Our story by Ben Moorhouse
Back in February 2018 something happened that neither me nor Gaynor thought would ever happen. It was not planned, and it was a huge shock and surprise. We had become pregnant and in only nine months’ time we were going to become parents to a little girl or boy.
For myself (Ben) for the first few months of the pregnancy I was scared and nervous of the life changing moment that would enter our hearts in the near future. I was worried that because I had no experience of babies that I would not do things right.
The biggest change for myself and Gaynor that we had to speak about immediately was the 150-mile Extreme Challenge Walk we had planned in August for The Steve Prescott Foundation where we would attempt to be the first people to walk around the full island in only 48 hours at the hottest & most humid time of the summer. We decided that the show must go on and I would do the walk by myself and Gaynor would be the lead support person in the car for the full Extreme Challenge ( 6 months pregnant in Rhodes ) We decided that we would not share our news and the change with our supporters and followers until we reach the “ safe point “ of the pregnancy ( 20 week scan )
The weeks passed and we attended all appointments with the midwife and had the routine scans as planned.
It was not until you see this little person growing inside on the scan display screen at the hospital that you develop a love that you have never experienced before.
We attended a very important appointment at the hospital – at this scan we would find out the sex of our child. As normal all checks were ok, and we were informed that we would be having a girl.
As the days, weeks and months passed our love for our daughter grew stronger and stronger.
We went to Rhodes for the Extreme Challenge Walk which was successfully completed in 45 hours. Gaynor doing an amazing job supporting Ben at 6 months pregnant. Knowing that I could tell my daughter about the Extreme Challenge Walk and hopefully inspiring her in life helped me get to the finish line. The next time we would go to Rhodes would be as a family of three.
Upon our return from Rhodes we started to get ready for the big arrival in November with the due date as the 10th November. In the weeks that followed we spent over £5000 getting ready. The house ready from top to bottom, her bedroom ready, all items bought with hours of thought, and clothes washed , ironed and placed in her little draws. All done through love. Been a parent is the most special gift and the biggest responsibility that is given to you.
Gaynor finished work on her annual leave only a few weeks before the due date with her Maternity leave starting in early November. After a visit to the midwife to go through the birthplan and for measurements we were referred to the hospital on the same week for another extra “bonus “scan to check all measurements were ok.
We went to the hospital on the Thursday for nearly seven hours for different checks. We were then seen by a consultant who said “everything is ok – come back next week for another scan “
In the days that followed everything seemed normal, Kallipateira was kicking and moving with her same daily routine. We protected her with every bit of love we had.
On Wednesday 24th October Gaynor attended the appointment for the referred scan from the previous week. I ( Ben ) had been to all previous appointments but we both made a decision that due to the previous week and been told everything was OK I would be ok to go to work.
The sonographer in the room started to go over the display screen moving her instrument around Gaynor’s stomach to check babies’ measurements. The Sonographer left the room to bring in some colleagues to also have a look at the display of Kallipateira.
With less than two weeks to go until the due date the sonographer gave the devastating news. Kallipateira had no heartbeat. Our baby girl had died. Only hours before she was moving about inside as normal.
The Midwives contacted Ben at work to advise he must make his way to the hospital immediately but did not give any details on the phone. I made my way to Calderdale Royal Hospital knowing inside something had happened.
In a bereavement suite we spoke to our much-loved midwife Jenny. We discussed what would happen next. From feeling your baby moving only hours before you are then told that Gaynor needs to take a tablet to stop the full hormonal process for the pregnancy. This moment ripped our hearts apart even more. Are we having the worst nightmare ever and will we wake up at any second? Is this really happening? At this moment apart of us died. We had planned the rest of our life, hopes and dreams for Kallipateira. Within hours this was now not happening.
Jenny was absolutely brilliant in every way possible. We were advised that we would need to return home and come back two days later on the Friday morning to have a natural birth for Kallipateira. Knowing Jenny would be with us all day on the Friday made things feel easier to deal with. We could not have asked for a better person.
We walked back home from the hospital in tears, shaking and feeling destroyed.
In the next day and a half, we informed family and close friends of our devastating news.
Our suitcase was already packed for the day of the arrival – ready for a baby that would be coming home with us. We had to somehow then make changes to what was in the bag- the reality was some of the items were now not needed to be taken as our baby girl was now dead and not alive.
On Friday 26th October, Gaynor’s waters broke in the early hours and with our suitcase ready we made our way by taxi to the hospital.
We were in the same bereavement room as the Wednesday. The room had its own bathroom, TV . radio and drinks facilities. There was a display wall with the ocean on. But there were no windows with natural light.
We had not been to bed for 48 hours. We had not eaten for 48 hours.
With the support and care of Jenny, colleagues and of course myself Gaynor went through a full natural 15-hour labour knowing what the end outcome would be. How she did this with no sleep or food in 48 hours we don’t know.
At 5:05pm on 26th October our stunning daughter Kallipateira Rodothea Moorhouse was born sleeping. She weighed 7, 3 and had a head full of dark black hair- even Jenny the midwife was amazed by how much hair she had.
Gaynor went straight to theatre to have work done on some severe tears.
Upon returning Gaynor laid in the bed and I sat next to her waiting for our daughter to be brought through to us in her special basket which would keep her body cool.
Kallipateira was brought into the room and I could not get up fast enough to meet and see her. It was an even bigger love at first sight. Our hearts had been ripped apart but when we got to see her we were so proud. We had created such a beautiful young lady. Our baby. Our daughter. She was dressed in her Snowman & Snowdog Christmas suit and booties. Underneath she wore a very special vest – a vest with photo of myself at the start line of the Extreme Challenge. To keep her head safe, she wore a lovely knitted hat by Gaynor’s colleague and friend Kath.
The hardest thing to deal with was we could hear babies been born and crying down the ward. Why should these people be ok and not us? What have we done so wrong to deserve this?
In the hours ahead, we held Kallipateira with every ounce of love we had for her and more. We slept with her during the night and we could not keep our eyes off her. In the morning we held her so close. I held her and listened to Greek music and sang to her, something I would have done every single day had everything been ok.
We had photographs taken with Kallipateira and spent more time with Jenny to discuss how we were feeling and more. Jenny is worth her weight in gold. As the hours passed, we were given a memory box with lots of little items in which we could remember Kallipateira with, a very nice touch from the charity who provided the memory box.
The time come when we had to kiss Kallipateira and say goodbye to our baby girl we would not see in “body again “We spoke to her telling her how much we love her, and how proud we will make her. She is and always will be the love of my life.
Jenny sat with us to discuss what will happen going forward, what support is available, and we went through the required paperwork. The most difficult subject to discuss was the funeral which we would need to decide on and arrange. Thankfully a family member is an undertaker with his own business.
We decided that Gaynor was ok to be discharged to go home and at 6PM we left the Calderdale Hospital.
Upon walking down the labour ward corridor and leaving we were met coming through the doors by a family who all had “Congratulations “balloons for someone who obviously had an ok baby. How cruel for us. Another stab in the back.
We returned home with Gaynor having gone through a 15-hour labour, but we were empty handed. All we had to bring home was a “shoebox “. The house felt empty. Her little bedroom already standing there quiet. Her little white draws full of clothes bought with love.
We had to wait three weeks for the Funeral at the Snowdrop Chapel at Park Wood. We were given the gift of meeting Heather David who did the service for us. A lady with total understanding, love and care for us and Kallipateira. We now call Heather a friend. The Celebration was perfect in every way. I carried her pink casket on my knees from the chapel of rest to the Park Wood. I was so so proud as her father. We entered the celebration to the very same music we listened too with Kallipateira in the hospital and ended with The Snowman and Snowdog theme – Light the night. During the service we spoke about her very special name, love and how she has had such a positive impact on our lives and many more.