Stranger stole my baby

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

The sound of twist­ing metal was deafen­ing. Pain shot through me

Ten tiny fin­gers, 10 tiny toes – and a lit­tle nose shaped just like mine.

It was May 2017 and I was 21 weeks preg­nant, at a hos­pi­tal scan.

‘You’re hav­ing a boy,’ the sono­g­ra­pher smiled.

‘I’ve cho­sen a name,’ I said. I’d al­ways dreamed of hav­ing a son called Flynn.

This preg­nancy wasn’t planned, and Flynn’s dad wasn’t in­volved.

But I had started look­ing for a big­ger flat and had en­rolled on a Health­care col­lege course.

I’m do­ing all this for you, Flynn, I thought, get­ting into my car on 25 May 2017.

I’d driven to Pem­brokeshire Col­lege to view the col­lege nurs­ery, where Flynn would go. On the sev­en­mile jour­ney back home, the sun was shin­ing.

This was a new start. Then sud­denly, a car shot out in front of me from a junc­tion on my left. I tried to swerve but I was go­ing 60mph, and my red Toy­ota Aygo ploughed into the other car.

The sound of twist­ing, scrunch­ing metal was deafen­ing. And pain shot through my body. ‘Flynn!’ I screamed. I was frozen with shock. Cars screeched to a halt and peo­ple ran to­wards me. I felt my­self be­ing lifted out of the car and laid on a grass verge.

‘I’m preg­nant!’ I cried, pain sear­ing through my ab­domen and hips.

Paramedics ar­rived. As they helped me into an am­bu­lance, I felt Flynn move in­side me.

The paramedics said I needed to go to hos­pi­tal.

My mum Saman­tha, 46, was brought to the scene by the po­lice.

‘I was so wor­ried,’ she sobbed, clam­ber­ing into the am­bu­lance and hold­ing my hand as we were rushed to Withy­bush Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

There, the doc­tors said I’d suf­fered mul­ti­ple in­juries – a twisted left an­kle, cuts, bruises, fric­tion burns. My hips and pelvis had taken the im­pact.

But an ul­tra­sound scan showed Flynn wrig­gling around. Thank good­ness!

I was trans­ferred to Glan­wili Hos­pi­tal, an hour away, for mon­i­tor­ing.

I set­tled into a bed and kissed Mum good­bye.

‘See you to­mor­row morn­ing,’ she smiled.

Later, around mid­night, a mid­wife checked Flynn’s heart­beat. She placed a Dop­pler de­vice against my bump.

I lis­tened for the fa­mil­iar thump, thump, thump. Noth­ing.

The mid­wife moved the Dop­pler around. Still noth­ing.

‘Let’s get you scanned,’ the mid­wife said.

A con­sul­tant came, and that’s when I re­ally started wor­ry­ing. I could see Flynn’s out­line on the screen, but there was no flicker where his heart­beat should be.

The doc­tor looked at me, and I knew.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said gen­tly. At 23 weeks and five days, Flynn’s lit­tle heart had stopped beat­ing.

As I was moved to a pri­vate room, away from the An­te­na­tal ward, I felt numb.

I barely heard what the mid­wife was say­ing would hap­pen next.

Then it hit me. I still had to give birth to my baby boy.

Mum rushed in. She’d driven straight back when the mid­wife had called her.

‘My poor dar­ling,’ she said, and we both broke down.

Af­ter be­ing given med­i­ca­tion to stop the preg­nancy hor­mones in my body, I was sent home for 48 hours.

I re­turned to the birthing unit at Glan­wili Hos­pi­tal on 28 May to be in­duced.

Mum held my hand as con­trac­tions started that night.

Af­ter just over two hours of labour, I gave birth to my son. Flynn was just 1lb 6oz. He was handed to me, wrapped in blan­kets, and looked ut­terly beau­ti­ful.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I whis­pered, kiss­ing his head.

The ac­ci­dent wasn’t my fault but I blamed my­self.

My body was sup­posed to pro­tect him and it had failed.

He’d never open his eyes or take his first steps.

The mid­wife brought in a spe­cial ‘cold cot’ to pre­serve Flynn’s body for longer.

I spent 48 pre­cious hours

Strangers would ask, ‘Is she your first baby?’ and I’d want to cry

with my baby – hold­ing him, kiss­ing him, dress­ing him in a tiny knit­ted cardi­gan and hat.

The mid­wife gave me a mem­ory box and took prints of his feet and hands. She took pho­tos of me and Flynn to­gether, in­clud­ing one of his tiny hand in mine.

I posted some pho­tos on Face­book. Like ev­ery mum, I wanted the world to know how gor­geous my baby was.

‘I’ll never for­get you,’

I cried when it was fi­nally time to say good­bye. My heart broke, leav­ing the hos­pi­tal with empty arms.

Flynn was buried in a beau­ti­ful ser­vice at Mil­ford Haven ceme­tery.

Af­ter, still on crutches, I hob­bled there ev­ery day to visit Flynn’s grave.

On his due date – 16 Septem­ber 2017 – I re­leased a bal­loon and a let­ter into the sky.

‘Mummy misses you so much,’ I sobbed.

In Novem­ber 2017,

I saw the other driver. Wil­liam Reynolds,

76, plead guilty to driv­ing without due care and at­ten­tion.

He was given six penalty points on his driv­ing li­cence and a £215 fine.

It didn’t feel like jus­tice. As far as

I was con­cerned, a mo­ment of care­less­ness had stolen my son. I couldn’t for­give that.

I was still fight­ing my feel­ings of anger and grief when, just one week later, I re­alised that I’d missed my pe­riod.

Dur­ing those dark days when I’d first lost Flynn, I’d re­con­nected with an ex-part­ner, grasp­ing for com­fort wher­ever I could. I took a preg­nancy test and, to my shock, it was pos­i­tive. My ex promised to sup­port me. But rather than feel­ing ex­cited, I felt guilty.

‘I don’t want an­other baby,’ I sobbed. Only Flynn.

At ev­ery hos­pi­tal scan, I just felt sad. But as my bump grew, and I dis­cov­ered I was hav­ing a girl, I fi­nally started to bond with her.

I wasn’t re­plac­ing my lit­tle boy. I could love this baby just as much. Then, with five weeks to go – just over a year af­ter the car crash – a scan re­vealed she’d stopped grow­ing. Please, no… ‘We need to get her out now,’ the doc­tor said. I was in­duced at Glan­wili Hos­pi­tal on 26 June this year. And as I panted through each con­trac­tion, I felt Flynn’s pres­ence. Only, this time, af­ter I pushed lit­tle Lyla into the world, the room was filled with the most beau­ti­ful sound. My baby’s cries.

As she was handed to me, weigh­ing 4lb 8oz, she wrig­gled in my arms.

‘She’s small but healthy,’ the mid­wife smiled.

She looked just like her brother – same nose and face shape.

I have two ba­bies, I thought. One in my arms and one in my heart.

Back home, ev­ery time Lyla passed a mile­stone

– her first smile and first laugh – I trea­sured the mo­ment.

But I’d think, Flynn didn’t get to do this.

Strangers would ask, ‘Is she your first baby?’ and I’d want to cry.

I knew the hor­ror of the crash would never fade. But as time goes on, and I watch Lyla grow, I’m com­ing to terms with my loss.

I’ll never for­get Flynn, and I’ll be sure to tell Lyla all about her big brother.

We visit his grave to­gether. The love I feel for both my beau­ti­ful ba­bies is some­thing that will never die.

My hips and pelvis took the im­pact

My pre­cious, tiny Flynn

My car was a write-off

Lyla is help­ing me through

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