Ruby was a happy placid baby, she had just cut her first tooth and was enjoying solids. Ruby was described as pristine, which she really was. She had beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. She was just perfect.
I had a good pregnancy with Ruby. The only problem was when I was in a car crash while eight months pregnant. But luckily, neither Ruby or I were hurt in the crash, even though the car rolled.
One morning in August 2002, I woke up with her beside me in bed. She was warm and floppy. I picked her up and started screaming. My friend Julie then rushed in and took Ruby off me.
Julie told me to leave the room and she started to do baby CPR. It was really distressing; I wanted to be in the same room as my baby. When the paramedics arrived they took Ruby off to the hospital and I followed as quickly as I could.
As I got to the hospital I could see the nurse waiting outside and straight away I knew that Ruby was dead.
Waiting for the cause of death seemed to take forever. I also had to go to an inquest. The inquest was not a nice experience. I had to leave when they spoke about the post-mortem as I didn’t want to be present for that. I know what happens and I really didn’t to hear all the details.
The outcome of the inquest was ‘unascertained’. To this day it still makes me feel numb to have no reason at all for Ruby’s death. I thought cot death only happened to babies under three months until Ruby passed. Cot death doesn’t really get spoken about until it happens to you or someone you know.
I saw a paediatrician after the inquest who went through the post mortem with me. He said that the results should have read SIDS, but I said it’s still the same: we don’t know why she died.
My eldest son was my rock throughout all of this – although he didn’t know it at the time as he was only five years old. My mum was there for me, as well as my sister. I then had some counselling and got counselling for my son too.
I first learned about The Lullaby Trust when I was given a card with the details of the charity’s bereavement support line at the hospital. It took me a few days until I decided to get in touch. I still have that card somewhere. The Lullaby Trust provided me with a Befriender which was a great help.
I visited Ruby’s grave as often as I could. My son chose the spot for her to be buried.
I’m booked to do an abseil down the Mittal Orbit in London on what would be Ruby’s 18th birthday in January 2020. My mum and sister have both done parachute jumps in her honour and I’ve done the women’s 5k challenge with my niece, as well as doing Miles in Memory and a sponsored push over the years, all to raise money for The Lullaby Trust.
I have good and bad days but I’ve learned to live with Ruby’s passing. She stays with me in my heart. I find talking about her keeps her memory alive and although it can be upsetting it gives me some comfort.
If you have experienced infant loss and want to share your story, click here.