A MUM-TO-BE who suffered the heartbreak of a miscarriage is channelling her grief to help others.
Despite being devastated by the loss three weeks ago of baby Bell, who was born 13 weeks into pregnancy, Vicky Smith, 25, and her fiance Shaun Bell, 31, are reaching out to others scarred by miscarriage.
From their home in Red House, Vicky, a community staff nurse, is creating keepsake boxes for grieving parents to give them a permanent reminder of their child.
Vicky is also hoping to change attitudes towards miscarriage, which she says is often a taboo subject.
“There is no support for bereaved parents going through miscarriage,” she said. “The staff at the hospital were lovely but the terminology they used really hurt. Because my baby wasn’t stillborn it was referred to as a foetus, but it was still a baby.”
Vicky and Shaun were elated when they discovered she was five weeks pregnant in June and eagerly planned for the arrival of their child.
She said: “I was going to be a mummy. I felt overwhelmed. I cried with happiness and phoned my fiancé immediately while he was at work. I was hyperventilating I was so excited. We were both overjoyed and were already starting to plan for our future.”
The family had already picked potential names and the couple’s parents jokingly made up a babysitting rota while Vicky recorded her weekly feelings in a pregnancy diary.
But on July 25 she began experiencing extreme cramps and bleeding.
After being taken to A&E she was booked for a scan at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit which revealed that Bell had passed away.
Vicky said: “This was the day our world came crashing down around us. I lay on the bed while the sonographer located the baby. The silence was long and deafening. My partner held my hand while she said nothing, gazing into the screen. Then she turned to me and said, ‘I’m very sorry Victoria, the baby has no heartbeat.’”
Doctors revealed that Vicky had had an early miscarriage, meaning that although her baby had not made it past 10 weeks, her body still thought it was pregnant.
“Even though I’m a staff nurse I had never heard the term,” she said. “There are about five different miscarriages and that is one of them. It means that even though the baby has gone, your brain and body doesn’t realise yet and still releases pregnancy hormones.”
The couple found comfort from the 4Louis charity after being given one of its keepsake boxes for parents of still and early births.
She met the creators of the charity and discovered they had been looking for someone to start a similar venture for parents who’ve miscarried.
Vicky, who works at Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre, South Shields, said: “Being given one of their boxes really meant a lot to me and was the only support I received. I wanted to be able to help other angel mums.
“4louis donated my first 50 boxes, which will be delivered soon. The response I’ve had is unreal. It’s something that affects so many people. Unfortunately, one in five pregnancies end this way.”
To find out more about the charity and future fund-raising events search 4Babybell on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.