When I was pregnant with Carly it was easy and no different to being pregnant with my other children. After giving birth to Carly I needed to have two pints of blood as I lost a lot during the delivery. Carly was totally fine though. She was beautiful. A good weight – 9lbs – and the only baby I breastfed.
My children Dan and Sarah were nine and six at the time of Carly’s birth and they loved her. Sarah was really happy to have a baby sister. They were really great with Carly and loved helping with nappy changes and taking her out for walks.
Carly was born 1st June so it was lovely weather outside. We would go on lots of walks in the area where we live. It’s a village surrounded by fields and countryside. If you walk in one direction you can go for miles and not see another person.
One morning in August, I woke up and found Carly dead in her cot. She had on a quilt and had been sleeping on her front.
She was still warm so I don’t think she had been dead long. My husband gave mouth-to-mouth in the hope to resuscitate her but I knew he wouldn’t be able to. We didn’t ring an ambulance as we thought they would take too long so we jumped in the car and got to Swindon hospital in about 20 minutes (it’s a 30-40 minute drive usually).
After it was confirmed that Carly was dead the police were called. They came back to the house with us, took the mattress and bedding and we were interviewed but no further action was taken.
Luckily Dan and Sarah had been at my parents’ house the day Carly had died. They wanted to see her but I didn’t let them. In the hospital I wouldn’t go and see Carly once she had been pronounced dead but my husband did. He said they had put a little hat on her head like a Victorian mop cap and he said she looked beautiful just as if she was sleeping.
Sometime later the Back to Sleep public health message came out. I wish I had known that advice before, but then I had never even heard of cot death or SIDS before Carly died.
We had lots of family and friends to support us at this difficult time. We were offered counselling but we both preferred to deal with it ourselves and supported each other. I organised all of the funeral and my mum came to stay just for company while my husband was at work.
When our son Dave was born, Sarah would look at him all the time to make sure he was still alive. Dan never talked about it. I made a conscious decision to not treat Dave differently or check on him more than normal – although I did spoil him a little.
Sarah and I talk about Carly all the time. Sarah has raised money for The Lullaby Trust and she always researches everything from car seats, vaccines to mattresses etc to make sure she can make an informed decision. Dan lives abroad so we don’t really chat about Carly but he has always sponsored me whenever I do some fundraising. I’ve taken on a lot of challenges and my favourite was in Patagonia in April 2002. I trekked across the Andes from Argentina to Chile. There were some incredible views. At one point we were 7,000 feet above sea level. and I raised £3,700 for the charity.
When my grandson was born I did worry more and at first I would constantly check the monitor or even touch him to make sure he was still breathing but he is 17 months now so he’s gone through those crucial first six months.
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