A WOMAN who had a stillborn baby is reaching out to others to offer support and share her experiences.
Amy Woodbridge, 23, had a baby boy called Edward on January 2.
He was stillborn after being diagnosed with the rare condition anencephaly - which means the baby’s brain does not develop properly - at Mrs Woodbridge’s 20 week scan last August.
Although she was told the condition is always fatal after the baby is born, Mrs Woodbridge decided to continue with the pregnancy rather than have a termination.
She is full of praise for the doctors and midwives who supported her decision and the care she received at Salisbury District Hospital.
“I just can’t thank them enough, every single one of them was wonderful and they are so kind, caring and supportive,” she said.
“I know that most women have a termination in these circumstances but I knew straight away that was not what I wanted.
“I feel proud that I carried my baby through the whole pregnancy and got to spend some time with him.”
After Edward was born, Mrs Woodbridge and her husband Andrew, 23, were able to be with their son in the Benson Suite, a unit for bereaved new parents at the hospital funded by Sir Christopher and Lady Jo Benson and the Stars Appeal.
Mr and Mrs Woodbridge received emotional support and were able to have special memorial photographs taken. They were also given memory box where they could keep precious mementos.
The couple held a funeral for Edward and he is buried near their family homes in Northampton.
“I really think that helped me to come to terms with what happened and face the future,” said Mrs Woodbridge. “It was just terrible bad luck. We will never forget Edward and he will always be part of our lives but I also feel able to move forward and I hope we will go on to have more children in the future.”
Mrs Woodbridge, who worked as a dental technician at the Gentle Dental practice in Castle Street, lives on the Canadian Estate in Bulford while her husband is serving with the Royal Military Police.
She is fundraising for the stillborn and neonatal death charity Sands, which supports grieving families, and has already raised £400. Mr Woodbridge is planning to take part in the extreme physical challenge Tough Mudder this summer to raise more money for the charity.
Mrs Woodbridge is also reaching out online to other women who have suffered similar heartbreak to share her story and offer support.
“In some ways there is still a taboo about talking about this as it is so sensitive and upsetting,” she said. “But there is more support out there than there was in the past and this can only be helpful.
“I know how lucky I was to be cared for by everyone in Salisbury who supported me along the way and helped me realise that there is light and hope.”
To support Mrs Woodbridge’s fundraising visit justgiving.com/ewoodbridge.