I spent five hours cuddling my dead baby girl – I just couldn’t bear to say bye – The Sun

EMMA Wiles was already a mum to eight children when she discovered that she was expecting another bundle of joy.

So when doctors told the expectant mum they couldn’t find a heartbeat, Emma’s world fell apart.

But thanks to a special cot, Emma and her husband Michael, 40, was able to spend precious hours with her daughter – time that they will never forget.

Here Emma, 40, from Witham, Essex, shares her story with Fabulous Digital…

I was already mum to Connor, 17, Kian, 15, Evie, 14, Callum, 11, Tayla, 10, Louis, 8, Lottie, 6, and 22-month-old Bonnie when, in April 2018, I found out baby number nine was on the way.

And I was over the moon. I couldn’t wait to bring another new life into the world.

Yes, our five-bedroomed house was chaotic but it was filled with so much love and laughter.

Joyfully, we hauled all the baby stuff back down from the loft and quickly decided on names – Jaxon for a boy and Isla for a girl.

On 30 June, sixteen weeks into my pregnancy, I visited a private clinic for a gender scan with Michael by my side.

Dad to my youngest three and step-dad to the older ones, he was just as thrilled as me that we were adding to our brood.

One in four pregnancies ends in baby loss but it didn’t even occur to me to be nervous.

That evening, we planned to pop a confetti-filled gender reveal balloon with the kids who were excited to find out whether they’d get a baby brother or sister this time.

So when the sonographer quietly told me she couldn’t detect a heartbeat, my world fell apart.

Heartbroken, I blamed myself for what had happened. I had one job and that was to protect my baby – a girl – and I felt I'd failed.

The following week, I sobbed as Michael, a service engineer for a fire-alarm company, drove me to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

I knew the more time I spent with Isla, the more attached I’d get to her and the harder it would be to leave

There, in the Blossom Suite – a special room for bereaved parents – I was given tablets to induce labour. Two hours later, at 4pm, I gave birth to my baby girl.

At first I was too scared to hold Isla. I was worried about how she’d look because she was born so early.

So, instead of placing her on my chest for skin-to-skin contact, the midwife whisked her away to be cleaned up.

But, a short time later, when she was gently put in my arms, I gasped.

Weighing just 117 grams, my baby girl was perfect. I was overcome with love for her.

Gazing down at her, I took in every detail. Ten tiny fingers and toes. She even had perfectly formed fingernails and eyebrows.

She’s the spitting image of her big brother, Louie, I thought.

She was dressed in a teeny knitted pink cape provided by the hospital and wrapped in a muslin belonging to her big sister, Bonnie.

Isla, my ninth child, completely changed my life

Sitting on the bed together, Michael and I spent a couple of hours cuddling Isla. We held her close and whispered "I love you" in her ear over and over again.

But the midwife warned me that Isla’s body would deteriorate quickly in the warm hospital room.

So, after choosing a beautiful white silk angel gown, also provided by the hospital, I carefully dressed Isla. She was so fragile, I was terrified I’d break her.

Then I settled her into a special cold cot which would preserve her body.

We spent a few more hours in the bereavement suite, simply looking at our dead baby, stroking her face and crying together.

They are memories I’ll cherish forever

I knew the more time I spent with Isla, the more attached I’d get to her and the harder it would be to leave.

So, five hours after she was born, I kissed my little angel goodbye, promising I’d do something special to honour her memory.

Leaving her was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Back home, the kids swarmed around me. I knew I was blessed but inside I felt empty.

Two weeks later, Michael and I said our final goodbyes to Isla at Braintree Crematorium in a private ceremony, just the two of us. I didn’t want to share our last precious moments together with anybody else.

Afterwards, we made Isla a little bed in the garden, burying her ashes and planting a tree alongside.

My sense of loss was overwhelming. Yes, I had eight wonderful children but that didn’t make Isla’s death any less devastating.

Remembering my promise to Isla and also how beautiful she looked in her knitted cape and angel gown, I settled on what I’d do in her memory.

I asked my mum to teach me to knit and, hiding myself away in the garden shed, started making capes for other angel babies.

When friends and family heard about my new project, offers of help flooded in.

Then a relative contacted me to suggest I collect wedding dresses for her to transform into burial gowns.

Donations poured in and I now have a small army of knitters and sewers, all creating clothes for angels like Isla.

I also set up a Facebook page called Isla’s Angels to support other women who have lost a baby and I was inundated with women who wanted to share their stories.

I’ll always be a mum-of nine.

Isla, my ninth child, completely changed my life. I didn’t feel able to return to my part-time job as an administrator after losing her.

But helping other bereaved families has given me the strength to get through the darkest days of my life.

In other real life news, we told you about a woman whose ex-boyfriend has "snatched her daughter" and fled 1,000 miles away, and she's fighting to bring her home.

And a mum says a 20-second video saved her girl's life after doctors dismissed sepsis as a cold.

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