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Blogger who lost daughter at 37 weeks shares tragic story for other parents facing trauma of a stillbirth


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AGONY: Christina and Adam lost their baby earlier this year

AGONY: Christina and Adam lost their baby earlier this year

AGONY: Christina and Adam lost their baby earlier this year

Lifestyle and maternity blogger Christina Campbell has spoken of the pain and heartache of losing her daughter Dakota Raine at 37 weeks.

Christina (27), originally from Miami but living in Portstewart with her partner Adam, has thousands of followers on social media and documented every step of her pregnancy with Dakota Raine via Instagram.

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Maternity blogger Christina Campbell

Maternity blogger Christina Campbell

Maternity blogger Christina Campbell

She gained an enthusiastic following along the way, until the couple got the devastating news at the end of January that their daughter's heart had stopped beating.

Despite the terrible tragedy the couple decided to continue to share their story via social media in the hope of helping other parents experiencing stillbirth and neonatal death.

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A cherished keepsake

A cherished keepsake

A cherished keepsake

"We've been pretty open about this, I work on social media and we just felt it would be better to talk about her and have people talking about here and saying her name instead of keeping it ourselves," said Christina, mum to three-year-old Olivia.

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STAYING STRONG: Christina with her daughter Olivia

STAYING STRONG: Christina with her daughter Olivia

STAYING STRONG: Christina with her daughter Olivia

"We didn't feel that we'd be honouring her if nobody knew about her or was aware of her. We're quite open about a lot of aspects of our life and we wanted Dakota to be one of those parts that we share.

"We've had literally hundreds and hundreds of people thinking about her and celebrating her with us which was really quite special."

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She documented on Instagram the changes her body underwent throughout her pregnancy with Dakota

She documented on Instagram the changes her body underwent throughout her pregnancy with Dakota

She documented on Instagram the changes her body underwent throughout her pregnancy with Dakota

Christina, who was targeted for deportation by the Home Office in 2019 but won a temporary visa to remain, said she had documented her journey initially to inspire body confidence in other pregnant women.

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She documented on Instagram the changes her body underwent throughout her pregnancy with Dakota

She documented on Instagram the changes her body underwent throughout her pregnancy with Dakota

She documented on Instagram the changes her body underwent throughout her pregnancy with Dakota

She continued: "Pretty early on we found out I had gestational diabetes again, I had it with my first child as well.

"What that meant was my body stopped producing insulin and the babies tend to get very big in the womb which is why Dakota ended up being 10lbs 3oz at birth. She was a big girl.

"Apart from the diabetes it was kind of a perfect pregnancy, there wasn't any sickness or anything like that. Just the weight of her, and I talked about that on social media.

"I think what you see on social media of pregnancy are these perfect, tiny, petite pregnant women and that just isn't the case for the majority of women.

"So I was often posting pictures of the bump and showing my stretch marks and so on to show that these kind of body changes are also real.

"I was pretty vocal about that because I think it's pretty sad that women are very tough on themselves during pregnancy and the last thing we should be doing is focusing on what our bodies look like because we are creating another life.

"So that was a big part of the journey and I tried to stay positive about it."

However, despite her almost problem-free pregnancy, Christina became concerned about her baby in the third trimester before receiving the devastating news Dakota had died.

She recalled: "Towards the end of the pregnancy there were a couple of moments where I didn't feel certain things as much and I was a little bit concerned.

"Despite the worry we believed everything was going to be ok and then at 37 weeks we actually found out that the placenta had failed and Dakota had passed away.

"Obviously with that comes tears and pain. It's like your world is turned upside down literally from one day to the next.

"It was to be the last scan before a planned section due to her size and at that scan there was no heartbeat, no movements and nothing coming from the placenta.

"It went from preparing for her to come home to all of a sudden that's not happening anymore.

"That's very hard, those phone calls are hard, we called family and friends straight away and we came home in shock.

"You're never prepared to hear that and you never think you're going to be one of the families that go through something like this.

"Two days after that we had to go and deliver her which was also quite scary and strange to think about and not something you'll ever think you'll have to do."

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The couple's announcement of the loss of Dakota Raine on Instagram

The couple's announcement of the loss of Dakota Raine on Instagram

The couple's announcement of the loss of Dakota Raine on Instagram

Despite their pain the couple agreed they would continue to document Dakota's journey via social media.

"Very quickly we decided we wanted to share what happened, we live in a small town on the north coast and there were already people who knew about it and we didn't want it to be small town gossip or anything like that," Christina added.

"We wanted our story to come from our own words. What we received from people I don't think any of us were prepared for, it was so beautiful.

"It was like the world was coming together to celebrate and love her and keep us in their thoughts.

"We got gifts sent to the house from people, things like jewellery pieces with her initials engraved on them and mail from loads of different people.

"The community really came together to let us know that we weren't alone and that they were thinking about us. That was so powerful because then we had to go to the hospital and deliver her knowing that we weren't going to be bringing her home which was horrible.

"At Antrim Hospital we had so much peace. They welcomed us with open arms and the team were incredible. They made us laugh in some moments which is not something you can imagine you'd be able to do in that scenario which was lovely.

"The midwives and the team were just unbelievable.

"There were so many people letting us know they were thinking about us on social media and we honestly really felt that in the room.

"It was like something else had taken over in that moment when we were delivering her, it was amazing. We just felt so much love."

Following Dakota's delivery the couple arranged a funeral and invited their social media followers to engage in the ceremony by sharing pictures and videos of their own families.

Christina said: "That was also really special because hundreds of people got involved. We asked them to take family photos or share a favourite moment and so many people got involved.

"Stars and rainbows seemed to be the theme and lots of people were posting themselves in bright outfits or dancing with their kids.

"That was a really special day and we really wanted to celebrate her because for the short nine months of her life she was just kicking and dancing and was all over the place in the belly so we thought that was an appropriate way to honour her.

"We decided that for the rest of our lives we want to continue to celebrate her and we're going to make things like that happen.

"Adam is running four miles every four hours for 48 hours which ends ths Sunday (April 25) and we've invited people to join in and set up a GoFundMe page.

"The goal was £1,000 and we are way over that and approaching £4,500 already which is amazing. The money is going to go directly to Sands which is a charity which supports families like us going through this.

"We'd like to bring awareness to something which is quite taboo, people are afraid to talk about it or get very uncomfortable talking about it. That's completely understandable but sometimes the most important conversations are uncomfortable ones."

n More information about Sands (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Society) charity and Adam's fundraising efforts can be found by searching "4 Miles for Dakota" on the GoFundMe website or via Christina's Instagram @withchristinacampbell


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