I Carry Her Ashes Wherever I Go
Photo Credit: Sacha Shepherd
I went for my anatomy scan on November 23, 2021, where I found out my daughter was very growth restricted. I was told not to panic and that they would just need to monitor her more closely. I was referred to fetal medicine specialist at another hospital.
Two days later I went for an appointment with a specialist due to my chronic hypertension. I should have been seen weeks and weeks earlier than this as I was flagged as high risk very early on but I wasn’t seen until I was more than halfway through my pregnancy. She took my blood pressure and it was 222/134, so I was admitted as they suspected I had developed preeclampsia.
I was at that hospital for a week. They confirmed I had preeclampsia and my readings were consistently high but after two normal readings they tried to discharge me. My mum put her foot down and I stayed in, and I’m so grateful she did as I dread to think what could’ve happened if I’d have gone home.
I was sent via ambulance to another hospital for my fetal medicine scan, leaving all my belongings at my hospital as they told me I’d be back. When I arrived at the new hospital I was told they had been informed that I was discharged, which was the only reason they agreed to see me. Because of that, I was admitted there instead, in a different county with none of my things.
We had my scan and found out my daughter wasn’t doing well. They were worried that she wouldn’t be big enough to save when the time to deliver came because I was declining. I told them I wanted to continue for as long as possible to give her the best chance, and they reluctantly agreed.
They decided to keep my blood pressure high enough so the placenta could still pump everything as well as it could through to Sloane, but not too high that it would effect me. This worked for a few days as the situation had stabilized, but everything started to quickly go downhill.
My platelets started dropping very fast and I started presenting with severe features. They confirmed I had also developed HELLP and my blood work was coming back worse every 6 hours.
I was still determined to continue, but after a few days of this I was told that if I didn’t make the decision to induce soon I probably wouldn’t be coming out of this okay. I was informed that Sloane had a very small chance of survival on the outside, and even less of a chance if she were to stay inside me much longer.
It had gotten too dangerous to attempt a c-section due to my platelets, so on December 8, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to be induced.
I was given magnesium sulphate within about 20 minutes of my decision and took the first tablet that day.
I went into labour around 7:30 p.m. on December 9, and gave birth to my sleeping angel, Sloane Antonina Shepherd at 7:48 a.m. on December 10, 2021. She weighed a tiny 12.5oz at 23 weeks. My mum was the one to cut her cord. The labour was just too much for her in the end. She was so so beautiful.
The midwives were all incredible and so caring. I was in a bereavement suite so was allowed to have my family meet her and give her cuddles. They made sure I had lots of little memories and keepsakes to take home with me. My sister took some of the loveliest photos as I was pretty much in and out of sleep all that day.
I got to keep her with me in a cuddle cot for 3 days, and had her blessed by the hospital chaplain. I just remember how much it meant to me that the midwives I saw treated Sloane like any other baby. They would come in and say hello to her and cry with me.
I had to stay in the hospital until December 16 because my blood pressure was still very high. I had also developed a blood infection and spiked a fever so had to be on IV medication. It was awful having to spend those nights grieving on my own. I was just so desperate to go home. I’m not with Sloane’s dad so I didn’t even have that type of support.
We had a beautiful service for her on January 4, 2022. I now have her ashes with me in a teddy bear and a necklace so I can have her with me wherever I go.
Thank you Sacha Shepherd / @hi_im_sacha_ for sharing your story. Shared with permission.
Pregnancy and infant loss can leave grieving parents feeling isolated and unsure how to navigate the heartbreaking circumstance of living without their precious baby. Unexpecting delicately helps grieving parents navigate the complexities and heartache of life after loss.
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