“This picture represents months of praying for a happy ending – finally at an end. Countless difficult hospital trips all made worthwhile with that very first cry.
“It is the moment we allowed ourselves to think about a future with the baby boy in front of us. We had been here before in a delivery room waiting for the cry that never came.”
When Christine Fletcher found out she was expecting a baby in May 2016, she and her husband were delighted. This would be Christine’s second baby: she also had a son, Oliver, from a previous relationship.
At 37 weeks, however, her baby’s movements started to slow down. She takes up the story from there.
“At 38 weeks and 2 days I went back to hospital to be monitored as Jacob’s movements had virtually stopped. After the monitoring we were reassured that everything was OK. I went home and thought about how soon we would be meeting our long-awaited little boy.
“The next day I had a routine appointment with my midwife. I told her he still hadn’t moved and she had a listen with a Doppler. She tried and tried but couldn’t find his little heartbeat. I was sent to hospital for an emergency scan still with hope that he was just hiding from the Doppler.
“At the hospital a Doppler was done while I was waiting for the scan and a heartbeat was found. I cried with relief and sat waiting for the scan.
“When the doctor began the scan it was clear that something was wrong. He kept looking but he couldn’t find a heartbeat.
“It was my own heartbeat they had found previously.
“I was given the devastating news that our beautiful Jacob’s heart had stopped.
“My husband and I spoke to the consultant about what would happen next. I was given a tablet to soften my cervix and was asked to return on Friday to be induced. We went home in a blur. We had to break the news to Oliver that his baby brother was no longer going to come home.
‘The silence that followed the birth was deafening’
“On Thursday afternoon contractions started. I arrived at the hospital at 9.30pm and by 11.05pm Jacob was born weighing 7lb 15oz. He was perfect in every way but the silence that followed his birth was deafening.
“We spent the night together – the three of us – and the next day family came to say goodbye, when they should have been saying hello.
“That night we left the hospital carrying a box full of memories that we’d made that day; the only memories we would ever have of our precious baby. We had a full post-mortem for Jacob but the cause of death could not be determined as our beautiful boy’s heart had simply stopped.
“We knew that we would try again for another baby but needed time to grieve for Jacob, and to mentally prepare for 9 months of worrying and anxiety.
“In January we finally decided it was time and we were lucky, February the 10th we got two pink lines on a test followed by another 5 tests just to be sure. It was a very difficult pregnancy filled with fear and anxiety of what if it happens again?
‘I feared that it would seem like I was replacing Jacob’
“At our 20 week scan we found out we were having a boy. This news was difficult for me for as much as I loved my new baby I feared that It would seem like I was replacing Jacob.
“My care during my pregnancy was amazing and the consultant saw me often and I also had regular check-ups in the day assessment unit and lots of scans.
“My blood pressure started to rise again as my pregnancy progressed and had to be controlled with medication. I went for a regular check up when I was 35 weeks pregnant and my blood pressure was extremely high. My baby’s heart rate was failing the CTG (cardiotocography) monitoring.
“I was admitted and it was decided I would be induced the next day.
“After a long induction process, I still wasn’t going into labour. My baby was now showing signs of distress and so it was decided I would go for a C-section.
“We can’t describe the relief and the emotions that went through us when we heard our baby’s cry for the very first time. Jesse Thomas was born, weighing 6lbs 5oz.
“The joy was overwhelming and to make it even more special the midwife that delivered Jacob was there for the birth of our beautiful Jesse too. And we had the incredible photo (above) capturing the moment.
‘Jesse shows us that there is still happiness in the world’
“The name Jesse means gift and thats what he is; the gift sent to us from our angel, his big brother Jacob. Jacob will always be a big part of our life’s and Jesse will be told all about him as he grows up.
“Jesse in no way replaces Jacob. He’s just shown us that there is still happiness in the world and he is our beautiful rainbow after the storm.
“As cliched as it sounds, sometimes the dreams that we dream really do come true.”