A GRIEVING couple who suffered a still-birth during lockdown are raising awareness of the painful plight.
Aaron Gregory and Faith Meades from Milverton lost their first child Grayson in May, at the end of what they thought was a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
After a check-up shortly before their ordeal, the couple was given the all clear and returned home to await their son’s safe arrival.
Then one evening, during pain Faith mistook for contractions, the 24-year-old went to hospital alone due to pandemic restrictions, where doctors could not detect a heartbeat.
Following the news, Aaron – who was on duty as a paramedic – was allowed in the hospital to be with his partner.
During the 24-hour labour, the pair clung onto hope the news had been a mistake. But sadly the couple went home without their baby boy.
Aaron, who is originally from Coventry, said: “There was a lot of confusion surrounding the loss of Grayson as throughout the whole pregnancy both Faith and Grayson were doing very well with no complications at all. We had Grayson checked just a few days prior to the loss, to which everything was fine, which made coming to terms with the loss even harder.
“We specifically bought our first home with Grayson in mind and everything was ready for him to come home, his room was decorated, his clothes hanging up – so to come home into a house surrounded by constant reminders was really difficult.
“It was a difficult time as we were not able to see family members frequently due to covid, and for us it was important to remember that they were also affected by the loss.”
Though their experience through lockdown was made even more difficult, they received support from a bereavement midwife as well as The Lily Mae Foundation, which supports parents coping after a still-birth or neo-natal death.
And now the pair aim to highlight the importance of talking about the devastating experience which occurs in around one in 200 births.
Aaron said: “It’s such a delicate issue, where support is so important but a lot of parents are going through this alone.
“We found comfort in talking to parents who had experienced similar devastation and it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone. It’s also important to talk to each other as a couple, as we learnt that we both grieved in different ways and it was important for us to support each other with this as it can be confusing and frustrating when you’re at different stages.”
Faith, who works for Warwickshire County Council, was later diagnosed with MPFD – a rare condition of the placenta often resulting in growth restriction and loss. But the couple are hopeful the situation can be managed with close monitoring and medication to reduce the risk of a repeat experience.
In the meantime, Aaron is embarking on a social media campaign to raise awareness of baby loss.
He explained: “We decided that we would like to help raise awareness of baby loss as we were unaware of how common it was until we went through it ourselves. Normally, there are a number of remembrance services during Baby Loss Awareness Week – which runs this week, but these have been suspended due to covid and so we have taken part in filming and photography projects for a social media campaign.”
The campaign includes daily posts, where an individual or couple will share their story alongside advice to anybody going through a similar situation.
Videographer Luke Collins has also created a video set in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, featuring families talking about their experiences. The video can be found on the UHCW University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Facebook page.
To view the daily posts, search Kris Askey on Instagram.