Docs let my baby’s brother die…

Camille’s new­born was just seven days away to from hav­ing the right Is live... and so he died. there any jus­tice in that?

Real People - - OUR MAD WORLD! - As told to Clare Stone & Christina Wood (sto­ries@re­alpeo­plemag.co.uk)

We stood over an in­cu­ba­tor: me with my heart break­ing into pieces; the doc­tor with a sad, re­gret­ful face.

In­side it was my lit­tle son, my beau­ti­ful baby boy, Archie, with his tufty, blond hair and pointy chin.

‘I’m so sorry,’ the doc­tor was say­ing.

Archie had been born too early – at only 25 weeks. Then menin­gi­tis got a grip of him and now his or­gans were fail­ing, one by one, and I was los­ing him.

‘There’s noth­ing more we can do,’ the man was say­ing.

‘I know that,’ I told him. ‘Thank you for ev­ery­thing...’

And I meant it, from the bot­tom of my heart.

This ded­i­cated bunch of medics at Liver­pool Women’s Hospi­tal had moved heaven and earth to save my baby.

It was so dif­fer­ent to last time... Eight months ago, I’d lost an­other pre­cious baby. An­other lit­tle boy – Al­fie, my fifth child. Light­ning had struck twice.

But that time, a dif­fer­ent set of doc­tors and nurses had been in­volved. I felt they could have done more. My lit­tle one died, gasp­ing in my arms.

I’d never get over it... When I fell preg­nant with Al­fie, me and my ex-part­ner, Ed­die, al­ready had An­drew,

14, Chloe, 11, Olivia, four, and two-year-old Iss­abella.

‘Please have a boy,’ An­drew had begged me. ‘I’m not sure how many more plaits I can do!’

‘I want a brother, too,’ footiemad Olivia piped up. ‘Some­body to watch Liver­pool with.’

While my youngest girls loved any­thing pink or to do with princesses, Olivia was happier in her football kit.

‘I’ll do my best,’ I’d promised. I loved the chaos of my big fam­ily. Ed­die was a gar­dener, while I was a stay-at-home mum. My chil­dren were my world. At 17 weeks preg­nant, we paid for a scan to find out the sex.

‘It’s a boy,’ the sono­g­ra­pher smiled. ‘Yes!’ Olivia said, punch­ing the air.

We went straight out to buy clothes.

‘This is so ex­cit­ing,’ Olivia grinned, ri­fling through the rows of blue clothes.

We ended up buy­ing a trouser set, which had braces.

‘Say cheese, girls,’ Ed­die smiled af­ter­wards, tak­ing a snap of them pos­ing with the clothes.

We an­nounced the sex by post­ing that pic­ture on Face­book, af­ter we’d told An­drew and Chloe.

‘I won’t be out­num­bered any more,’ An­drew laughed.

‘You’re go­ing to be the luck­i­est lit­tle brother ever,’ I smiled, rub­bing my bump.

We de­cided to name the baby Al­fie.

But when I was 22 weeks plus five days preg­nant, I was get­ting din­ner ready when I felt a pain.

‘This doesn’t feel right, Ed­die,’ I wor­ried.

Leav­ing my mum, Dianne, with the kids, we went to Orm­skirk and Dis­trict Gen­eral Hospi­tal in Lan­cashire.

The con­sul­tant didn’t ex­am­ine me and just said, ‘Brax­ton Hicks. You’ve got lig­a­ment pain, too.’ If he says so...

‘Take this sup­port belt, it’ll help,’ he said.

He was the ex­pert, af­ter all. But two days later, on 25 April 2015, the pains got worse.

‘These are con­trac­tions,’ I panted.

‘It’ll be OK,’ Ed­die croaked as we drove back to the hospi­tal.

There, we got in the lift with a lit­tle girl and her mum.

‘What’s wrong with that lady?’ she whis­pered, point­ing at me.

‘She’s just hav­ing a baby,’ her mum smiled.

‘I can’t be,’ I screamed in­side. But in the de­liv­ery suite... ‘You’re 3cm di­lated,’ a mid­wife said. ‘It’s too early,’ I sobbed. I was just 23 weeks gone... I knew that doc­tors didn’t have to fight to save a baby born at less than 24 weeks.

My baby had a week to go, to be safe.

‘There prob­a­bly wouldn’t be any­thing we could do if he came now,’ the mid­wife said, con­firm­ing my fears. ‘I’ll get a doc­tor.’

‘Please save my son,’ I begged him as an­other con­trac­tion ripped me apart.

‘If this baby looks like he has a fight­ing chance, we will in­ter­vene,’ he told me. Thank God...

But when I pleaded for a scan, and steroids to help his lit­tle lungs in case he did come,

I was given noth­ing.

At 8.32pm, I howled like a wounded an­i­mal as I pushed my silent son into the world.

‘It’s OK,’ Ed­die sobbed. But it wasn’t.

Al­fie weighed just 1lb 2oz. The mid­wife wrapped him in a towel and brought him over to me.

She put a hand on my shoul­der. ‘You must take some com­fort that he passed dur­ing de­liv­ery,’ she said.

‘Noooo!’ I shrieked.

She put him in my arms and I held my dead baby close.

I could hear the mid­wife telling the doc­tors there was noth­ing more they could do, and then they left the room.

I looked down at Al­fie. He was tiny, with a smat­ter­ing of blond hair... And... Oh, God! – Breath­ing! ‘He’s alive!’ I screamed. Ed­die jumped up. ‘Look,’ I sobbed. ‘You can see his heart beat­ing.’

‘You can,’ Ed­die gulped. Al­fie’s skin was so thin, you could see his or­gans, his tiny heart beat­ing away.

I shouted for the mid­wives. ‘He’s breath­ing!’ I pleaded. ‘Get the doc­tor.’

I shouted again. ‘He’s alive,’ I sobbed. ‘He can make it.’

I could feel Al­fie gen­tly mov­ing his lit­tle hands and legs.

I kept hold­ing him close, as if my heart could keep his go­ing.

‘We need to get the pla­centa out,’ the mid­wife told me. ‘You need to stand up.’

I re­luc­tantly handed Al­fie to Ed­die.

‘Why aren’t you help­ing him?’ I cried.

But they seemed fo­cused on help­ing

An hour af­ter Al­fie was born, the doc­tor came back.

Mummy will al­ways love you

‘He needed you,’ I screamed. He shook his head. ‘There’d be too much dam­age now, it would be cruel,’ he said. ‘I’m sorry.’

I ba­si­cally had to wait for Al­fie to die.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I sobbed, cud­dling him. ‘We love you so much.’

I show­ered him in kisses and sang You Are My Sun­shine.

But two hours and 13 min­utes af­ter he was born, Al­fie took his fi­nal breath. I felt my heart shat­ter.

‘They let him die,’ I screamed. That’s how it felt to me.

We had his hand and foot­print casts done, and then I was al­lowed to go home.

‘I hate leav­ing him be­hind,’ I wept.

Thir­teen days later, we brought him home with us for one night be­fore his funeral.

‘Mummy will al­ways love you,’ I choked, bathing him ten­derly.

That night, Al­fie slept in a moses bas­ket next to me, and the next morn­ing, I dressed him in a white, foot­less sleep­suit.

I tucked the heart pen­dant from my neck­lace into his hand, wrapped the chain loosely around his wrist.

‘My heart will al­ways be with you,’ I whis­pered.

We played Let It Be at his funeral, and as his lit­tle cof­fin was low­ered into the ground, I vowed I’d get jus­tice for him.

‘If he’d been still­born, I could ac­cept it,’ I told Ed­die. ‘But he was alive. Surely that mid­wife shouldn’t have let the doc­tors leave.’

When I fell preg­nant just six weeks later, it was fear that clutched at me.

We had a meet­ing about Al­fie’s birth with staff at the hospi­tal. They opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

‘Do you think you could have done more?’ I asked.

‘In hind­sight, yes,’ they said. ‘That isn’t good enough,’ I yelled. ‘Take what has hap­pened to me and lis­ten to other mums – take them se­ri­ously.’

My baby was gone.

It was all I could ask for...

For my new preg­nancy, I was un­der the care of a dif­fer­ent hospi­tal, Liver­pool Women’s Hospi­tal – of TV’S One Born

Ev­ery Minute fame – who re­alised I had an in­com­pe­tent cervix and put a stitch in. It kept baby Archie safe un­til his birth at 25 weeks – past that hideous cut-off – but he weighed just 1lb 9oz. And de­spite a fierce fight, now he was gone, too.

‘Be with your big brother,’ I sobbed. ‘Play on the clouds to­gether.’

We brought Archie home straight away, where he slept in the same moses bas­ket as Al­fie.

I read him The Smartest Gi­ant

In Town and held him close. He was buried next to Al­fie, clutch­ing the heart ear­rings that matched the neck­lace his brother had.

Two lit­tle brothers, ly­ing side-by-side, my heart aching for them both... We mud­dled

through

the My chil­dren gave me strength to keep go­ing

My beaut­ful baby boy, Archie, was born at 25 weeks

Ed­die and me com­forted Al­fie as he took his last breath

Isaac is such a happy lit­tle baby boy

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