Carly talks about giving birth to her stillborn son, Zephyr, and describes how her and her partner Martin have honoured his life since he died.
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The Listening Project
BBC WM, Birmingham
Carly, Williams, 1981- (female, community artist)
Carly and her partner Martin have been together for nearly 11 years. They met on a participatory arts evening course - they were both becoming self-employed artists at the time. The couple work a lot with children and Carly says they have learned a lot from this experience. They decided that when they wanted a family of their own it would be at the right time so they could dedicate themselves to parenthood. Carly found out that she was pregnant in April 2013. Her and Martin were of course very excited at the prospect of becoming parents. Their child was also to be the first grandchild for both of their sets of parents. Carly's pregnancy was normal and healthy and the baby was healthy for the whole term too. They had planned a home birth and after a full-term pregnancy Carly went into early labour in December 2013 but at this point she realised that she had not felt any movement from her baby for a while. Carly went to hospital where the midwife could not find a heartbeat. The hospital recommended that Carly had a natural birth, they offered to induce labour but Carly waited and went ahead with a natural birth. She says that this gave them both time to think about what was happening. The following day Carly gave birth to a stillborn baby in water, as was the original plan. Only at this point did the couple learn that their baby was a boy. They named him Zephyr. There are many ways that the couple try to honour Zephyr's life since he died. He had a natural birth and they said goodbye with a DIY funeral - Carly and Martin made Zephyr's coffin and shroud. He was buried at a natural burial ground on the edge of Sherwood Forest and they held a candlelit gathering in his name. It has forced Martin and Carly to re-evaluate everything they thought they knew about their lives. They are now seeking to improve local services with the aim of building a nurturing holistic centre on local hospital grounds so that other families who suffer this loss have a place to turn to. Every day 17 babies in the UK die: 11 are stillborn and the rest are neo-natal deaths. Compared to other developed countries this is a high rate. Carly wanted to make this unusual Listening Project recording where she talks alone and not with Martin. This is her emotional message to Zephyr. It is not an easy listen.
The Listening Project conversations collectively form a picture of our lives and relationships today. Recordings were made by BBC producers of people sharing an intimate conversation, lasting up to an hour and on a topic of the speakers' choice.