Harry Arter has shared the heartbreaking memory of when he and his partner Rachel Irwin found out their baby daughter Renée was stillborn. The footballer, who plays for Bournemouth, has written a column in The Players' Tribune, describing the shock and numbness he felt when the doctor told him their baby had sadly died, just a few days before Christmas in 2015. Harry described how the nurse had done a scan and detected a heartbeat, telling Harry: "You're going to meet your little girl tonight."
The sportsman left the delivery room for five minutes to get Rachel's bag from the car, but when he came back, it was too late. "When I came back to the room, Rachel was crying her eyes out," Harry wrote. "She was in absolute pieces. I didn't understand what was happening. There was a doctor standing by the bed, and he had a blank expression on his face. Rachel said, 'She's gone.'
Harry and his partner Rachel welcomed their second daughter in February
"I went numb. I didn't understand. Five minutes before that, everything was fine. We were about to meet our little girl. She has a name. Her name is Renée. She had a heartbeat. She was about to meet this world, just five minutes before." Harry, 27, continued: "He explained that Renée had died in the womb. The nurse had picked up the wrong heartbeat on the first scan. She had picked up Rachel's heartbeat by mistake. That's why it was so fast. Our baby was gone."
He went on to reveal that the hardest part was waiting ten hours before Rachel was able to give birth naturally. "When the doctors delivered Renée, I was in such a total state of shock that I didn't have the strength to hold her in the arms," he wrote. "It is my biggest regret. I couldn't embrace the reality of what happened." The couple went home and Harry's footballer friends Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis helped pack up the nursery and put everything in storage.
Harry describes how the next few days were "a blur of emotion". He had a match against Manchester United a few days after Renée's stillbirth, saying he wasn't sure if it was the right decision at the time, but he wanted to do it for his daughter. "It was very emotional. We went out and won the match, but that was beside the point. I just wanted to finish the match for Renée," he wrote.
Harry and his partner Rachel welcomed their second daughter Raine Renée in February. The little girl now sleeps in her older sister's nursery. "Even now, we still see it as Renée and Raine's room. They are a part of one another's story," wrote Harry. At the end of his lengthy post, he concluded: "The waves of sadness will probably never go away, and I am thankful for that. As long as those waves live on, then so does Renée."