My first child was born in 1988. It was a normal pregnancy with no complications.
I then went on to have four miscarriages: October ‘91, March ‘92, November ‘94 then March ‘95. When I discovered I was pregnant again I feared the worst but made it past the nine-week mark.
I was jubilant but worried at the same time. Each antenatal appointment was a milestone. There were further complications and it was decided I would be induced at 38 weeks into my pregnancy.
Peter was born weighing 6lb 8oz. He was healthy and beautiful. We named him after my father and was an end to years of failed pregnancies, tears and trauma.
Within five days Peter developed a head cold. I was told this was quite common and would pass. I was breastfeeding and Peter was gaining weight rapidly. He continued to have sniffles and runny noses but generally seemed to be OK.
He was checked regularly by my GP as I knew something was not right. I had this feeling that twisted my tummy and wouldn’t go away. On the Thursday he began making noises when he was feeding. I was worried so took him to my GP. I was dismissed as being a panicky mother and told to go home, relax and enjoy my child.
The following evening, Peter seemed restless and I struggled to get him to settle. My husband asked if we should take him to the hospital, I wanted to wait and see how he was. We could take him in the morning.
Peter woke at 5am for a change and a feed. He was irritable and didn’t want to latch on. I eventually settled him down and laid him in the bed beside me. I was afraid to move him as he looked so restful.
The sunlight through the window woke me around 9am. There was a stillness in the room almost as though time had stopped. I sprung out of bed with an unknown urgency. As I got up the duvet had fallen, covering Peter and I just knew. My heart missed a beat. I pulled back the duvet and saw the blue tinge to his skin. He was still warm. I didn’t know what to do. I blew into his mouth and blood came out of his nose. I panicked and I screamed.
The ambulance arrived quickly, but seemed to take forever. We were bundled into the back of the ambulance and tore off to the hospital. The sirens were blaring and the ambulance was full of activity. Peter was receiving CPR. In the hospital he was taken straight to resus. I was sat in the corner of the room listening to beeps and shouts, people coming and going. My head was whirling. Please be ok. Please be ok. I knew he’d gone. Left me. The bottom fell out of my world.
As we left the hospital, the nursing staff were distraught, trying to stay professional but clearly affected by what they had just seen. We were given a handful of leaflets. One was for The Lullaby Trust (then known as The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I’d heard about SIDS, cot death. It was always one of “those” things that happens to other people, not us, not me.
A couple of days later I made the call. I spoke with a nurse. I do not remember the conversation in its entirety, but I do remember the lady telling me that this was not my fault, and tried to reassure me. I couldn’t talk for crying, every word was a sob but she was there, on the end of that telephone with me for what seemed like an eternity. Everything I was scared to say to my husband, my parents, my sister and brothers, my son, because I didn’t want to upset them further, I poured my heart out to her. I was broken. That lady saved my life that day. She was there. This stranger, who knew nothing about me. She cared and took my call.
I went on to have two daughters after losing Peter. I continued to receive support from The Lullaby Trust via the charity’s Befriender service and the CONI programme.
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