Wednesday, 8 June 2016

To the delivery team....

To the team who delivered my son.

Four years ago, my son was born. Just another day at work for you, but not just another day for me.

I had everything ready. His crib, his room, his clothes. My bags were packed full of boys clothes to dress my new baby in. A blanket that had been handmade to cuddle him in. A card from his big brother.

I was excited, watching the hormone drip going into my arm knowing it would soon be time to meet our son. I trusted your care, and was reassured even when we were left on our own, that the monitoring equipment could be accessed in the midwife's station. Everything was in hand.

The midwife came to check my progress and just as we removed the blanket covering my legs, we both saw fresh blood on my legs and on the bed. It was everywhere. "Don't worry" I was told "bleeding is quite common during labour". OK, I thought, and went back to my conversation with my husband and my mum, about something completely insignificant, while the midwife went about changing the pads and blankets.

A while later, the matron came in to check the monitor. Again, everything was fine, nothing to worry about. A doctor wanted to check something with a more senior colleague who was on the phone. It couldn't be that important if it could wait.....

About an hour had passed and very suddenly I was presented with some documents to sign as I was going to be undertaking an emergency c section. No real explanation but I was told it was important things happened quickly. My husband changed his clothes for the scrubs he had been handed and suddenly I was wheeled down to the theatre for delivery.

I could hear Harry's heartrate through the monitor I was hooked up to and on our way down to theatre it got slower and slower and slower..... my heart was in my mouth. Slowly it started to recover but not to the speed of a normal heartbeat.

Do you remember this day? I hope that you do.
Can you remember your role in his delivery? Is it etched in to your memory as it is mine?

A day I will never forget.

When Harry was born, he didn't cry. There were no sounds. The next sound to be heard was my voice, asking what was happening. You couldn't tell me. You knew something had gone horribly wrong.

No one would make eye contact. No one would give me any proper kind of explanation.

"Your son is poorly" I was told. Poorly is not even a fraction of what he was suffering.

I remember this day every day. It has been FOUR years. Four years of replaying this scene, over and over in my head. Yes, I have post traumatic stress, Yes, I have received extensive therapy and yes, I am on long term medication to help with these horrific flashbacks.

Four years,

Harry lived a very short life after his delivery.
He died when he was only twenty six hours old.
His life was spent on machines, being fed medication and having test after test.
What a life.

Yes - he met his whole family during that time,
He was christened in the intensive care unit.
He died in my arms. During our first and last cuddle.

I then had to plan his funeral.
People came from all over the country to say their goodbyes to this tiny baby.
All of us still in shock that such a tiny life had been taken so soon.
I watched his coffin being lowered into the ground. This moment was, and will always be the most hideous moment of my entire life. Nothing can compare.

And then, I had to carry on my life.
To "move on".

I was given the line from you guys, that "nothing more could have been done". That "everything that could have been done was done". That this awful condition, vasa praevia, was to blame for this turn of events.

I believed you.
I trusted you.

I put ALL of my energy and time into raising awareness of this condition, so that others might not suffer as Harry did.  I raised money for your hospital to improve it's offering as a way of thanking you for all you did for Harry.

My mum and my husband felt there was something more sinister involved in Harry's death and I chose to ignore them. To quiet their minds I asked a solicitor to look over my notes. She undercovered a whole mountain of errors and just over three years on from Harry's death, you FINALLY admitted the truth.

You had messed up.
You hadn't followed guidelines.
You hadn't done your jobs properly.

You left me to bleed my son's blood.
You didn't act.
You waited for a colleague to finish a phonecall.
You didn't deem this dire situation to be the top level emergency until it was too late.

You failed.

Not just once. But many, many times during Harry's delivery. A whole catalogue of total neglect.

You took the life of my son.
My baby boy.
My precious cargo that I had carried for so long.

You. You are responsible.

This loss I feel will be carried with me for my whole life.
A hole. An aching. A gut wrenching pain.

Today is his birthday. We should be having cake and fun with his friends. Opening presents and blowing out candles.

Yet, I am sat in tears writing this letter to you.

I need an apology.
What I have been fed from your litigation team "we apologise for any inconvenience we might have caused your client (Harry)" is just not good enough.

I want to know that you are sorry. Not that lessons have been learnt, because they damn well should have been,

I deserve an apology.
Harry deserves an apology.

We deserve some respect.

Our settlement continues months and months after admission of guilt.
You are now nit picking over finances, which will never replace our son, but there is no other way to ensure that some kind of justice is done for our son.

Settle our case. Let us move on with our lives.

This we ask in Harry's name.

Niki Cunningham
Harry's Mummy