By Noreen McEldowney
The birth of a baby is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and wonderful experiences any parent can have.
That is how Draperstown mother Teresa Kidd described the recent birth of her daughter Nina.
At 14 week’s old Nina is a beautiful, healthy baby, who has brought so much joy into her parents hearts and home.
Unfortunately the path to parenthood has been difficult for Teresa and her husband, Marty.
Little Nina is the Kidd’s fourth baby, but their only surviving one.
Noreen McEldowney got the chance to meet Teresa, someone who can only be described as an extremely loving, kind and above all, brave.
This is her story
On December 8, 2013 Teresa and her husband welcomed their first child into the world. It was a little girl and they called her Leonie Ellen Kidd.
This was the Kidd’s first pregnancy and Teresa says she can only describe herself then as, “a little naive.”
“Maybe I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have to the baby's movement,” said Teresa, “but then I didn’t know any different. This was my first pregnancy I just believed it would be plain sailing.”
And for Teresa her pregnancy was just that, until little baby Leonie was stillborn.
“I was eight days over due,” explained Teresa. “I had been having pains a few days before the birth and knew it was nearly time. I'd went into labour myself and rang the hospital. The first few times they told me to have a bath, get comfortable and have painkillers, but on the third occassion they advised me it was time to come in.
“It was then we were told there was no heartbeat.
“I couldn’t believe it I thought I was hallucinating. I had only been in hospital six days previous and everything was fine.
“I delivered Leonie naturally, we didn’t know we were having a little girl, I just couldn't comprehend what was happening to us," said Teresa.
The Doctors the Kidd’s their baby had died from an infection caused by GBS (group B strep). GBS is a form of bacteria which can be passed from mother onto their baby during labour but usually it doesn't cause problems.
Carrying GBS, according to the Group B Strep Support charity is, “very normal and natural.” However the NHS does not screen for it in Northern Ireland or in the rest of the UK. If pregnant women here wish to be screened for GBS they must request it however, it is not routinely discussed and there is a charge attached.
Teresa continued; "We got to spend the full day and night with Leonie, our family got to meet her and we took her home for a night. Our Parish Priest at the time Father Kelly, was extremely supportive to us. He blessed Leonie and also did a naming service with us and our family, it really meant a lot to us
“Father Kelly’s acknowledgement of our daughter really helped us to cope with what had happened."
The midwives gave the family a memory box provided by the charity SANDS (a stillbirth and neonatal death charity which offers support to anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby).
SANDS soon became an intergal part of Teresa’s life. Every month she attends her local SANDS group in Cookstown, where she spends time with other people who have been bereaved by child loss.
“Losing Leonie was extremely difficult for my husband and for me," said Teresa.
"As a mother, I still find it difficult to accept. As a woman I felt useless, I felt I had let me husband and my baby down. However, I began to interact with other people who have been bereaved by child loss and that helped.”
Teresa and her husband although devastated by the loss of their first born tried for another baby straight away and to their joy Teresa became pregnant for the second time.
“Motherhood was something I always wanted,” said Teresa, “there was no doubt we would be trying for another baby again."
Unfortunately for the Kidd’s Leonie’s death was just the beginning of what would be a very sad and distressful time for Teresa and her husband.
“After 51weeks from losing Leonie, I discovered I was pregnant but I suffered a miscarriage. It was the most horrendous feeling, I was still dealing with the loss of Leonie and to find out I had lost my second baby was devastating.
“Miscarriage is a horrible thing to happen to any parent and something I have found very hard to deal with,” added Teresa.
Despite the huge sense of loss Teresa became pregnant for the third time, but it was also not to be. After just ten weeks into her pregnancy, she loss her third baby through miscarriage.
“My first miscarriage was so traumatic as was losing Leonie, but this felt no different. I felt the same amount of pain for my third child as I had done for the two before.”
Learning to cope
Teresa and her husband with the support of their families, friends, Father Kelly, SANDS, and their consultant Dr Frances Stewart, have been able to live with what has happened, although it will be something that neither them will forget. "Nina is our rainbow baby," said Teresa.
"A rainbow baby is one born after loss of a child, they don't negate the storm but make it more bearable. I was lucky my consultant listened to and supported me in all pregnancies. She put me on medication after the third loss and did everything for us she promised she would.
“If any pregnant women are concerned about their pregnancy, keep seeking advice and help, if you've had recurrent miscarriages, talk about medications as appropriate.
“SANDS have support evenings dedicated to women pregnant after loss as its a very anxious time, while we our forever grateful for Nina, it was still a very scary time and by no means detracts from what happened.
“We live with the grief daily.
“I have great faith,” added Teresa. “I believe Leonie, Leo and Dylon are all in heaven and that we will all be reunited as a family one day.I never got depressed over what happened but I was very sad, there is a difference in depression and grief. I took to exercising more, walking and running, it has provided a good escape, because I live with these grief daily."
Teresa says she will continue to attend her monthly SANDS meetings and hopes to raise more awareness for the charity and in doing so generate more understanding about this very taboo subject.
The Kidd’s will also continue to celebrate the birth of little Nina but in In conclusion Teresa added: “It is so important for people to hear our story, families should not have to suffer in silence or alone. For us, as a family, the most important thing is that all our children are acknowledged. Nina will grow up knowing she has three siblings, life is life no matter the gestation and should be respected as such."
If you have been affected in any way by this story you can find more information by visiting sandsni.org. or www.kickscount.org.uk.
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