A DEVASTATED mum has revealed her daughter was stillborn just two days after midwives ignored her concerns about her baby’s heartbeat.
Shelley Russell, 38, from Aycliffe, Dover, was 36 weeks pregnant with baby Tallulah-Rai when she went to hospital for a fetal heart rate scan – having noticed her baby wasn’t moving as much as normal.
She claims she was told there was “nothing to worry about” – but two days later she and her builder partner Nicholas Edwards, 48, found out their baby had died in the womb.
The heartbroken couple spent two days in hospital with their little girl and were horrified to later find midwifery notes which said the reading was “poor quality”.
A post-mortem revealed Tallulah-Rai had died of oxygen deficiency and Buckland Hospital is now investigating, after her parents complained.
Stay-at-home mum Shelley said: “When we found out she had died I felt broken. I just started screaming and was in bits.
“All of our hopes and dreams had come to an end. Our whole world came crashing down on top of us.
“I knew I should not have been sent home. I knew something wasn’t quite right. It was my gut instinct.
“It’s devastating. I feel as though my baby’s death could have been prevented.
“The grief is unbelievable. I spend every day wishing we have our baby girl here with us.”
It’s devastating. I feel as though my baby’s death could have been prevented
Shelley and Nicholas, who are engaged, both have two kids from previous relationships – but always longed to have their own child together.
After being told she had a blocked fallopian tube in July 2017, Shelley had lost hope, but fell pregnant with her miracle baby after 18 months of trying.
Shelley, who’s mum to Charlie-Jade Whitehouse, 19, and Crystal-Marie Russell, 13, said: “It was the best feeling in the world. It was amazing. We were so excited and couldn’t wait.
“We couldn’t believe we were going to have our own little girl together. We wanted to have something to share together and it just felt right.”
The excited parents-to-be spent thousands kitting out their spare room with baby essentials – including toys, clothes, a cot, pram and even nappies.
But everything they bought for their baby remains untouched, unworn and with the tags still on.
Shelley said: “We spent thousands. We had everything we could have possibly needed, literally everything you can imagine.
“We were ready for her. We had clothes that would fit her when she would be aged one.”
Shelley had her first inkling something wasn’t right when she woke on January 23.
She phoned her midwife and was told to go to Buckland Hospital, in Dover, for a CTG (cardiotocography scan) to monitor a baby’s heart rate.
When we found out she had died I felt broken. I just started screaming and was in bits
She says she was shown a tracing of her baby’s heart rate and told “if you’re happy, I’m happy”, by a midwife.
Shelley said: “I haven’t got a clue about anything like this but I had no reason to question her.”
Just two days later, Shelley woke to realise her baby had stopped kicking, and rushed to the maternity ward.
The couple had another scan – and were told their baby had died. She was stillborn by C-section on January 28.
Shelley said: “I feel like our baby has been taken away from us for no reason. Our daughter should still be with us. It’s been horrendous for us.”
The couple spent two days in hospital with their daughter, with Shelley revealing: “I gave her a thousand cuddles.
“She never left my side the whole time. It makes me incredibly sad she’s not here but we are still such proud parents.”
At a bereavement clinic on April 23, the couple heard how investigations revealed the CTG didn’t work properly.
Experts claimed the test should have been repeated.
The midwife said, ‘if you’re happy, I’m happy’. I had no reason to question her
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Niyi Agboola reviewed the medical records and found Shelley’s CTG had a note on it – saying “poor quality trace”.
During the test, a belt is placed around the mother’s stomach and the baby’s heart rate is mapped out on a piece of paper – which is referred to as a trace.
In a letter to Shelley’s GP, Dr Agboola questioned “why was she sent home?”
It reads: “The question to me was, on review of the notes, why was she sent home on January 23 when she presented to the maternity day unit at Buckland Hospital with reduced fetal movement?
“I have had a look at the tracing of the CTG. She had one on January 11 and January 23 and I have compared both tracings.
“Certainly, there is some difference in both tracings. The tracing on January 11 is essentially normal.
“However, the tracing on January 23 had a comment made on it which said ‘poor quality trace’ after she presented with reduced fetal movements.
“The question to me was, why was she not kept on tracing a bit longer or an ultrasound arranged?
“That is what I would have expected and I cannot really answer why this was not done.”
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The parents had a funeral for Tallulah-Rose on March 7 and Shelley and Nicholas have kept her ashes in a box at home.
Shelley says has complained to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALs) following her daughter’s death and her treatment at Buckland Hospital in January.
She has been told her complaint is being investigated and to expect an update on July 11.
Sarah Landers, a spokesperson for East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, who run Buckland Hospital, said: “We would like to send our sincerest condolences to Ms Russell and her family at this very sad time.”
Last week, we spoke to a mum who had a stroke 29 weeks into her ‘normal’ pregnancy – now she’s paralysed at 24.