Hi my names Rob, I would like to thank Hannah for giving us dads a platform to tell our stories.
Like most soon to be parents as soon as Kate passed the 12 week scan we thought we were in the safe zone. Watching our baby grow was an amazing experience for me. I remember making plans in my head for holidays and all the adventures we would be doing in our lives with our baby.
On Wednesday 5th August 2015 our world changed forever, after a nearly textbook pregnancy, our son was born via emergency C-section and within a matter of hours we had gone from excited parents to be to ones who were having to say goodbye to our son, Theo.
Two days earlier Kate had a routine midwife appointment where everything looked ok. There was a small trace of protein in her urine, but was told that was normal at this stage.
On the Wednesday Kate text me to say that the baby wasn’t moving as normal, I feel pretty guilty for not dropping everything and taking Kate to the hospital, but as a first time parent you don’t think of the worst that can happen. We had dinner and Kate had a cold drink to see if that would make the baby move a bit more but nothing worked so we decided to go to the labour ward to get checked over. I’m so glad we did as I was told later if we hadn’t of gone Kate would have died that night.
Kate said she had a slight head ache at the back of her head, the midwife checked Kate’s blood pressure on one machine and then another, we later found out it was because she didn’t think there were working due to the readings, it was around 220/160 dangerously high. Immediately a consultant was called in as soon as she saw the readings she said that the baby had to be delivered now. Kate had developed severe Pre-eclampsia. At this point the whole atmosphere changed in the room, we both panicked in the space of 5 minutes I was told to get into scrubs as about 10 people worked on Kate getting her ready for theatre, as at that point their main concern was dropping Kate’s BP before the baby could be delivered. I was then told I wouldn’t be going in as they needed to be quick so decided for a general anaesthetic, it was horrible to see Kate like that so frightened and nothing I could have done to help her.
It happened so quick and in no time I was left in a room on my own for quite a while, I rang Kate’s mum and my parents and explained what had happened and they headed in. It was all a bit of a blur the Consultant and midwife came to talk to me the Consultant was crying. I was told Kate was ok, but very poorly and Theo had suffered pretty extensive brain damage as he had been born without a heart beat and they had to work on him for 30 minutes before they managed to find a heartbeat (they only continued for this long as they had to wait for an on call register to come in) I was taken to wait outside theatre and about 8 nurses and doctors came out with my son on an incubator bed.
Still to this day this is a very surreal imagine you never think the first time you meet your son or daughter would be like this. That whole night so much happened I don’t think I will ever truly come to terms with it all.
I remember Kate coming around and she asked if the baby was ok and I said yes, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her, it was her mum that told her, I was in such mess I didn’t know what was going on.
You never think that you will be sat talking to pediatrician about turning machines off, as there was nothing they could do for your son. I felt totally powerless and useless as a father and husband not to be able help my family when they needed it the most.
We managed to get our family in to meet Theo, had time to change and bathe him thanks to the incredible staff at the hospital. On Friday 7th August Theo took his last breath in Kate’s arms with me there with them. I will never forget that moment, after being with him for a few more hours we had to make the decision to take him to the ward to be collected for the morgue. I think I left a piece of me with him that night. Turning around and walking away from him there in the room on he’s own was the worst point of my life.
All the first’s were so different to what I dreamed off as we registered his birth and death in the same morning, instead of ringing all our friends and family to tell them the safe arrival our baby, I had to give them the news that our son had died. Each phone call drained me but I had to do it.
We came home after a week in hospital as Kate was still very poorly. That week was like being in a bubble we felt close to Theo when we were there, it was so very hard coming home and leaving with just a memory box. We arrived home I had to just close the door to his nursery.
The weeks after I remember feeling very down and my wife just crying out for our son at night and me not being able to help her. This made me feel very useless as men we fix things and this I could never fix.
As we prepared for Theo’s funeral we decided we both we wanted to say something so we set about writing our thoughts and love for our son down and we chose some music to play. At the funeral I carried him in and I am very proud to have been able to say the words I had written for him.
Sometimes I still know don’t think it’s ever really sunk in that our son died, it sometimes feels like someone else’s story. My overriding memory of those first few weeks were emptiness and feeling totally useless to Kate and anyone. If I couldn’t help my son and wife when the needed me when what use was I at all. .
In the weeks and months after Theo I think I was fortunate with a great friends and family network that helped me and Kate through this dark time.
I’m very Proud of Theo and to hear from people we have never met that they have heard about him makes my heart burst with pride.
I decided that I wanted to raise as much money and awareness of pre-eclampsia. To date we have raised over £30,000 in his name and we will carry on for as long as I can.
Since Theo’s death I feel I have his strength he showed us in the hospital in me, he has changed the way I see life, I am very passionate about dads story’s being heard and I will always try to help any fathers that has gone through a death of a baby. The community in Instagram and twitter is so amazing and inspiring.
If you are reading this and you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, life does get manageable after time, we miss Theo everyday but his memory lives on in all we do. If you would like to hear our story or contact us please head to www.4theo.co.uk and search #4Theoa on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.