With one in four pregnancies ending in a loss on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day three sets of parents tell how the trauma was so hard to bear
Pregnancy brings hope and joy, but every year in the UK more than 5,000 parents leave hospital without their baby.
The tragedy of one in four pregnancies is that it ends in a loss which can include miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies and stillbirths.
But the stigma of talking about the death of babies means that parents are suffering in silence.
International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day falls on October 15, and it's a time when those who have lived through the pain of losing their child at birth hope their stories will give strength to others.
Mum Lou's son says that her first child, a son named Finley, was 10 weeks premature and spent a long period in the neonatal unit.
Lou was terrified of her second pregnancy after her first was prematureSo when she discovered she was pregnant with her little girl Lauren , she was petrified.
"I had this feeling of doom," she says. "As the pregnancy progressed I was more more and depressed and more and more anxious."
On January 9, 2009, when Lou was 36 weeks pregnant she suddenly became aware that he was in a lot of pain in her abdomen coming in waves.
Believing she had gone into labour, she leaped up and thought her waters broke. Running upstairs to tell her husband, Matt, she said: "The baby's coming, the baby's coming."
He turned to her and, Lou says: "My jeans were soaked in blood."
Lou says having Lauren's grave has helped her to deal with the lossLou says she was in a state of denial and was laughing and joking with the paramedics, but she was really in shock about what was happening.
She wasn't the only one struggling with the horrific reality: "Something in Matt just snapped. He was like a wild animal. He was howling, thumping his head, thumping the walls.
"For the moment, I forgot the terrible labour pain I was in and the midwife had to focus on him."
Matt said he had to leave and apologised to Lou.
She recalls: "The only saving grace of it was that my labour with Lauren was very brief and because she had only died a few hours before she was born, her appearance was not of a baby who had died.
"She just looked a little bit paler than normal, but it really just was of a baby who was asleep."
Beth and Steve were thrilled when one baby turned out to be two at the start of their pregnancyLou is just one of seven mums - and dads - who have shared their tragic stories with the makers of a new documentary which examines those families who have heartbreak visited upon them when a baby is stillborn.
Called Still Loved, the film - released to coincide with Baby Loss Awareness Month - follows seven couples, showing their stories of stillbirth and providing a profound insight into the effects of the death of a baby.
The documentary, from Big Buddha Films , gives a voice to all those affected, from bereaved mothers to often-overlooked fathers, many of whom open up about their experience for the first time ever on camera.
This is a brave, inclusive and important film for all, not just those with first-hand experience of baby loss.
Beth and Steve tell the heartbreaking story of the loss of Felicity and Harriet, their twins - although, when they first found out Beth was pregnant: "We had no idea that our little miracle was actually two."
On July 2, 2012, while staying in Yorkshire, Beth went into labour at 21 weeks, and the babies did not survive.
Twins Felicity and Harriet were born to Steve and Beth 19 weeks early"There was no hope for either of them," Beth remembers. "You could see on the scan they were struggling."
"[Medical staff] came in to explain our options. We could either wait for contractions to come on or they needed to induce so that I was OK. The induction is essentially an abortion, and that's what they made me sign for."
The babies were born together, which Beth says "gave us a bit of comfort".
Beth adds: "I am a mum and [Steve's] a dad, but we don't have any children."
Couple Juliette and Matt were thrilled when they found out that they were expecting a boy, and say the pregnancy was not a difficult one.
Matt admits that while Juliette bathed stillborn Ben, he couldn't deal with itBen was stillborn on November 26 weighing 6lbs.
"Small but perfectly formed, we like to say," Juliette smiles.
Although she spent time with Ben and bathed him, Matt admits it was something he stepped back from.
"I couldn't be there for that, I said to myself 'I don't think I can cope with that'. I went outside and spoke to my parents.
"To this day, I regret not doing that.
"We had four hours with Ben, which was lovely."
Juliette adds: "You find yourself making a lifetime of memories in a very very short space of time."
Ben was 6lb and 'perfect' say parents Juliette and MattFollowing the loss, Matt admits he 'felt a lot of anger' and was expected just to get on with his life regardless.
Still Loved is supported by Tommy’s, the baby charity which funds research into stillbirth, miscarriage and pregnancy complications.
The film's director Debbie Howard says that despite the taboos surrounding stillbirths, “the parents were very happy to finally have a voice".
"When a baby dies, it’s still a baby. It’s still a child that is loved, cherished and wanted.
"Parents feel they can’t talk about their baby because other people don’t know how to cope with it.”
Debbie says that it wasn't hard to find families who wanted to share their stories, and we should encourage this openness.
Steve and Beth were told there was no hope for their twin girls"We're really bad at talking about death and grief in our society, we're closed about that sort of thing. And it's massively heightened when it comes to the death of a baby.
"People don't know the statistics and they fail to realise that it's someone's child who has died, someone's baby.
"You've thought about names, talked about them with their siblings, you've thought about and planned future events, and then your child dies."
Debbie says that a pregnancy is no guarantee that parents will end up with a live baby, and the statistics show that their are many parents like those in the documentary.
"The anticipation means people have decorated nurseries, bought clothes and pushchairs, and then are left with all that stuff. It's heartbreaking.
"What do you do with all that stuff after the baby is gone?
"And what does it mean if it was your first child - you ask yourself 'am I a mum or a dad?', 'am I a parent if my baby has not survived?'."
The film has a digital release on November 1. For further information, visit the website .
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