! The next day we returned to the hospital were we were told what was going to happen and I was giving a tablet and asked to return on Thursday.

Thursday 10th December 2009 at 8am I returned to Sunderland hospital not knowing what to expect… today is to be the day we will meet our little boy but will also have to say good bye. We were led to a delivery room, at the furthest end of the corridor, myself Michael, my mum and dad and Michaels mum and dad got our selves comfortable and waited to meet Louis. At 2:10pm I went in to full blown labour… I was giving large amounts of morphine and Gas and Air, which sent me really high, to the point where I didn’t know where I was or what was happening. At 6:18pm I delivered out beautiful little boy Louis, he was so perfect we couldn’t understand why this had happened. We took lots of pictures of Louis, took ink prints and clay impressions of his tiny hands and feet, dressed him in loads of little outfits. We all loved spending time with our little angel. For all this was a sad time the joy of meeting our little boy took over the grief we all felt for his death,

Friday we took Louis home to my mums, where he met all our close family and friends, we took more photos. My dad even took Louis to the Stadium of Light like he had always promised. We headed off to the hospital to say our goodbye and have our last kisses and cuddles with Louis.

The next 12 days were the worst just waiting, to lay baby Louis to rest and finally on the 22nd December we help a Tigger themed cremation where every one wore something orange and we set off orange balloons even his casket was Winney the pooh themed with beautiful pictures of Winney the pooh and friends playing on the clouds. The service was beautiful, with a reading of a poem by my dad, and a reading written by Michaels mum carol, the memories she has of me been pregnant with Louis. We could not believe the support we received from family, and friends..

We requested donations instead of flowers at Louis funeral and this give us the base for 4Louis, we started to develop our boxes and ideas for our fundraising. We set up our Facebook page and our website, and watched as 4Louis grew and the awareness of such a taboo subject rapidly spread across Facebook.

The next month was hard coming to terms with the death of Louis, we worked hard to not let it come between us, and it made our relationship stronger as we talked a lot more, and actually spent a lot more time together than we had in a long time, we even spent lots of time with our parents too.

Miscarriage or the death of a baby or child is not a rare occurrence. Every day in the UK around 15 babies die before, during or soon after birth. 1 in 4 pregnancies sadly end before the reach 12 weeks.

It’s heartbreaking to imagine that a lack of recourses available reduce the precious memories and keepsakes captured in the short time the family spend with their baby or child. Or that having no dedicated bereavement rooms on hospital wards means mums and dads have to spend precious time with their baby or child before they have to say goodbye in a normal hospital room surrounded by unsuitable adverts on the walls and the sounds of a busy ward with the sounds of babies and children around them.

Or that gaps in training for health professionals due to funding means families are not receiving acceptable care during such a traumatic time.

4Louis is a UK charity that works across the country to support anyone affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and the death of a baby or child. We also work to improve the care bereaved families receive from health care and other professionals.

4Louis was founded by Louis’ family in 2009 who found that there was very little access to support and memory making following Louis been stillborn at 38weeks gestation. Since then 4Louis has grown, but parents who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, baby or child death are still at the core of everything we do.

We provide staff the tools and equipment to provide excellent care to these bereaved families by prompting them to offer the opportunity to capture precious memories, take special photos and giving the families extra time to spend with their baby or child in a safe comfortable environment.

We have funded many study days for trusts across the UK and even funded for individual health care professionals to attend conferences, study days and courses to help improve their knowledge and approach to these families.

What others have said:

This began as a small family run charity that is having a huge positive impact upon the baby loss community. The charity is growing rapidly and offers valuable support for both parents and professionals. The charity provides a selection of memory boxes which range from stillborn babies right up to children aged 16 years. The charity also offers a selection of moses baskets and will happily fund a range of equipment for hospitals which includes cold units, cameras and access to training. Recently I was privileged to meet Kirsty’s parents talk at a local bereavement conference for professionals. Their story was extremely emotive and poignant! Their passion to support others and raise the profile of baby loss is truly outstanding.”

What Other’s Have Said

“This began as a small family run charity that is having a huge positive impact upon the baby loss community. The charity is growing rapidly and offers valuable support for both parents and professionals. The charity provides a selection of memory boxes which range from stillborn babies right up to children aged 16 years. The charity also offers a selection of moses baskets and will happily fund a range of equipment for hospitals which includes cold units, cameras and access to training. Recently I was privileged to meet Kirsty’s parents talk at a local bereavement conference for professionals. Their story was extremely emotive and poignant! Their passion to support others and raise the profile of baby loss is truly outstanding.”