As part of an ITV Tonight special report titled "The NHS Saved My Life," Amanda Holden has discussed her son's stillbirth in February 2011 with blistering frankness. Praising the NHS staff who were at her side throughout her son Theo's birth, Holden told ITV how she and her husband Chris Hughes could not have done it without the love and support of the team surrounding her family.
"I'll literally do anything for the National Health Service because they got me through it," Holden told ITV. "They got Chris through it and I now thankfully have two healthy girls and a little boy who is still part of the family but just not here." The interview forms part of a special ITV Tonight segment dedicated to the health service on account of the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
When remembering the event in detail, Holden breaks down in tears. "I just remember hearing this woman just screaming and screaming and then it was actually — it was me, I realised it was me screaming." It takes a lot of courage to open up on such a sensitive and personal subject like this, and Holden definitely has a commendable amount of bravery.
She highlights how the team checked in on her and her family the subsequent months afterwards, and that they didn't treat her any differently regarding her fame. "I believe they would have extended that care to any woman and family in that situation," she told the programme. The team surrounding a family during childbirth — whether in joy or in sadness — are there not only to deliver a baby, but to provide support to families in an extremely hectic environment, and it's great that Holden's statement will draw attention to the amazing work they do.
Holden delivered Theo at seven months pregnant, which also came a year after she'd had a miscarriage. Described as the "most surreal, out-of-body experience," Holden explains that she rallied through with the strength of her husband and her eldest daughter Lexi beside her. Holden described Theo as looking "so normal and so peaceful" once he was born. "I was still his mummy," she said. "So I held him in my arms and I said goodbye."
Stillbirth is defined as "when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy" by the NHS. "If the baby died before 24 completed weeks, it's known as a miscarriage or late foetal loss." There is no definitive cause known as to why stillbirth occurs, with the NHS reporting, "Some stillbirths are linked to complications with the placenta, a birth defect or with the mother's health. For others, no cause is found."
As reported by Tommy's, "it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy and birth." As an organisation that looks into preventive measures, Tommy's aim is to find out why pregnancies can so often go wrong, and how to stop it from happening. Too many families go through traumatic experiences like stillbirth, miscarriage, and premature birth, and its thanks to the NHS that families are able to make it through these tumultuous times.
Holden also went through a traumatic birth with second daughter Hollie in 2012, revealing in an interview with This Morning in March 2012 that her heart stopped during her delivery after she began haemorrhaging blood. By being so open and candid about the trouble that she has endured in her own life, Holden continues to shine a light on the issues it can cause for families, as well as the commendable work of NHS staff. Good on her.
The NHS Saved My Life is available to watch on May 24 at 7.30pm on ITV