My brother Tom died 18th December 1986 at 7 months old. I wasn’t born until 2 years later. I’ve always known about Tom. There was never a definitive moment I can remember of being told about his death, he was always kept as part of the family. We normally get together on his birthday and the anniversary of his death. We keep his memory going by talking about him, what he liked doing, how close he was to my dad and with the photos we keep around the house.
In 2013 I fell pregnant with Archie. It was a typical pregnancy until about 2 weeks before I was due to have him. At a routine midwife appointment, I was told I had to go to hospital as my blood pressure was far too high. They tried over 4 days to induce me but couldn’t get me to go into labour so performed an emergency c-section. Both my children after Archie have been planned c-sections
Archie was a very happy, easy going, content, smiley little boy. He was a big baby who was active and alert. He had a laugh that sounded like a witch’s cackle that we all loved.
We loved our walks. We would walk through a park in Liverpool quite a lot. I also have two brothers who had babies around the same age so we spent a lot of time visiting them. We decorated his room with the Hungry Caterpillar theme and would read that book plus the Gruffalo most days. He loved playing in his baby bouncer and would spend 20 mins at a time happily bouncing in there.
Archie died on the 2nd of June 2014 when he was 6 and a half months old. The day before he had been his normal self; we had visited mine and my fiancé’s families before heading home. After hearing about my mum losing Tom and the fact Archie and Tom looked so similar I was extremely paranoid about SIDS and would have nightmares that he had died constantly. Because of this we followed all the advice on how to prevent SIDS. We waited until he was 6 months old to put him in his own room, he slept on his back, used a dummy and we had a breathing monitor under his mattress. The only thing I couldn’t do was breastfeed which I guess was because of the traumatic birth.
On the 2nd of June at 7am my partner’s alarm went off for work. As he was walking part Archie’s room his breathing alarm went off. I heard my partner say ‘You ok mate?’ And then he started screaming and I knew what had happened. He brought him into our room and he was blue and unresponsive. I tried to wake him up while my partner rang an ambulance. At the time we lived very close to Alder Hey Hospital and they were there within 10 mins. They took him to hospital and worked on him for about an hour but they never got him back.
After speaking to the pathologist weeks later we were told there was no reason he died that they could find. He was perfectly healthy and couldn’t find any reason this had happened.
I didn’t cope very well after his death. Immediately afterwards I remember begging the doctor to go back in a save him, screaming at the person who tried to take him off me as I was told he needed to go in the fridge. I remember my brother saying to my mum ‘Make her stop making those noises, she sounds like you did’. He was 3 when they lost Tom, my other brother was 6 so they were living childhood traumas again.
Since this has happened my partner has had two stokes due to stress, the first one was about 5 months after losing Archie. My mum is still on antidepressants after that day. I refused to take any pills and had quite in-depth counselling which helped me massively.
On the date of what would have been Archie’s 2nd birthday we found out I was expecting my little girl Pippa. Although this was an extremely worrying time she helped us all live again. Then on Archie’s 5th anniversary of his death I found out I was expecting again and we had Charlie 2 weeks ago!
I was in touch regularly with The Lullaby Trust when Pippa was born. Both her and Charlie are part of the CONI scheme where we were given a breathing monitor and CPR training. Charlie also wears a monitor to measure his blood oxygen levels and heart rate which is helpful.
CONI has been great. When I had concerns about Pippa we were seen by a doctor straight away which was a massive help as we were both so paranoid that the same thing might happen to her. I’m sure we will have scares with Charlie too but it’s comforting to know we have to same help available