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My heart is truly broken. by Leanne Jowett

I gave birth to my son Leo on 10th March. He was a much-wanted baby brother to Noah and Jack and our longed-for 3rd baby.

Our family was complete. From pretty much the beginning I knew there was something different about my pregnancy. Call it mother's intuition, I couldn't put my finger on exactly what the problem was, I just knew the pregnancy felt different.

I had had a pretty traumatic delivery with my other son's and questioned if this could be the issue with Leo's pregnancy. I was assured on many occasions that this was simply not the case. I started to bleed at around 14 weeks gestation, the bleeding got progressively worse but each time I was checked over and sent home no closer to getting the answers I needed. This was difficult. I knew that bleeding wasn't normal and the longer it went on the more I worried.

We talked it over with our other children trying to explain in a way they would understand. We told them that our baby was trying hard to stay with us and that the Doctors were trying help him but that he was very small. I don't know why but I just knew. I knew I wouldn't be bringing him home. I didn't even buy anything for him during my pregnancy.

Why? Why didn't I spoil him like I had my other two children? I was admitted into hospital for monitoring on 8th March. At this point we had found out that the water around Leo was low and that I had PPROM but we were hopeful.

My boy was active and growing well (2 weeks in front in fact). His little heart was strong, despite everything he was fighting to stay with us, to be a part of our family who would love and adore every inch of him. The Doctors had spoken about getting to 24 weeks gestation and having steroids to help his lungs. Things were looking up; we were talking about the future in a positive way but sadly it wasn't to be.

I started having contractions that night. My body was failing, it was working against my baby and I was powerless to stop it. I had pain relief and fell asleep. The next morning when I woke the midwife came in to have a listen in the Leo, she couldn't get a clear reading of his heartbeat using the monitor and went to get the Doctor to perform an USS. I knew he was alive; I could feel him moving but I could feel they he had dropped; he was so low in my pelvis. I got up to use the bathroom and that was it. My son made his entrance into the world. I delivered him stood beside my bed. The midwife came back in and sat me down.

I did not dare to look at first. What would I see? What would he look like? Would he be fully formed? He was so early; I was shocked and scared. I remember asking the midwife what he was like and she replied "Beautiful. Leanne, he is beautiful." She wasn't wrong! My boy was perfect. He had the cutest button nose and was the perfect combination of his older brothers. I was so proud of him. I wanted to show him off to everyone! I'm not sure what I had expected but none of that mattered. My fear melted and was replaced by that love, that love you feel as a mummy.

That love that can overcome everything. You know in an instant that this perfect little human was all yours and that you couldn't ever feel as complete as you do in that moment.

My son was with me and nothing else mattered. Leo was born at 20weeks and 3 days gestation. He weighed 12oz and was born breathing. He tried to cry the tiniest sound, like a little mouse squeaking.

I knew there was now nothing that could be done. The only thing anyone could offer my beautiful baby was love and so that's what I did. I just loved him. During that 1 hour and 47 minutes his mighty heart continued to beat I told him all about his family, how loved he is and how strong he was.

I told him that nobody could ever love him like his mama did. I held him close and I kissed his beautiful little face more times than I could count. I breathed every inch of him in and kept him warm, snuggly and close to me as he passed away peacefully. It brings me comfort now knowing that all my boy ever knew was love.

It's been 7 months since Our Leo passed away. 11 months without feeling him move inside my tummy. 11 months without kissing his perfect face. 11 months without breathing him into my chest so deeply that it fills the void that has been left there. My son fought so so hard to be here with us and this was the reason we chose Leo as his name. It means courageous and that was him, that was my boy. He had the heart of a lion; he was small but he was mighty. My other children talk about him all the time and he will always be very much a part of our family but I struggle. I miss him so much that it physically hurts my entire body. I feel like someone has put their hand inside my chest and ripped a chunk of my body out. My heart is truly broken.


But hey, what can we do? Us mummies who are without their babies, what can we do? We can keep going, we can move forward and tell the world about our perfect little angels and the impact they had. We can stand strong, stand together and we can continue to love as only a mummy can


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