Just one week before her due date, British mom Gabriella Morley lost her unborn baby girl to a rare liver condition that basically poisoned her in the womb.
Morley, 24, of Bramley, England, gave birth to her stillborn daughter on May 9, the Daily Mail reports. She and her boyfriend Matthew Dalton named their daughter Poppy.
The shocked and heartbroken mother said she decided to share the experience publicly to help raise awareness about the rare pregnancy condition that caused her daughter’s death.
“Losing Poppy has been the most devastating thing ever,” Morley said. “No mother should have to experience what it is like to go through nine months of pregnancy and leave hospital with no baby. But it does happen and people need to talk about it more.”
Morley’s unborn baby died as a result of intrahepatic cholestasis (ICP), a rare liver condition that “hinders the flow of bile acids, which are toxic to foetuses, from the liver to the gut,” according to the report.
One of the symptoms is itchiness, which Morley had but shrugged off as something that just happens during pregnancy. She did not notice that anything was wrong until her 39th week of pregnancy.
Here’s more from the report:
Gabriella and Matthew, who discovered they were expecting shortly after they started dating last year, were picking up the final bits and pieces ahead of the baby’s arrival when Gabriella realised she hadn’t felt the baby move that day.
She said: ‘When we got home I had a bath and I felt some movement. I thought it was the baby and it put my mind at rest but we know now it was probably my placenta.
‘The next morning I couldn’t feel the baby again so we went to the hospital and they took me in for a scan.
‘The doctor turned to us and said ‘I’m sorry, I can’t see your baby’s heartbeat’.
Morley said she screamed when the doctor said those words, and her boyfriend began crying.
She said giving birth was a horrible experience, knowing that her baby was dead. The heartbreak grew even worse when her boyfriend announced that their baby was a girl – the gender they were hoping for.
“They laid her on me but I couldn’t even look at her. I just couldn’t understand how the baby I had grown inside me for nine months was here but she wasn’t moving or crying. There was just silence,” she remembered.
The couple had Poppy blessed with holy water, and later gave her a funeral, according to the report. They spent time with her body in the hospital before they buried her, and took photos that they now have throughout their home.
Though the couple never got the chance to spend time with Poppy outside the womb, they clearly believed their daughter was a valuable, important human being whose life deserved to be celebrated and mourned.
“People ask if having her photos around the house make me more upset but it doesn’t. She is my beautiful little girl and I want to remember her and for people to see her.
“It shouldn’t be such a taboo for mums who have lost their babies to talk about them. Even though our babies are in heaven, we are still mums and we’re proud of our children,” she said.