“A truly heart-breaking, moving
and brave story to tell.” – PJ
What would you do if you had a glimpse of the life of your dreams, only to have it all taken away from you?
How could you go on in the aftermath of the most devastating loss imaginable?
Deborah suffered extraordinary pain and devastation over the breakdown of her relationship and the loss of her first-born daughter. Seeking answers from the medical staff, facing isolation and despair, and navigating the feelings and discomfort of those around her, Deborah must find a way to live again, and to honour her baby’s precious memory.
In this breathtakingly honest memoir, Deborah finally shares her story with the world, bravely displaying not only her scars, but the strength and courage she found to carry on – and the blinding, beaming light of her love for the child born an angel.
“You feel every word” – Amazon Customer
Deborah was born at Good Hope hospital, Sutton Coldfield in 1970 and was one of five children in a very loving family, growing up on Castle Vale, a council estate in the suburbs of Birmingham.
In the 1980’s, as a teenager, Deborah made her first screen appearance in Bakers Dozen, playing a young Kathleen Dayus. It was a documentary set in Birmingham and based on a book written by Kathleen for her grandchildren. This was followed by a few small parts in Boon, Crossroads and Y.E.S. before leaving school and getting her first full time job.
Deborah trained as an accountant and instead of pursuing a strong career, she dreamed of having the idyllic family life for herself, with her own children and with her childhood sweetheart, hoping to give her children the family life she had been fortunate to have had, but the dream soon became a nightmare that would scar her for life.
Almost three decades on, having had much success with her career and now several beautiful daughters and grandchildren, Deborah decided to follow in the footsteps of her heroine, Kathleen Dayus, and write her story for her daughters about the sister they had never met.
“Still birth and infant death affects many, I’ve told my story in the hope it would bring understanding and comfort in the knowledge you aren’t alone.”
The day was a typical Sunday. Spending time with my family was always a little chaotic; my sisters were two and twelve years younger than me and my other brother nine years younger, so there were always youngsters in the house and plenty going on. Later that evening I mentioned to my mom that I didn’t think I had felt ten movements yet that day. Mom had said that it’s not unusual for baby to go a little quiet before they are ready to make an appearance, and I did call the midwife just to be sure, but was told they didn’t think it was of significant concern, so I settled back into my Sunday evening at home to enjoy the TV. On Sunday evenings London’s Burning was showing, one of my favourite programmes at that time. A fire woman had joined the team and had rescued a baby from a burning car just moments before it exploded; my heart had been racing watching it, and I was elated she had saved the tiny baby. I think we all eventually went up to bed around 11pm that night. I had my bags packed in the hall ready to go back to the ward, and everything was now ready at home for the arrival of my little one. Knowing I had fully prepared everything, I went to sleep feeling happy with the knowledge that the next time I would be at home sleeping in my bed, I would have my baby in my arms.
At around 3am I woke with excruciating pains in my stomach. I screamed out for my mom. I was in labour – what timing – my waters hadn’t broken yet but the contractions were about every 6-7 minutes. Mom called an ambulance as no one had a car, and we were advised it would be with us shortly. Three hours later the ambulance arrived and eventually we were on our way to the hospital. Very soon my baby son or daughter would make their first appearance in this world; it was 5 November, and it seemed the Gipsy was to be right.
We arrived at the hospital and I was taken straight to the delivery suite; everything was ready and the midwife got all the paperwork sorted and went to fetch the heart monitor machine. When she came back she put the belts around me and moved the discs over my tummy into several different places, but couldn’t seem to find a heartbeat. She wasn’t concerned; she said sometimes during labour baby moves too much or too low for the discs to latch on to a continuous reading of the baby’s heartbeat. So she went off to get a horn; these were used to listen to the heartbeat mostly by community midwives then. When she returned she placed the horn on my tummy, again moving it around into several different places, then she left the room without a word to me. I remember lying there wondering what was happening. Several minutes later she returned with a doctor. The midwife stood to my left side and held my hand, looking at me with pity in her eyes. Why? The doctor came around the bed with the horn and listened to my tummy. He seemed to be listening for a while before he finally stood up and returned to the base of my bed; he looked at me and said something. The wall behind him was a pale colour, almost white; there were no pictures, it was devoid of any distinguishable marks. He stood in front of it in his white coat, stethoscope hanging loosely around his neck, ID badge attached to his pocket. His coat was open and he had a nondescript pale blue shirt on. I cannot recall if he had a tie. He asked me if I had heard him. I had, I knew I had, but I couldn’t believe what I thought I was hearing. It couldn’t be possible, couldn’t be true – they had to check again, maybe their machine or horn was faulty? Maybe they weren’t doing the heart beat check properly. This wasn’t happening, they were wrong, everything was OK, and in a few hours I would be holding my baby.
That moment in time would remain etched into my memory from that moment on, forever my waking dream, my worst nightmare a reality, the thing that should never happen to me, to anyone.
“A really touching story that’s told with honesty” – Sarah B