'My whole body was numb' - Mother tells of trauma of losing her baby girl
"I had dreams of her crying. It felt so real."
Those were the words of a Lowestoft mother as she recalled the trauma of losing her daughter Lexi just over a year ago.
Tameira Eagle, 19, spoke out to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week this week.
The teenager found out she was pregnant when she was just 17 and although it came as a surprise, as her and boyfriend Jordan Bucknole had always used protection, she was excited to welcome her daughter to the world.
Tameira said: “I was shocked and happy at the same time.”
Her pregnancy passed without any problems and finally on September 28 last year she was taken to the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH), in Gorleston, to be induced.
Three days later Tameira had still not had her baby, or been moved to the delivery suite for her waters to be broken, despite asking to be.
But as it was her birthday, she left the ward to have lunch in the hospital cafe with her family.
Tameira said: “I could feel my baby moving but when I went back to the ward after having some lunch [one of the midwives] said she could pick up baby’s movement but my contractions were not picking up.”
Clinicians tried another machine and put Tameira on a drip but then a heartbeat could not be found.
She said: “[The midwife] put me in god knows how many positions and she couldn’t find anything, she called over a consultant, that’s when he told me there was nothing that could be done.”
Distraught, Tameira and Jordan went home for the night to process the devastating events.
But they faced the traumatic prospect of returning to the hospital the next day as they were told Tameira would still need to deliver Lexi.
“My whole body was numb,” she said.
Tameira had to endure 15 hours of labour the next day before finally doctors performed a C-section and Lexi Georgia Mae Bucknole was born at around 2am.
Little Lexi was put straight into an incubator and taken to Tameira’s room.
“They kept asking me if I wanted to see her,” she said. “But I couldn’t get the strength. I couldn’t even look at her, it was the worry of not knowing what I was going to see and what she was going to look like.
“For those nights she was in my room, when I would try to sleep at night I would get these dreams of her crying, it felt so real to me.”
Tameira was also scared she would not feel anything if she held her daughter, but on her final day in hospital, she said she “got the courage to hold Lexi”.
She said: “I wanted to hold her before I left or I would have regretted it, but it just broke my heart even more because I couldn’t take her home.”
Tameira and Jordan visited Lexi in the bereavement suite every two days until her funeral.
And the couple are now keeping her memory alive my donating baby clothes to the suite so parents can dress their children.
Tameira said she was still struggling to come to terms with Lexi’s death.
“You feel the guilty and you know you shouldn’t because you know it’s not your fault but when you go through something like that you can’t help it,” she said.
“I won’t ever stop feeling the guilt, I still feel it to this day. There’s not a day where I don’t think about what happened.”
Tameira is now pregnant again, with a baby girl due in January, although she expects to be induced earlier.
“I have been worried,” she said. “I’m always asking to see my midwife for scans.”
She said her advice to anyone else who had lost a baby was to ask for professional help.
“Don’t hold it in,” she said. “I made that mistake of not getting the help and now I find myself crying when I’m on my own most of the time.”
• If you need help with pregnancy or baby loss, visit www.timenorfolk.org.uk or call 03333 058552, or visit www.foundationforinfantloss.co.uk.