By Kim, mum of Abby, Sienna and James
“Abigail was our long-awaited second baby. I fell pregnant quickly with my first baby (Sienna, who is now 8 years old) – she was the stock-standard 40-week pregnancy.
“When we decided to try again, it took longer, and it wasn’t easy like the first time.
“I found out I was having a girl, and I can still remember how we joked with the sonographer about my hubby being convinced that this time we were having a boy.
Everything was fine up until that point
“We weren’t concerned with anything, and our doctors weren’t concerned with anything.
“I was just hitting the 23-week mark when I noticed some blood, which there never was with Sienna. I panicked and headed straight to the hospital.
“When I arrived at the hospital, they found there was very little fluid around Abby, although she still had a heartbeat, and I could still feel her moving around.
“It wasn’t until my obstetrician told us what this meant for Abby, that it hit me we were in for a really scary ride.
We still thought everything would be OK
“We really just thought Abby would be born early and that she’d be premature, we were really focused on preparing for that battle.
“One of the nurses suggested that I record Abby's heartbeat – the sound file is still on my phone to this day.
“At around two in the morning on 25 January, they came to do their checks.
“The room was very silent and I kind of knew before they said it, ‘I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat’.
I felt like I was having an out of body experience
“It was like I was looking down on myself and the room. I remember wondering where the strange noise was coming from when I realised it was me making a weird, wailing sound.
“Abby was born just after midnight on January 26.
“They asked us if we wanted to look at her. I knew I wanted to look at her and hold her, but I didn’t know what she would look like.
“When I saw her, she was so perfect, she had her sister’s nose. I remember making a comment that again I didn’t get a look-in at all – she looked exactly like her sister, who looks like her dad.
“It was hard trying to fit in a lifetime of cuddles in our short time together.
It was a horrible, horrible feeling leaving the hospital without her
“It was the strangest feeling walking out of the hospital without her in my arms.
“We were given an Angel Memory Bear and it went everywhere with me. I got really protective of it. John, my husband, would ask if he could look at it but I couldn’t put it down – it was the only thing I had to hold on to that was hers.
“We had Abby cremated, and when we got her ashes home, I took her around and showed her everything. I showed her where her nursey was, and her big sister’s bedroom. I showed her our family photo wall, where there was a space on the wall for her photo.
“Going to Red Nose’s remembrance service the first year is something I will never forget.
“We still have the message on the card we wrote for Abby, and we still have the flower we were given.
“These things are a tangible piece of Abby that we will have forever.
“We do something every January 26 to remember her. We have a birthday party – a picnic where we had her memorial, we get little cupcakes and we sing happy birthday.
“Sienna loves to release a balloon for Abby – and we always get two balloons – one for Sienna to keep until it deflates, and one we let go for Abby.
We have grown so much from losing her and going through what we did.
“When we were ready to try again, I fell pregnant with James.
“With James, my membrane ruptured again, same as it did with Abby, only this time I felt it and knew what had happened.
“James was born very early, at 28 weeks. He’s not a replacement for Abby, he’s a different being and he will grow up knowing all about his sister.
“James was still in the hospital on what would have been Abby’s third birthday, but my husband was determined he wouldn’t miss out on the birthday party, so he arranged for an oxygen tank so we could wheel James outside.
It will be six years in January
“It’s now been six years, which seems like a long time, but in some ways it really isn’t.
“Whenever we do family portraits, all our children are in them – Sienna, James and Abby’s teddy.
Say their name
“There’s still so much silence around stillbirth – but I think the more we talk about it, the better because it’s more common than we all think.
“I used to be nervous talking about Abby because I didn’t want to upset the other person, but now I realise it’s not my job to make other people feel comfortable – this is who I am, I am a mother of three children.
“Talking about Abby is wonderful, it means the world to me when other people say her name and remember her.
“Even though others never got to meet Abby, she is still part of our family and deserves to be recognised as such.
“When someone other than me and my husband remembers Abby, it means so much because it means it’s not just us remembering her – they are acknowledging that she existed and that she is forever loved.
“And that’s why I think Say Their Name day is so important – it’s a simple but powerful gesture, and it has such a big impact for families.
Say Their Name Day is on March 25 – a special day to remember all of the little lives we have loved and lost, and support bereaved families.