I know what it’s like to lose a baby, like Kym
After suffering two miscarriages and a stillbirth, Victoria Harris has had her fair share of heartbreak
In February this year, Kym Marsh marked what would have been her son Archie’s ninth birthday.
He was born at 21 weeks and passed away not long after.
Since losing Archie in 2009, the Coronation Street actress has been vocal about miscarriage and stillbirth.
‘It’s something you never get over,’ Kym says. ‘And it’s something so many people are going through all the time.’
Kym’s Corrie character, Michelle Connor, also suffered a stillbirth in early 2017. The actress admitted that the difficult storyline took her to ‘dark places’ but hoped the scenes might help other women in the same position to get help.
Kym now raises money for the Mariposa Trust, a charity that helps families deal with the pain of losing a baby at any stage.
And, like Kym, Victoria Harris, 37, is determined to keep talking about such a difficult topic...
I’d been dating James, an electrician, for seven months when I fell pregnant in 2007. It was a surprise but a happy one.
But while some mums-to-be are blessed with a rosy glow, my pregnancy got harder with each week. I was exhausted and bleeding constantly.
Despite my fears, the doctors were reassuring. At eight weeks, when a scan showed the bleeding was caused by a subchorionic haematoma – bleeding between the placenta and uterus – they weren’t worried, saying the problem would resolve itself.
But in the November, when I was 18 weeks pregnant,
I was woken in the night by an unbearable pain in my stomach. ‘I’m in agony,’ I groaned to James. ‘I need to go to hospital.’ Perhaps it sounds naïve, but the idea of miscarriage hadn’t crossed my mind.
At the hospital, while James paced the corridors, I was monitored by the midwives. The pain was so bad I could barely speak, then, looking down, there was blood everywhere. Suddenly, the pain disappeared, and I felt an overwhelming fear. For a second, everything was silent, then a midwife hurried over. Leaning down, she wrapped something in a towel and left.
It was only later that
I realised it was my baby. Numb with shock, the next thing I remember is James holding me, and a doctor appearing. ‘Do you understand what happened?’ he asked. ‘You’ve had a miscarriage.’
In that moment, as the tears rolled down my cheeks, I felt empty. Any mum who has lost a child will know that feeling.
Leaving hospital without your child is the hardest thing in the world. That night, as I lay in bed, my hand resting where my tiny bump had been, I cried myself to sleep.
Later we learned what had gone wrong. Doctors revealed the bleeding had caused the placenta to separate from the uterus. Our baby – a little boy – had no chance of survival.
All we had were hand and footprints from our son – Jack – but I never saw our little boy. I thought it would be too hard. I regret that decision every day.
I wish I could say that, after the agony of losing Jack, our journey to parenthood was smooth, but James and I had more heartbreak to come.
Just six months later, I fell pregnant again, this time with a girl. My waters broke early at 33 weeks, but I wasn’t worried as my pregnancy had gone so well. That is, until midwives checked the heartbeat. I listened for that thumping sound, but the room was silent. When the doctor told me my baby had died, I thought I’d never stop crying.
I had to go through the trauma of labour – each contraction made worse knowing I wouldn’t hear my daughter’s cries.
When I cradled little Harriet in my arms, she looked like she was sleeping. It was later revealed I’d caught an infection, and it was the most likely cause of her death.
Yet, James and I refused to give up. After another miscarriage at eight weeks, three months later, in March 2010, I fell pregnant again. I didn’t get my hopes up – every day, I waited for something to go wrong.
Every time I felt a pain, James was there. ‘Is everything OK?’ he’d ask, panic in his voice.
Yet, thankfully, everything went smoothly.
That December, I gave birth to a boy named Jack, in honour of his brother. As I held him, I thought of the babies I’d lost. Since then, we’ve had another boy, Harry, in January 2015. We named him after the sister he never met.
Jack, now seven, and Harry, three, know all about Harriet. I take them to her grave at Christmas and birthdays.
Last year, I couldn’t help but shed a tear as I laid down flowers for my beautiful little girl. But then I felt a little hand in mine.
‘It’s OK, Mummy,’ Jack said. ‘Don’t be sad.’
Harry’s a bit young to understand just yet, but I’ll explain everything to him in the next year or two.
James and I have discussed having another baby. We’d love a sister for Jack and Harry to dote on, but we’re going to wait a while before we try again.
I think it’s great that Kym has spoken so openly about her own miscarriage. She’s helping to normalise something that many women feel ashamed of.
I found that talking to those around me has really helped me come to terms with it.
Women need to know they are not alone.
For support, visit uk-sands.org or call 0808 164 3332
‘Women need to know they are not alone’
‘My baby looked like she was sleeping’
Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh, left, has suffered a miscarriage in life and on screen
Victoria’s first pregnancy tragically ended at 18 weeks
The family visit little Harriet’s grave every year
Finally Victoria and James had a baby boy, Jack, in 2010, after years of heartbreak
Victoria with sons Harry and Jack