Monday 17 June 2019

'I held him, hugged him, kissed him but most of all loved him so much' - Mum on tragically losing her son at 33 weeks

Kelly Smith with her daughter Ava, born seven years after the mum lost her son Ryan.
Kelly Smith with her daughter Ava, born seven years after the mum lost her son Ryan.

Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith on her beloved firstborn, who died tragically before birth

Eight years ago I lost my son at 33 weeks. Being 20, I really didn't find many places or people to turn too, only my Mam. You can type in as much as you want to Google but the answer will never be there. I found reading other people's stories helped me along.

At 20 years of age I was very healthy young girl and when my surprise pregnancy came along, I just thought I will get past 12 weeks and I can tell everyone and the baby will be fine. My Mam was with me the whole way through my pregnancy and helped me along with working and studying journalism and just making sure I had my rest etc. The pregnancy was great, no scares. Then at 33 weeks I noticed a spot of blood when I went to the bathroom, told my mam and we headed for the hospital.

She was excited as she knew I was in preterm labor, and ironically I was also born at 33 weeks. She kept telling me I was having the same labour as she did with me. I was sent straight to the delivery suite where they examined me and told me I was in preterm labor.

 A while later a doctor examined me and told me my waters were ready to burst but he would leave them in tact and put an IV in my arm with medication to stop my labor. To this day I can still see that doctor's face in my nightmares. I was sent to a ward beside the delivery suite and basically told to rest.

The next day around noonish I was having contractions and my Mam insisted a doctor come to examine me. A new doctor came, examined me and told the nurse I was to be sent straight to the delivery suite. I'm still waiting for that nurse to bring me to the delivery suite.

The next day I was still much the same. Although the bleeding had stopped, I was getting a lot of pressure pains. The following morning around 4.30am I woke up with in pain. I knew I was in high labor and about to give birth.

I couldn't get out of the bed so I pressed my buzzer for the nurse, who was with me instantly. The doctor came examined me and I was brought straight to the delivery suite where I was met with a lot of people and my Mam. Luckily she lived very close by at the time.

Twenty or so minutes laters the midwives were asking me did I want gas and air etc but I told them I wanted to nothing. I wanted to be normal meeting my son. I knew from early on I was having a boy and his name was to be Ryan. A while later the doctor examined me and he told me that Ryan had gone into a little bit of distress and told me not to worry but he wanted to do an emergency C- section on me. I said no problem.

Unfortunately the theatre was on the next level and by the time they had got me to the theatre Ryan had died. I didn't know this until a group of doctors surrounded me in the theatre and I saw my Mam who told me Ryan had gone. I don't remember much after that but I am eternally greatful to my Mam for not letting them give me a section and six hours later I gave birth to my beautiful son Ryan who weighed five pounds and four ounces.

He was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Panic stations set in after my delivery as I started to haemorrhage, and they told my Mam and Dad that I was in a critical state and the next 24 hours were crucial. I ended up getting. 13 blood transfusions and two units of platelets which saved my life. They also wanted to do a hysterectomy on me but my Mam wouldn't let them.

I got to have Ryan for five days. I held him, hugged him, kissed him but most of all loved him so much. He may be in my past but he will forever be my future and very much my present. I tried to take the hospital to court but unfortunately when you are taking a maternity hospital to court you must get a report done in the UK, which cost 2.5k sterling. They sent my solicitor back a detailed report to say I couldn't go to court as it was a tragic accident. I had a major Placenta Abruption and it happened in the lift on the way to theatre. I asked them if they had of delivered Ryan four days earlier when I went in would he alive, and the reply which will forever haunt me was, if they had of got to me five minutes earlier he would be alive. It's very hard for me to live with that but over the last eight years I've learnt to live with it.

I never thought I would get pregnant again. Joe and myself weren't planning children and as he had a son from a previous relationship, and I had told him all about Ryan and how much it affected me kids weren't on our agenda. January 2016 changed all that when I wasn't feeling quite well and knew my period was just a few days away, but I knew what that feeling was. I was pregnant again. It wasn't the easiest of pregnancies I had to attend hospital from six weeks and had to be hospital two days a week. I had the best doctor who looked after me and had told me from day one that she would section me on at 37 weeks. At 37 weeks on the 5th September 2016 I had a beautiful daughter called Ava and I couldn't love her more if I tried.

* INM has a dedicated section where parents of all ages can share their stories of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. The section will serve as a testament to the women and men who share their stories, a memorial for the babies lost and as a resource for other people who have gone through or are going through the experience.

Your stories can be anonymous or on the record and nothing will be published in any format without prior consultation with you. If you would like to be part of this and tell your story, email Yvonne Hogan at

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