It’s when Lauren Goodger climbs into bed at night, clutching her baby daughter Lorena’s teddy, that the grief of losing her little girl hits her hardest.
During the day she wants to “put on a brave face” for her older daughter Larose, but the pain and feeling of unbearable longing are impossible to suppress.
“When I get into bed in the evening, I just want Lorena there next to me,” she says. “I feel like I can keep strong in the day for Larose, but at night, that’s when it just hits me. That’s when I feel really, really sad and I miss her so much.
“Lorena has a teddy with her now and I’ve got a matching one, which I keep with me. When I say my final goodbye to her, I’m going to swap them over. I’m going to have the one she’s had, and she will have the one I’ve had.”
It’s been just over two weeks since Lorena died and it’s clear Lauren’s grief is still very raw. Her “perfect” baby daughter was born on Friday 8 July at 5.26pm, weighing 9lb. With the knotted umbilical cord around her neck, doctors fought to try and save her, but their efforts were in vain and she could not be resuscitated.
“She was just perfect,” Lauren says. “She was very, very much like Larose. She had beautiful black hair and blue eyes. She had big lips, a tiny little nose and a lovely skin tone. She looked like a really healthy and solid baby.”
The past fortnight has been a living nightmare for Lauren, 35, and she would be entitled to feel angry. But she doesn’t, she just feels numb.
“I can’t explain how I feel, really. I don’t feel angry, I guess I feel quite calm. I feel all different emotions at all different times, but the worst is at night when Larose is asleep and I feel alone without Lorena.
“Before I came home, Charlie’s family moved everything I had for Lorena out into the annexe. We had the birthing pool set up and they took it down too. I can’t look at her baby bouncer. I can’t have it in the house.
“I’m OK with her clothes being around me. They are so beautiful and I feel like they make me feel better. Eventually I will give them to a charity which helps other mums who have lost their babies.”
Lauren’s home is filled with beautiful pink and white flowers and Larose is happily playing nearby. At one point she comes up to her mummy and touches a gold locket Lauren’s friends had made for her. Inside are photographs of Lorena.
“I’ve shown Larose pictures of Lorena and I tell her, ‘This is your little sister.’ Larose will know all about her when she is older. And she plays with Lorena’s locket – it’s like she knows.”
When Lorena died, Lauren was able to spend 24 hours with her in a special room at the hospital. It was there that Lauren says she “cried the most tears”.
“I kissed her all over and all through the night. I didn’t sleep.
I just spent the night looking at her and touching her. I held her hands and her little feet. I spoke to her and told her I loved her and all about Larose. I dressed her in a beautiful sleep suit that belonged to Larose. I cried so much that night.
“She just looked so perfect and beautiful and I couldn’t stop taking photos of her. I’ve got all the photos on my phone and I can’t stop looking at them. For those 24 hours it was just beautiful to be with her. I didn’t want to let her go.”
Lauren and her partner Charles Drury, 25, are waiting for the results of a post-mortem and they are hoping Lorena can move to a funeral home this week.
“I plan to go and see her again to say my final goodbyes,” Lauren says. “I wasn’t going to have a post-mortem at first, but I changed my mind. I feel like I need answers. I need more of an understanding of why this happened.
“I don’t blame anyone, I can’t. It is what it is, and obviously it’s awful. I’d do anything to rewind it. I guess I can blame myself, but then again I think it’s happened and I can’t change it. I’m not getting anywhere by blaming myself. I have to try and move forwards and accept it. But first I need to understand it. That’s why I changed my mind about the post-mortem.”
The former TOWIE star wanted to go ahead with our exclusive chat today for a number of reasons – firstly to raise awareness of complications and to help other grieving mums, secondly to set the record straight following online speculation over what happened to Lorena. Finally, she’s using it as a kind of therapy, because as Lauren tells us, talking about what happened that day is going a tiny way towards helping her attempt to come to terms with losing her baby girl.
“I’ve had amazing support from everyone and that’s why I want to speak out. There
have been other mums who have gone through similar situations and have shared their stories with me, and I feel like I owe them this back. I want to help other people and
“There were also stories going around that were wrong and I didn’t want wrong information out there. It’s taken time for me to do this. I have thought it through and I feel like there is no shame in telling my story. It’s relatable. And I’m not going to hide Lorena or what happened away. She is part of me. She was a blessing. She didn’t make it to this world but has given me a different outlook on life.”
Lauren takes a sharp intake of breath as she begins to reveal the harrowing sequence
of events, which began on Wednesday 6 July when her waters broke.
“Tamzin, my NHS midwife, came over and she listened to the baby’s heartbeat and took my blood pressure – everything was where it should be,” she says.
“She said the only thing to worry about was catching an infection, but she said you’re more likely to catch an infection in hospital. I said, ‘Well, I’m staying put then.’”
As she waited for contractions to start, Lauren was visited by her doula Emma, mum and sister, who were helping care for Larose. But Lauren was finding having everyone in her home “stressful”, and Emma told them that Lauren should rest.
“I was in the house with my sister and mum and it was all very stressful. I just thought, ‘This labour is going to happen.’ My body was telling me to stop and I think that’s why my waters broke, because I hadn’t been resting.”
The next day, Charles took Larose to stay with family to allow Lauren to get a decent sleep in preparation for labour.
“I chilled out and went to sleep,” she continues. “I woke up and felt a bit more in charge, but still nothing was happening.”
“My midwife came round, checked the baby’s heartbeat, movement, my blood pressure and temperature. Me and the baby were both normal so we didn’t have to go to hospital.
I was thinking, ‘What the hell? I’ve got no pain, no signs.’”
Lauren tells us she was planning to have her second baby at home after a smooth labour with Larose.
“I was more organised this time. I had more stuff for Lorena and I was more on it than I was with Larose. I trusted my body and the process,” she says.
“I had Larose in week 39, and it was a home birth. Everyone said, ‘You did an amazing labour,’ and everyone was really proud.
It was perfect, how it should be – especially for a first-time labour. My midwife was even praised by the NHS for how well it went. I was really confident, everyone was.
“Don’t get me wrong, this pregnancy was a lot more stressful, because of everything
I went through with Charlie [the couple briefly split earlier this year] and getting up at 5am with Larose every day. It was a completely different kettle of fish. I got on with it, but I was exhausted and had very little help.
“I had my doula, Emma, on standby and she was going to be my pain relief. I was doing the same thing I did with Larose – I wanted to have Lorena at home with no drugs.”
On the morning of Friday 8 July, there were still no signs of contractions. By this point, Charles had arrived home with Larose.
“I put Larose on the boob, because all that stimulation brings on contractions,” Lauren says. “Then my contractions started. I called my midwife and told her, ‘She’s coming now,’ and she came over to check the heartbeat.”
Lauren stops for a moment, composes herself, then continues. “The contractions had started but she couldn’t find a heartbeat – I couldn’t understand it as the night before she found a really strong heartbeat. The baby was moving.
“She said to me, ‘I’m really worried.’ I couldn’t think straight, I was in agony. She called an ambulance and the paramedics came really quickly. It was a blue-light situation. It was the worst journey and I was standing up screaming. The pain was unbearable. My show came out and it was different from what I had with Larose. It was thicker blood.
“When I tell you I thought I was in a film… I was outside the hospital screaming and her head was coming out. You couldn’t write it – it was the most traumatic experience I’ve ever been through in my life.
“I was screaming. It was so hot and I could feel her coming. I didn’t want to give birth standing up outside the hospital.”
Lauren was taken inside the hospital where she and Charles, who was by her side throughout, were given a room.
“They were asking me for my notes, but I didn’t have them, my midwife had them and was on her way. I couldn’t lie down so I got on all fours. I just thought, ‘I’m doing this labour on my own, I’m pushing this baby out and there’s no one there.’
“Charlie then ran out into the hallway, saying, ‘Can someone help? The head’s there, I can see it.’”
With the help of a nurse, Lauren gave birth to Lorena two hours after her contractions started. But she knew something was wrong. There was no cry or movement. Suddenly doctors rushed into the room.
“The cord had two big knots in it and it was around her neck,” continues Lauren, her voice cracking. “They were doing chest compressions and giving her adrenaline and they couldn’t get a heartbeat. I couldn’t get my head around it because eight, nine hours earlier, she had a heartbeat, I heard it.
“They were doing everything they could right in front of us. We were like, ‘Please! Oh my God, please!’ Charlie broke down and was on the floor, screaming, ‘Please save my baby!’
“I was sitting there like…I was quite quiet. I asked, ‘Is she OK? Is she alright?’ I was sure
I felt her move when she was born. I don’t know now if it was the nurse’s hands, but when the head was out, I swear I felt movement.”
A doctor who had cared for Larose when she was rushed to hospital last year with a virus tried for eight minutes to resuscitate Lorena. And then came the agonising news there was nothing more they could do.
“The doctor who treated Larose came over to me and said, ‘We haven’t managed to get a heartbeat. I’m so sorry.’ I was like, ‘What? What do you mean? She had a heartbeat yesterday of 150. She had a heartbeat last night, I don’t understand.’ But she said, ‘I know, but her cord was around her neck…’
“The rest was a blur. I was in shock. I was boiling hot, but shaking. I sat for four hours in the blood. I couldn’t move.”
Lauren and Charles’ family and friends rushed to the hospital to support the distraught parents, and Lauren was able to spend the night with Lorena in hospital.
“We had a lot of visitors and I didn’t sleep for 72 hours. A bereavement midwife took us to another room, like a home room, and we stayed there with Lorena in the cot. I dressed her,” Lauren tells us.
For now, Lauren is taking each day as it comes and is taking comfort in the memories she has of her little girl.
“I took a clipping of her beautiful hair and I’ve had her hands and feet cast,” she says.
“A photographer from a charity the hospital organised came and took pictures of us – it’s so good that the hospital and charity do all of this. I’ve got books about losing a child, a memory box and her hand and foot prints done.
“I’ve also got a candle, it’s there, the one burning at the minute. My friends bought me the gold locket with pictures of Lorena inside and I’m getting a bangle made of her name. I’m getting a tattoo of her name. I’m not a tattoo person, but I’m getting it tattooed on me.”
As Lauren tries to piece her life back together, she still has a lot of unanswered questions. She says, “I look back and wonder, ‘Should I have gone to the hospital when my waters broke? Would that have happened? How could I have prevented this?’ But then again, no one knew about the knots in the cord, all we’ve been told is it’s very uncommon to have two knots. I was a low-risk pregnancy. There were no signs of any problems. A few hours before she was born she was going to be absolutely fine. That’s what’s so heartbreaking.”
In the days after our chat, Lauren has to face the task of planning Lorena’s funeral.
“I never ever thought I would have to plan a funeral for my child. It shouldn’t happen. We are still deciding what we want but I know it will be completely private, small with just close family.”
But she says Larose is getting her through the thought of laying Lorena to rest.
“Larose is my absolute rock – without her, I wouldn’t be here,” she says. “She’s honestly getting me through this and I’m so grateful that I’ve got her. I should have two… I do have two and I’ll always have two.
“Lorena’s pictures pop up on my phone and I think, ‘She should be here with us.’ I miss her so much. It breaks my heart that I won’t see her grow up. Larose had her first birthday this week and I will never have that with Lorena. I won’t know what she looks like at eight weeks or eight months. I just keep thinking about that.”
When we ask how she’s recovering physically, she tells us she is still in “agony”.
“I’m healing,” Lauren says. “I’ve had stitches this time as I tore inside and out, which
I didn’t have with Larose. I’m still bleeding – I feel like I’ve been run over.”
Lauren still wants to have the big family she’s always dreamed of, but unsurprisingly she is fearful of going through the same heartache again.
“If I was ever going to have another baby – I can’t even think of that right now… I would just go for a C-section,” she tells us. “I can’t go through that again. I just can’t.
“It should never have happened and it will be with me forever,” she tells us, before pausing. “It’s terrible, awful…”
She then touches her tummy and continues, “I’ve still got a bit of a bump – this one’s not shifting. It sometimes feels like she’s still there, it’s weird. My body feels very unsettled, it’s like it’s missing a newborn.”
For anyone affected by Lauren’s story, you can seek support and advice from tommys.org and petalscharity.org
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