My baby daughter Raya Sian Bryant was stillborn on 27/5/2015 when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I was told the cause was placental abruption. We’d been through IVF to conceive her after I’d experienced early menopause after the birth of my first son Jagger in 2013.
We learned that Raya had died during an ultrasound, but we would have to return the next day to have it confirmed by an official ultrasound and then be given tablets to bring on labour. No support was offered that night and no one called me or came around to check if we were OK or to explain what would have to happen next. We were left entirely in the dark. We felt so alone and heartbroken.
When you give birth you're already tired and emotional from the labour, but when you give birth to a baby that has died there is an overwhelming sense of emptiness and sadness. I was secretly hoping Raya would come out crying - that the doctors had it wrong. I held my breath, but the room was silent. Everyone was silent.
I didn’t know if I wanted to hold her at first. I was shaking in fear, but I knew that I should because I would never be able to get that time back again. We were able to spend 3 days with her as she was in a cuddle cot. I spent most of the time with her in the cot next to me just staring at her, still in disbelief that my baby had died. I felt like my body had failed me. I felt that I didn’t want to face the world. I not only had given birth to my baby girl but I had to start planning a funeral at the same time.
I remember every minute of every hour from the day that I didn’t feel her kick to the day we left the hospital. After Raya's funeral my husband and son followed the funeral car to the crematorium and let off balloons. I remember feeling sick and I couldn’t breathe. I was so scared I thought I was going to die. My husband rushed me to the hospital and they ran tests. I know now that I had a panic attack. The pain was just too unbearable for me to take.
I feel like by speaking out about Raya and my journey it helps me with my grief. By doing so I've now met many women who have lost a baby and I find comfort in talking to them because they've had a similar experience to me and know what it feels like to be living with being happy and sad at the same time. They know what it is like to be upset because as the years go by you are further away from the last time you saw your baby, but then feeling happy that you are that much closer to being with them again.
Red Nose merged with Sands last year and I started to receive their emails and reading all about them as an organisation. I attended a memorial walk in 2019 and thought it was amazing how everyone was able to remember their little one and include their whole family.
Red Nose Day helps support families like mine that have lost a child, giving them a voice, and helping them connect with others who know what they are going through.
I’ve since gone on to have a rainbow baby, Oakland, born in 2016. My sister donated her egg and we conceived him through IVF.