Diamond in the sky
My beautiful baby girl died as she slept beside us on the sofa
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.