Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ella's Story

Ella Gilvarry - Born sleeping 12.11.10

My daughter Ella was born sleeping on the 12.11.10 at 2.57pm in Liverpool Womans Hospital My wife had a normal birth and Ella was as beautiful as her 3 sisters in every way but one! She never had the chance to laugh, cry, smile and show the world her beauty. WHY!

We knew we had lost Ella before she was born, we had been told at a routine midwife appointment 2 days previous. She was 39 week term when she died. My wife is a fit, healthy young mother and we never had any signs throughout the pregnancy of any issues. To walk into a maternity ward hand in hand knowing we would have nothing at the end of it was horrendous. No need for a car seat, a bag of clothes for a few days. Just a life of lost dreams. We were given a private room and my wife was induced, we sat patiently...The cries of new born babies everywhere, this was unbearable. After Ella was born, I cut her cord, as I had for her 3 sisters, I told my wife how she looked just like them, I broke down. At that moment my attention turned directly to my wife. My job was to protect her, support her, love her. The midwives did what they could but no words will cover these moments. In hindsight I should have asked so much more, maybe I was afraid of the answers. WHY!

We spent most of the day with Ella, we held her, kissed her and remarked how beautiful she was. We decided to allow her sisters to come to see her, they were 5, 3 and 18 months. We felt it was important that they knew Ella was born, knew what she looked like and understand that she was too special for this world. Ella existed and shouldn't be hidden away. It was lovely to see them stroke her and kiss her goodbye, I'm happy we did this.

The days after were filled with pain, pity and anger. I tried to create a bubble around my family, it's my job to protect them, we shut the world out. Ella's funeral was a very private event and I'm comfortable with how we dealt with it. I was hoping to carry her basket on my own but couldn't manage it. My dad who walks with a stick, helped me, I'm proud and grateful for that. The support and love we received truly changed my life. After 3/4 months of utter self pity we decided to try and make a difference. We decided that as Ella never had a chance, we would use her spirit to make a mark on this world. Before we lost Ella, I know nothing about stillbirth, knew no one that had lost (although I'm sure they were in my life) On researching this, I was shocked and horrified with the results that came back.4000 babies a year, average of 11 a day WHY!

How could we live in a country as advanced as ours, where 11 babies a day die and 30% of them are unknown deaths (4) I'm a practical sort of man and I couldn't understand that 4 babies deaths everyday are unexplained and we not only know nothing  about it, we are also doing very little about it. WHY!

We set up a fundraising foundation in Feb 2011 in memory of Ella. Our aim was to gather like minded people to raise awareness of stillbirth and also help sick children’s charities. We just wanted to make a difference and breakdown the taboo to stillbirth. People get shocked at how openly we talk about Ella and stillbirth, it's not a dirty word. Ella is my daughter, just like her sisters and I love her and will talk about until my last breath. In August 2011 we organised a charity team to take part in a 5km fun run in Liverpool for Tommys baby charity. We had 44 Team Ella runners from all over the UK and Ireland and we raised in excess of £8000 for Tommys. For us, this was immense and was a fitting day for Ella. It was the opposite to her sad private funeral. All our closest and dearest friends and family came, we had a marquee and food with happy smiling people everywhere. It was a celebration of her spirit. Ella never lived, but while we do what we can to raise awareness to stillbirth...She will never really die. In 2011 we raised £17,000 for stillbirth and childrens charities, this is how I've come to know Heather and the fantastic work she is doing. We aim to work harder in 2012 and do more, thats all we can do. I've realised in life now, that I can make a difference, I can help, charity is very important. WHY!

Because we can make a difference x

Ella's Dad

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