Guest Blog By Torri Johnsson

Ace

On 25th July 2018 we found out we were pregnant. Since it was our first month of trying we were surprised, terrified and so so excited. The pregnancy can only be described as smooth sailing. Average weight gain, morning sickness in the first trimester and heartburn towards the end – nothing to really complain about. I really enjoyed being pregnant and was so proud of my bump. It felt so safe having her in there. Or so I thought.

Despite a pretty average pregnancy, I was worrying about several things but in particular movements. What’s normal in terms of movements, which I brought up every checkup. What’s a good amount of movement, what’s too much or too little? What’s a kick, a hiccup or a contraction? Being my first pregnancy I had nothing to compare with, and even then I’m sure that it can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy.

On the morning of Friday 15th March, with my husband out of town on a business trip, I realised that I hadn’t felt her for a while. I tried everything to get a reaction from her. Drank ice cold water, drank boiling hot water, prodding, lying on my side, ate sweets, you name it. I got so worked up, and at this point very late for a client meeting, that I wasn’t really sure if I could feel her or not. We had only been to a checkup a couple of days earlier where we heard, and even recorded, her heart beat. She was fine. I thought I needed to calm down a bit and said to myself that if I’m still worried after lunch I will call my midwife. At work my colleagues kept saying “It’s common towards the end that they move less” and “there’s not much room left now”, and even though all I’ve read said movements should not decrease, their words sounded logical and reassuring. Who am I to question them who all have healthy living children? Around lunch time I felt her kick and I felt so relieved. During the weekend everything felt like normal again and we packed the hospital bag.

How I wish that I would’ve listened to my concerns and gone in on the Friday. This thought was especially haunting me before we got the tests back, now I realise that it may not have helped.

My last work week before parental leave began and everything felt like normal. We were now 38 weeks pregnant and everything was ready for her arrival. But on Wednesday 20th March I got worried again. I think that I in hind sight may have already understood. I was so calm and didn’t even try to get her to move. After work I went to my parents. Mum had bought her a blue velvet dress which she was showing me, and I remember thinking “too soon” (which I hadn’t with everything else that my parents had bought). Mum was also worried about what I had told them about last Friday, but I reassured her that everything was ok.

It wasn’t until after dinner that I said to my husband that I wanted to call the hospital. I felt so guilty calling the number which is supposed to be for those in labour, not paranoid pregnant women. They told us to come in. Just in case. I wasn’t worried. If I’m as a worrier isn’t worried, everything must be ok right?

At the hospital everything was calm. We were shown to a room with a midwife and a nurse. The midwife said that the doppler doesn’t always work that well, maybe it’s my heart beat that it picked up. They would check with ultrasound instead and a doctor came in. The atmosphere in the room was so tense. I didn’t want to see the screen. Then the doctor said what we may have already understood. I can’t remember her exact words. My world fell apart. Our world. I didn’t want to believe it. It felt like a lie, the worst lie anyone could tell. In a single moment our daughter went from “her” into “it”, something I feel terrible about today. They told me I had to give birth to it. I just wanted to escape, to delete. I didn’t want it to be my first born, and for my future first to be the second child I gave birth to. They asked us what we wanted to do; did we want to stay, go home for a while, did we want sleeping pills, what time did we want to come back in? I didn’t want anything. I didn’t want to be in this reality. Not for this to be my reality. My husband said we should spend one last night with our daughter, which I am so grateful for today. During that night she went from being “it” back to our little one again. The whole night I was hoping I would feel her move again. Just like I did last Friday.

The next day at 11am we went with our hospital bag. It felt so wrong. The sadness that we brought was in such contrast to happiness of the maternity ward. Although it felt like we were in our own bubble, the awareness of where we were was also so strong. The thought that we may see or hear other parents and their babies terrified me. It all felt so surreal.

The birth was amazing, exactly what me and my husband had prepared for. We were a true team. I never felt as proud and overcome with emotions as I did when I first got to hold her. I couldn’t stop smiling. Next to me my husband was devastated, still hoping to hear her cry. The midwife asked if we had a name; we said Ace – even though we’d previously said that she wouldn’t have her nick name. Ace, stillborn 21st March at 5.51pm.

The time that has followed feels like a blur. And to this day I still don’t know how we manage to get through each day. It feels like the time did and should have stopped there at 5.51pm.

Last week we got the results back. We lost or little one due to an infection. The virus, CMV, was reactivated and then passed to her. Although I had never heard of it before, it’s apparently a very common virus, that doesn’t necessarily cause any complications. We miss her everyday. Our little Ace.

You can follow Torri’s story at

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