‘My two day-old baby died in my arms at a Birmingham hospital and I want to know why’

Danielle Spalding speaks about losing her baby for the first time amid Baby Loss Awareness Week
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A mum has spoken of her heartache after her baby boy died at two-days-old at a Birmingham hospital.

Danielle Spalding, 27, visited hospital twice in three days after becoming concerned about reduced movement of her baby, Edward, but was sent home following tests. She was due to be induced at 41 weeks but this was put back to 42 weeks at Birmingham City Hospital.

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At 42 weeks pregnant, Danielle attended hospital again concerned about Edward’s reduced movements and tests showed his heart rate had dropped. A decision was made to deliver him by category one caesarean section – where there is an ‘immediate risk to life’ - and Edward was born 17 minutes later.

The newborn had to be resuscitated and he was transferred to a specialist neo-natal intensive care unit where his condition continued to deteriorate. He died on May 23, 2021 in Danielle’s arms and a post-mortem examination found he passed away from a massive brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen.

Danielle Spalding with Baby Edward. (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)Danielle Spalding with Baby Edward. (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)
Danielle Spalding with Baby Edward. (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Danielle, from Tamworth, has two other children, Elizabeth, seven, and Lirael, aged 11 months. She said: “I was overwhelmed with emotion when I found out I was expecting Edward. I had everything prepared and had crocheted fox teddies for him. When I got to 42 weeks and Edward wasn’t moving as much as he had been I was really concerned. However, nothing really prepared me for what was to come.

“It’s still difficult to find the words to describe everything that happened. What should have been one of the happiest days of my life turned into utter despair. I’ll always cherish those precious moments I got to spend with Edward. Holding him in my arms as he lost his brave fight for life is something that will stay with me forever. I just wanted to love and care for my boy, but I felt powerless to save him.”

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Danielle is telling her story for the first time amid Baby Loss Awareness Week. She has also instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.

It comes after a Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) report also found Edward had low blood glucose levels and 30-minute monitoring did not take place following his birth. Low blood glucose in babies with serious brain damage can cause additional injury. The report added that such an injury may have impacted on Edward’s development if he had survived. Following Edward’s death, Danielle received support from the Woody and Winter Foundation, which helps families of sick children and those affected by baby loss.

Elizabeth with baby Edward. (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)Elizabeth with baby Edward. (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)
Elizabeth with baby Edward. (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Danielle added: “The charity reached out after Edward died and we’ve become good friends. They got us out the house to give Elizabeth some fun and normality. They run support groups which I attend and which were extremely helpful in trying to try and process what had happened.

“I’d do anything to have Edward at home with us, however, I know that’s not possible. Despite this he’ll always be part of our family and we’ll never stop loving him.

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“I just hope the least I can do is honour Edward’s memory by establishing the answers he deserves. By speaking out I hope that I can possibly help others in a similar situation. People shouldn’t have to go through the devastation of losing a baby alone as help and support is available.”

Rachael Matthews, the specialist medical negligence lawyer representing Danielle, said: “What should have been such a joyous occasion for Danielle and her family turned to despair with the loss of Edward.

“Understandably the last couple of years and trying to come to terms with Edward’s death while having so many questions about the events that unfolded has been incredibly difficult for Danielle. While nothing can ever make up for her loss, we’re determined to provide her with all of the answers she deserves.

“Sadly through our work we too often see the devastating consequences families can be left to face following baby loss. If during the course of investigations any issues are identified in the family’s care, it’s vital that lessons are learned to improve maternity safety for others.”

Danielle Spalding with her other children, Elizabeth, aged seven and Lirael.  (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)Danielle Spalding with her other children, Elizabeth, aged seven and Lirael.  (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)
Danielle Spalding with her other children, Elizabeth, aged seven and Lirael. (Photo - Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

What Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust said

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Louise Wilde, Head of Midwifery, told BirminghamWorld: “The loss of a baby is a tragic event, and we would like to repeat our deepest condolences to Danielle and her family for the loss of Edward.

“His death was investigated by the Coroner in 2021 who judged an inquest unnecessary on the basis of the findings of the HSIB report, which noted that the delayed induction date to 42 weeks gestation was in line with local and national guidelines for low-risk mothers.”

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