By Kim Reader
A brave mum has shared heartbreaking photos taken with her stillborn baby after she awoke from a coma to be told he had been dead for THREE WEEKS.
Kerry Tellwright, 34, and her fiancé Craig Hill, 47, were ‘over the moon’ when they found out they were expecting after eight years of trying, two rounds of IVF and an early miscarriage of twins.
However, despite a normal pregnancy, in her 38th week Kerry started to experience pain in her left shoulder that ‘felt like a trapped nerve’.
Days later she was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered an ultra-rare condition had led to a rupture in her liver and spleen – and her baby boy had died.
But after spending seven days in an induced coma and a fortnight unconscious in intensive care, Kerry did not discover the tragic news until she came to and was able to hold her son’s body that had been kept in a cold cot for three weeks.
Kerry is now sharing the deeply personal photos in a bid to raise awareness of HELLP syndrome, the condition that claimed her little boy’s life.
Kerry, from Stoke-On-Trent, Staffs, said: “I woke up one morning with a pain in my shoulder – it felt just like a trapped nerve so I thought I had slept funny.
“Ten days later it was still there and I also started to feel quite sick. I just knew something wasn’t right so I called the maternity ward and they told us to come in.
“The last thing I remember was getting into the car with Craig and pulling off the drive.
“I now know that I started to have a seizure and Craig had to pull over to get me out the car because I was swallowing my tongue.
“An amazing kind stranger pulled over to help him and call 999. I had another seizure on the roadside and a third in the ambulance.
“When I got to the hospital my blood pressure was through the roof. They gave me something to slow it down and rushed me in for an emergency caesarean.
“When they opened me up my uterus was completely white from where I had bled out internally and Archie was stillborn at 8:55pm.
“When they tried to find why I’d had the bleed they discovered that my liver and spleen had ruptured.
“They removed my spleen but I wasn’t clotting. I had to be given seven and a half pints of blood and they couldn’t stitch me up so they packed the wound and put me in an induced coma.
“I didn’t get to see Archie, I didn’t get to wash him or dress him, I didn’t get to do anything.
“A week after he was born they brought me round and there are pictures of Craig holding him next to me but I don’t remember it at all, I was on so much medication.
“It wasn’t until I came to again two weeks later. I just knew as soon as I realised Archie wasn’t with me that he had died. It was such a scary place to be in.
“I thought I was going into hospital to give birth to him so to wake up with nothing was heartbreaking.
“But three weeks after he was born I got to hold him for the first. It was amazing. He was my baby boy. I had wanted him for so long and he was finally in my arms.”
The pain in Kerry’s shoulder was transferred pain from her liver failing, a symptom of HELLP syndrome.
The condition is usually diagnosed when pregnant mum’s suffer high blood pressure and high protein in their urine but Kerry didn’t have either of these symptoms.
The first-time mum was rushed to Burton Hospital, Staffs, on June 17 last year and Archie was still born baby at 39 weeks and one day.
Kerry, who had never heard even of HELLP syndrome before, was transferred to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on June 24 where she was diagnosed by a specialist.
Baby Archie was kept in a cuddle cot – a bed with a refrigerated unit underneath the mattress – for three weeks until his mum was well enough to hold him.
The charity Remember My Baby offered to do a photo shoot for Kerry and Craig so they would have memories with Archie to cherish forever.
Kerry spent six weeks in hospital but as her blood was not clotting and her caesarean incision could not be stitched up, she had to have daily home visits from nurses to pack the wound with gauze until it finally healed in January this year.
For the mum, who buried her little boy on August 18 2016, the ‘distressing’ experience of coming home without Archie was one of the most difficult parts.
Kerry said: “We were able to have these beautiful photos taken with Archie. It does mean so much to have them. They are the only memories we have to hold onto.
“Coming home without Archie was absolutely horrendous. I was very distressed.
“My sister-in-law had to go round the house before I got there moving everything I had left out ready for Archie into the nursery.
“His bouncy chair, bottles, sterilisers, she moved it all into the nursery so it was out of sight. It took me a long time to be able to go in there.
“Since coming out of hospital I’ve spoken to friends, family, other pregnant women I know and none of us had ever heard of HELLP syndrome before this.
“There really needs to be more awareness of it. If I had known about it maybe I wouldn’t have dismissed my shoulder pain.
“I’m so determined to get it out there. If I can save one baby or stop one mum having to go through what I’ve been through, it’ll be worth it.”
Helen Hurst, Head of Midwifery at Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Losing a baby is extremely distressing and we would like to offer our sincere condolences to Kerry and her family.
“As a Trust, we do everything we can to provide the best possible care and support for mothers-to-be.
“We have a team of highly-trained and experienced midwives who follow guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
“The midwives meet regularly with women throughout their pregnancy, taking their blood pressure and urine samples on each occasion as well as listening to the baby’s heartbeat and monitoring its movement.
“If anything unusual is detected that is a cause for concern, the midwives immediately refer the women to hospital for further investigation and support.
“On the initial visit between a midwife and an expectant mother, the woman is provided with a booklet which features a wealth of information relating to pregnancy and birth.
“The booklet includes the symptoms of a range of pregnancy-related conditions, including pre-eclampsia which, in extremely rare cases, can lead to HELLP Syndrome.
“If women experience any of the symptoms, the booklet advises them to go straight to hospital.
“Burton Hospital would always urge mothers-to-be to seek immediate medical help if they are feeling unwell or have symptoms that are unusual for their pregnancy.”
Nicky Heppenstall, co-founder of Remember My Baby, said: “We were very to be able to send Volunteer Photographer Marc to meet Kerry and capture images to remember Archie by.
“Losing a baby means the loss of so many photo opportunities – no first steps, no birthday celebrations, no sandcastles on the beach.
“Our aim is to ensure as many parents as possible are offered the choice of having photographs taken, which is why we are continuing to recruit Volunteer Photographers and also Digital Retouchers across the UK to meet increasing demand.
“We have provided 1000 sessions in the two and a half years since our launch.”