‘I visited hospital for a routine pregnancy scan… weeks later my baby was gone’

Lucy Livesey was 20 weeks pregnant when she was taken into a private room at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. She knew from the plain chairs and neutral wallpaper that it was a ‘bad news room’, just like the one she was led into by her when her twin brother by her died in 2004.

And it was bad news. Her unborn daughter de ella had developed a heart problem and medics were unsure whether she had a chance at life.

It started to rain as Lucy and her husband Rick drove back to their home in Oldham. Following multiple tests and an agonizing three-week wait, the couple were finally given the update they were dreading. Their baby’s heart had not formed properly and her condition was too severe. She would not survive following birth.

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At just under 24 weeks pregnant, Lucy, an NHS mental health nurse, went into labor and delivered her daughter Ellie. “Delivering your own child when you know they aren’t going to be alive is really messed up,” the 33-year-old told the Manchester Evening News. “You’re just in absolute shock because you get told that news then you’re scared about what’s going to happen next. You’re a first-time mom never having delivered a baby before.

“You’re also then trying to look to the future about all of the things you’re not going to have or get to have. It’s a whole mixed bag of emotions – you’re in that moment of a devastating time but your mind is trying to problem solve a situation.

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“It was disbelief at the time and a lot of guilt thinking it was something I did wrong; you start thinking if you could have eaten better or done something differently.”

Lucy Livesey and her husband Rick

Lucy and Rick had already started baby shopping before they were given the news. Ahead of the delivery, the pair spent time packing away the tiny pink outfits and blankets in a box. On the way to hospital, Lucy recalls clutching her belly, not wanting to let her baby go.

The couple decided to have a hypno birth, a method of pain management that can be used during labour. The method involves using a mixture of visualisation, relaxation and deep breathing techniques. The couple were then able to spend some precious time with Ellie.

In the days following the labour, Lucy’s pregnancy symptoms continued, as though her body yearned for a baby it couldn’t find. “When we found out it was a girl, it was really exciting,” the 33-year-old continued.

“We hadn’t gone crazy but we had little outfits and blankets and things. You already plan lots in your mind – you even plan wedding dress shopping with her, you go that far into the future.

“I have two boys now and they’re beautiful boys but we’ve decided at this point that might be it for us. Then there’s that realization that there won’t ever be another girl in our life like Ellie was.

“You have all the symptoms, like you’re bleeding and you feel sore. I was still getting push notifications of emails from all the baby stuff I signed up to.

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“After the delivery we ended up spending some time with Ellie. I felt like I bonded with her and we have some pictures and photographs and that made it really special.

“I felt so empowered from the birth itself. I felt really proud of what we both achieved – even thought it was sad, we did create a life.”

Following the birth, Lucy chose to take sick leave from work. During that time, she decided to set up a wellness business called Relax With Lucy & Co. The service offers baby loss well-being and mental health support through the provision of mindfulness and relaxation interventions. She also decided to train to teach hypnobirthing in Ellie’s memory to help others deliver babies in a relaxed way.

After collecting some funding, Lucy also helped create Ellie’s Gift, an app which helps families prepare for a baby that has died. The app advocates techniques to promote comfort and relaxation aiming to reduce anxiety during the birth.

Lucy added: “I see my work as the continuation of Ellie’s little life. Her life de ella has been short but the effect of her being here and the actions that have been taken following her death de ella have gone on to touch so many lives.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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