A HEARTBROKEN mum faced the devastating news her stillborn baby daughter’s heart had stopped alone because of lockdown rules.
Vikki Smith’s husband Ben was not allowed to attend the couple’s final routine appointment at Great Western Hospital on April 6.
It was there that antenatal staff discovered Pippa’s heart had stopped 37 weeks into Vikki’s pregnancy.
“Pippa was our fourth daughter and we had a pretty straightforward pregnancy, nothing happened to make us think anything could go wrong,” Vikki said.
“I had a growth scan and that’s when they discovered the heart had stopped. I didn’t think anything could go wrong this far into the pregnancy and this is why I want to talk about it because it’s not talked about enough.
“It was a big shock, we were devastated and it’s been made harder because of everything going on with Covid-19.
“I was on my own when I found out because partners aren’t allowed in when you get scans which was horrible to face on my own.
“This was the worst thing I have ever gone through, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I think both parents should be allowed in because things do go wrong, I’ve struggled because I now get flashbacks to being on my own, I found it really traumatic.
“Parents are missing out when they get excluded from these appointments, it’s a great chance for them to bond.”
Under current restrictions, only pregnant women are allowed in the room when going for a hospital appointment. Partners, family members and friends have to wait outside.
Vikki, of Hannington, praised the team at GWH for their compassion in the wake of Pippa’s stillbirth.
She said: “Great Western Hospital has a room dedicated for parents who have lost their baby and it’s nicely decorated which makes it more homely. It made us more comfortable.
“The midwife and hospital staff were absolutely fantastic. They treated Pippa just like any other baby, they treated her like she was just as important. That made the situation easier for me and my husband.”
To keep Pippa’s memory alive and to thank those who support families after a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, Vikki is going to complete 310,000 steps in October and over Baby Loss Awareness Week.
She launched a Facebook donation page having raised £500 of her £600 target. The money will be going to Sands – a charity which offers support to families affected by the loss of a baby.
Vikki said: “When you lose a baby Sands supply hospitals with memory boxes which go to the parents. We were given a box and we had a little blanket, candle, keyrings, teddy bears and our baby’s handprints inside ours.
“This has happened to so many people, I wanted to support a service which helps parents.
“I want people to feel comfortable talking about it because when I talk about Pippa people get uncomfortable but it helps me to grieve.”
To donate search for ‘Vikki’s 310,000 steps in October challenge’ on Facebook.