Di­a­mond in the sky

My beau­ti­ful baby girl died as she slept be­side us on the sofa

Chat - - Inside - By Melissa Watkin, 35, from Hull

Rock­ing my new­born daugh­ter Sophia in my arms, I in­haled her sweet baby scent. She’d ar­rived just weeks ear­lier last June. ‘You’re Mummy’s lit­tle princess,’ I cooed at Sophia, kiss­ing her cheeks. At 5lb 5oz she was a bun­dle of pure per­fec­tion. She al­ready had me and her dad Chris­tian, 46, wrapped around her lit­tle fin­ger, and my daugh­ter Ella-maye, 8, doted on her, too. ‘My turn to hold her!’ she’d beg, des­per­ate for yet an­other cud­dle. She’d also help me change and bathe her, and pulled funny faces and sang to Sophia if she cried. ‘You and I,we’re beau­ti­ful like di­a­monds in the sky,’ she’d chant, singing along to the Ri­hanna song Di­a­monds. Sophia slept through the night and was never any trou­ble. But one night in Au­gust, when she was 8 weeks old, Sophia woke us up cry­ing. ‘What’s up, sweetie?’ I whis­pered. She was tucked up safely. So I lifted her out and sat on the sofa to bot­tle-feed her. It seemed to do the trick, and Sophia was soon asleep again in my arms.

I got her set­tled on the sofa cush­ion and sat be­side her. By now it was 5am. We’d planned a fam­ily trip out to the sea­side.

As Chris­tian and I needed to be up early to get ev­ery­thing ready for the day ahead, in­stead of go­ing back to bed, we sat ei­ther side of Sophia on the sofa.

Safely nes­tled be­tween us, she was ly­ing on her back and had plenty of room.

I was so tired, I must’ve drifted off as soon as I closed my eyes.

The next thing I knew, Chris­tian was shak­ing me awake at 8am.

‘Time to get up,’ he yawned.

I stretched and then looked down at Sophia.

She was on her front. She must’ve rolled over, I thought.

But then I no­ticed her face was against the sofa cush­ion.

I picked her up, but her tiny body was cold. Life­less. Panic set in. I let out the most hor­ren­dous, blood-chill­ing scream.

‘Wake up!’ I cried des­per­ately, rock­ing my baby. ‘Wake up sweetie, wake up!’

Then I re­alised that Sophia wasn’t breath­ing and that her face was blue.

Chris­tian im­me­di­ately be­gan per­form­ing CPR and I phoned an am­bu­lance.

‘What’s wrong with Sophia?’ I then heard a lit­tle voice ask.

It was Ella-maye and she was white with fright.

I ush­ered her out of the room and, min­utes later, an am­bu­lance ar­rived.

Chris­tian and I left Ella-maye with a neigh­bour, while we raced to Hull Royal In­fir­mary with Sophia.

Paramedics per­formed CPR the whole way there.

But it was no use – our baby wasn’t re­spond­ing.

At the hospi­tal, doc­tors and nurses swarmed around my tiny girl.

Chris­tian and I looked on in hor­ror as they tried to

re­vive her. Please wake up, I prayed.

A nurse led us to a pri­vate room.

Then, mo­ments later, a doc­tor came to see us.

‘I’m so sorry,’ he said, al­most chok­ing on his words. ‘We did all we could.’ Sophia was gone. The whole room span. I couldn’t stop scream­ing! ‘No, not my baby!’ I sobbed. It didn’t feel real. Chris­tian and I held each other as we cried. ‘Why?’ I begged for an­swers. ‘We don’t know yet,’ the doc­tor replied.

The pain was un­bear­able. I didn’t know how to go on with­out my baby.

Back at home, we had to tell Ella-maye.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I cried, try­ing to ex­plain. ‘The an­gels took her.’

Poor Ella-maye – she was in

We looked on in hor­ror as they tried to re­vive her...

bits, ut­terly in­con­solable… ‘It’s not fair,’ she wept. Over the next few months, a post­mortem was car­ried out. I tor­tured my­self, though. ‘It’s my fault,’ I cried to Chris­tian. ‘I should never have let her sleep on the sofa.’ I blamed my­self for fall­ing asleep, too. If I’d been awake, I could’ve kept an eye on her. We didn’t know how or why she’d died and my mind raced with unan­swered ques­tions. I be­came de­pressed and couldn’t leave the house. I spent days just star­ing into space, blam­ing my­self. Sophia’s toys were all around the house and her bibs and romper suits were still in the wash­ing bas­ket.

See­ing her things just made the pain more raw. Even­tu­ally, we got an­swers. The post­mortem was un­able to reach a solid con­clu­sion.

The pathol­o­gist ex­plained that there was a chance she could’ve died from suf­fo­ca­tion, there was also a very high chance sud­den in­fant death syn­drome was the cause.

And they also be­lieved that she’d died half an hour be­fore we’d found her.

‘You can’t blame your­self,’ the pathol­o­gist told me.

That De­cem­ber, we held Sophia’s funeral at our lo­cal church. Her cof­fin had a rain­bow on it.

Ella-maye read a poem and we played Ri­hanna’s Di­a­monds. The words just felt so fit­ting. ‘Sophia is a di­a­mond in the sky now,’ I told Ella-maye.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, we re­leased some pink and white bal­loons into the air.

Ella-maye is hav­ing coun­selling now.

And Chris­tian and I are about to start, too.

Try­ing to carry on with­out our baby is tor­ture. I think about her ev­ery day and dream about her ev­ery night.

I’m de­ter­mined to keep her mem­ory alive. We have pic­tures of her ev­ery­where.

Our pre­cious lit­tle di­a­mond will al­ways be in our hearts.

Shine bright, my baby girl.

Ea­gerly await­ing our girl’s ar­rival

Lit­tle helper Proud El­laMaye doted on her baby sis­ter

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