Stranger stole my baby
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