‘We can’t find a heartbeat’ are the words that every expectant mother dreads.
And when excited mum-to-be Natasha Jago heard them, her world came crashing down. But Natasha and her South Normanton family have turned their heartbreak into an inspiring mission to raise awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death.
The 26-year-old was already mum to Skye, Leo and Ava, when she found out she was expecting baby number four with partner Paul Jackson.
The couple, and both of their families were ecstatic at the thought of a new addition, and the pregnancy and Naatasha said the pregnancy was smooth sailing until towards the end.
She said: “I didn’t have any problems during the first stages of pregnancy. But towards the end the baby had an increased heart rate, so they kept an eye on us both.
“At 36 weeks I went in as I was having pains and something didn’t feel right. But after the normal checks I was put at ease that everything was ok. But two days later – during a scan at Royal Derby Hospital – I heard those dreaded words.
“The sonographer was laughing and joking and then suddenly it was silent. I was told that our beautiful little girl Rey Rosemary Jackson had died. Her heart had stopped beating sometime in the previous two days.
“Both Paul and myself were absolutely heartbroken, how do you cope with the loss of your child? It really is every parents worst nightmare.”
The couple were taken down to the Butterfly Suite and Garden – a private space and facilities for the comfort of bereaved parents, where Natasha gave birth to Rey on August 6.
She said: “The room is private and away from the other labour suites where you can hear newborn babies crying. It is kitted out with a sofa and kitchen facilities, with plenty of room for friends and family at any time. Once Rey was born, we were given a special cot for her and time with her, in our own little bubble.
“The staff were absolutely amazing and did everything they could to help and support us, especially bereavement midwife Sue Rucklidge. She helped us organise a baptism which our friends and family attended before we said goodbye.
“We truly were overwhelmed by how amazing the staff were, so when we left the hospital we decided we wanted to give something back.”
The family decided to fundraise for the hospital, specifically to help fund a second Butterly suite so other families can grieve in comfort and privacy.
The target was to raise £1,000, which the family have now smashed, but are hoping to continue to raise more through a string of charity events.
“We have been blown away by people’s generosity. We asked for donations rather than flowers and then set up the Just Giving page, and by word of mouth it has just spiralled.”
The couple have been in talks with the hospital and are set to be involved in the transformation of the next Butterfly Suite – something which is important to Natasha.
“Having been in that situation I can empathise with other mums and understand what they want and need, which I hope I can put forward when the suite is under construction. The fundraising has given us all something to focus on.
“This heartbreaking experience has taught us how to survive. It has also surprised us at how many people we have spoken to who have gone through the same thing.
“We just hope that this story will make a difference. And Rey’s story didn’t end on that day, her legacy will live on through our fundraising.”
For more informamtion or to make a donation visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Babyreyrosemary.