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Mum shares heartbreaking pictures of 'beautiful' daughter who was stillborn at 39 weeks after being poisoned in the womb (20 Pics)

A brave young mum has shared heartbreaking photos of her stillborn daughter who was slowly poisoned in the womb because of a rare illness.
Gabriella Morley and Matthew Dalton had been friends for 10 years before becoming a couple in 2016 and were overjoyed to discover they were having a baby soon after.
But at 39 weeks, while out shopping with removal driver Matty, 25, mum-to-be Gabriella suddenly realised she hadn't felt her baby move that day.
After rushing to hospital , doctors looked for a heartbeat but 24-year-old Gabriella and Matty were given the devastating news that their baby had died.
The grieving mum had to give birth to her lifeless little girl on May 9 2017 – an emotionally 'scarring' experience she has tried to block from her memory.


A post-mortem revealed that baby Poppy died from cardiac arrest after being poisoned by high acidity levels in her mum's body due to the pregnancy-related liver condition intrahepatic cholestasis (ICP).
Gabriella, of Bramley, Leeds, said: "It is a rare condition but I think more mums need to know about it. I don't want anyone to ever have to go through what we did.
"Losing Poppy has been the most devastating thing ever. No mother should have to experience what it is like to go through nine months of pregnancy and leave hospital with no baby.
"But it does happen and people need to talk about it more.


"At 39 weeks and two days, I was out shopping with Matty getting all the last bits we needed and I suddenly realised I hadn't felt the baby move that day.
"When we got home I had a bath and I felt some movement. I thought it was the baby and it put my mind at rest but we know now it was probably my placenta.
"The next morning I couldn't feel the baby again so we went to the hospital and they took me in for a scan.
"After having so many, you know yourself where the heart should be and it just wasn't moving. I turned my head away and the midwife rushed for tissues. That's when I knew.


"The doctor turned to us and said 'I'm sorry, I can't see your baby's heartbeat'.
"I remember letting out this scream but then I fell silent and just stared out the window. Matty was stood next to me squeezing my hand with his head down crying. It didn't feel real.
"When I walked out of the room I could hear all these other babies' heartbeats from the other rooms and I fell apart. You never think this could happen to you.
"Knowing I was going to have to give birth was terrifying. I don't remember all of it, I've tried to block it out because it scarred me.

"When my waters broke I was so frightened. I had always imagined it would be a happy time but knowing our baby wasn't alive anymore made it awful.
"Giving birth was the saddest thing I have ever gone through. She was born to the song Pachelbel's Canon in D which is just the most beautiful and emotional piece of music.
"I remember Matty looking up and saying 'it's a girl' and the sound I made was just awful, I have never heard anything like it. It was the most horrible surprise ever. We had always wanted a girl.
"They laid her on me but I couldn't even look at her. I just couldn't understand how the baby I had grown inside me for nine months was here but she wasn't moving or crying. There was just silence."

Gabriella and Matty had just planned the holiday of a lifetime when they found out they were expecting a baby.
Despite being determined to go on the trip, Gabriella only made it through two weeks of the tour of Europe before heading home with extreme morning sickness.
Except for the constant nausea throughout her pregnancy, catering coordinator Gabriella experienced no other unusual symptoms and her baby seemed healthy and was growing normally.
During her pregnancy Gabriella's belly had been slightly itchy, something she put down to the skin stretching and not an uncommon complaint among expectant mums.

But the itchiness was actually a symptom of ICP which hinders the flow of bile acids, which are toxic to foetuses, from the liver to the gut.
Gabriella said: "Apart from the sickness and a bit of heartburn my pregnancy was amazing. The baby was growing normally and looked healthy at every scan.
"My belly was a bit itchy but I just thought it was the skin stretching. It was never so bad that I was worried but it turns out it was caused by the condition that was poisoning Poppy."
Poppy was kept in a 'cold room' at the hospital after she was born so over the next three days, Gabriella and Matty could take their daughter out for an hour at a time to bathe her, dress her, cuddle her and introduce her to their family.


Before the baby's body was taken for a post-mortem, the parents had her blessed by her grandad with holy water and sat down for a final meal with their daughter.
Gabriella said going home without Poppy was one of the hardest parts of the tragic ordeal and dad Matty found it incredibly difficult to let go, promising his baby he would 'see her again' before her funeral.
Poppy was buried in a little white coffin which her mum and dad carried into the chapel to the song their daughter was born to, Pachelbel's Canon in D.
The parents keep photos of Poppy around the house in frames and the mum said she loves it when people ask about her little girl instead of trying to pretend the birth never happened.
Gabriella is now sharing her story to raise awareness of the illness that killed Poppy and to encourage more mums to speak about the tragic loss of their babies.


Gabriella said: "I find so much comfort in talking about Poppy, I even enjoy crying about her. It feels so good to let it out and sit by her grave and have a cry.
"People ask if having her photos around the house make me more upset but it doesn't. She is my beautiful little girl and I want to remember her and for people to see her.
"It shouldn't be such a taboo for mums who have lost their babies to talk about them. Even though our babies are in heaven, we are still mums and we're proud of our children."

What is Itraheptic Cholestasis of pregnancy?

  • Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a potentially serious liver disorder that can develop in pregnancy.
  • Normally, bile acids flow from your liver to your gut to help you digest food.
  • In ICP, the bile acids don't flow properly and build up in your body instead. There's no cure for ICP, but it should go once you've had your baby.
  • ICP seems to run in families, but it can occur even if there is no family history. It is more common in women of South American, Indian and Pakistani origin.
  • If you have had ICP in a previous pregnancy, you have a high chance of developing it again in a subsequent pregnancy.
  • Some studies have found that babies whose mothers have ICP have a higher chance of being born prematurely or stillborn.
  • Symptoms of ICP typically start from around 30 weeks of pregnancy, but it is possible to develop the condition as early as eight weeks.
  • The main symptom is itching, usually without a rash. The itching is often more noticeable on the hands and feet, but can be all over the body.
  • For many women with ICP, the itching is unbearable and can be worse at night, preventing sleep. For others, the itching is mild.
  • Other symptoms can include dark urine, pale bowel movements (poo) and, less commonly, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).
  • ICP is diagnosed by excluding other causes of the itch. Your doctor will probably talk to you about your medical and family history, and order a variety of blood tests to check your liver function (LFT) and measure your bile acid levels (BA).

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