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The True Impact of Cot Death

This is what happened the morning I found my son had died, I wrote it all down as I need it out of my mind and I have found it helps others also understand and helps them help others.

9am I wake up knowing something is wrong, if you have a newborn and have not been woken up for the night feed something is not right. But then there is the part of you that thinks, oh stop worrying so much maybe he is just starting to sleep through the night, so why when you look over and see the blanket covering your baby face don’t you want to move it. Why do you have this deep fear of what your going to see, why does your heart feel like you have lost something so special to you, why are you so scared if everything is ok. You don’t want to move that blanket, you don’t want to look but you have to, so you do. For some reason there is a smile on your face as you get ready to see your baby, that tiny part of ‘everything is ok’ is still with you, your just going to move the blanket and see your blue eyed boy looking at you wondering why your taking so long to get some milk to him, so you move the blanket a shaky hand and a heavy heart. As I am looking at my baby I can feel the smile slowly dropping from my face, I can hear myself whispering no, whispering it over and over again, getting louder with each No, No No NO….

My baby is not under this blanket, not any more, He is bluey grey, his sleepy open eyes staring at me not blinking, no longer moist, his tiny mouth open full of still bubbles spilling out. His arm floating in the air not resting on anything. This is not longer my baby I have woken up to, a corpse has now replaced my baby boy, This morning the 15th September 2009 is the start of my real life nightmare.

How can I talk about this so calm? How can I Be so cold, is that what your wondering? Because I still don’t believe it, it does not feel real to me, how could this happen to me? I feel I am talking about someone else, sharing someone else’s tale not my heartache.
As soon as I saw my son, I knew he had died, there was no doubt, but I thought maybe I could get him back and I could not do it alone.999 I thought but my phones where downstairs and I did not want to leave Alfie alone and sadly nor did I want to pick him up.
But I knew I had to do something so I slid my hands under him and the blanket and picked him up that way. He felt like a doll, so heavy, so still, so stiff….I don’t remember bring him down stairs and placing him on the sofa, nor do I remember opening the front door, my next memory is looking at my son on the sofa and my heart breaking.
I stood in the middle of the room and screamed, I had physical pain in my stomach that made me bend over, I wanted to stop screaming but it just kept coming over and over again, I have never screamed like it in my life and I don’t think I could ever scream like it again. I cant explain the feelings that was rushing through me at that moment I was looking at my little baby nil of life and it was down to me to help him.
I was scared of him, he did not look like a baby the way he looked scared me, when he grew in my womb he also grew a new part to my heart just for him, and I could feel it ripping away from me.

I managed to calm down and call 999, the call is a blur to me, screaming, crying, begging. I remember the man on the phone telling me to calm down, I have to try to resuscitate alfie, he asks me to put Alfie’s head back and to make sure his mouth is clear. It kills me to say it, but I hesitated, I did not want to touch alfie, I was too scared to feel what he would feel like now, but again, I knew I had to. Alfie’s head would not go back, it would not move so I had to leave it the way it was, I wiped his face to get rid of the bubbles and I remember feeling ill when I saw his mouth was open and there was lots of bubbles inside his mouth, they was not moving it proved to me he was not breathing,

Together me and the man on the phone counted to 40 while I was pushing on Alfie’s chest then I covered his mouth and nose and blew into his mouth twice. We did this many times over, I was crying to the man telling him its not working I need more help, I cant do this on my own. Each time I touched my son a bit of me died too, how could my baby be so cold? Its not normal for a baby not to be warm. I heard shouting from downstairs and ran out onto the balcony and saw the paramedics trying to get in, I had forgot to tell the man on the phone about the door code so they could not get it. I shouting down the door code and begged them to hurry and save my baby, I ran back in and carried on counting and pumping until they got to the house. As soon as they ran in I stood back, I was crying and begging them to save alfie. It was at that point I remembered my daughter upstairs in her cot…..

My poor daughter has been trapped in her cot during all of this, she had been hearing me screaming, crying and begging for help. I can not begin to imagine what she thought must be going on, when we went up to get her she was sitting in her cot sobbing her little heart out. But I knew at this time I was not going to be able to be strong for her.
I had to try to get someone to come and get her. As we left the house I noticed so many police everywhere, one officer asked me if I had a spare set of keys, I explained I only have one set would he like them. He said no its ok, he will leave the door open as the police need access as its now a crime scene, the panic I felt in that moment he said they words, I cant tell them why alfie has died, I don’t know what happened, but they think I killed him and I am going to go to prison.

In the ambulance I was sitting on one seat and honey was across the other side, I could see the confusing on her face, I was sitting there sobbing not knowing what to think, alfie was in another ambulance on his way to hospital before me and honey had left the house. I rang my friend Cathy, the phone call was confusing and manic, she just remembers me saying, come to the hospital and get honey, I think Alfie’s is dead, no he is dead oh I don’t know please come hurry, she asked if I had been in a car crash as she did not understand what was going on. She said she would make her way there. After that phone call the paramedic put her hand on mine and looked into my face and said ‘ I know that you know, and darling you now have to be strong ok’. I nodded at her and tried to understand what she meant, later I realised what she meant, she had told me my son had died.

As we arrived at the hospital and got out of the ambulance I saw alfie ambulance parked in front there was so many people inside I could not see alfie at all, we walked past it and went into the A&E department, I was taken to a room to wait for a doctor to come and speak to me, I was in there for what seemed such a long time, as the minutes grew long so did my hope, surly if they are taking this long they have got him back and are just helping him now. I even day dreamed the moment the doctor would come and tell me they have got him back but he is very sick but I can go and see him now. I was starting to calm down thinking it will all be ok now. When the doctor entered the room, his face gave away nothing, he did not look sad, he did not look like he was about to kill the last bit of life I had inside of me, he explained that they had tried to resuscitate alfie for 25 minutes and he is not responding and would I like to go in and sit with him while they stopped.

Even though I had woken up to my son already dead, even though I had tried myself to bring him back and felt how lifeless he was, even though I felt his cold skin and saw his chest no longer rising, it was these doctors words which made it all true, all my hope had left me, my womb where my son had grew before I even knew he was there was feeling the pain, making me bend over in physical pain. How could this hospital not have saved him? This cant be true, my son cant leave me.
I went into the room were alfie was, the first thing I noticed was once again how many police there was, again the thoughts spinning around my mind, Do they think it was me? How can I tell them it was not me, when I cant say how he died, how long will they let me see my baby for before they take me off to prison, Does everyone here hate me thinking I have done this? Its only after speaking to people that I now know this is normal, the police have to come and stay with every sudden death. Even so the amount of police about was not normal and I found out later that one of the nurses complained about how many officers were about. I don’t know if there was that many because there truly was suspicion about me that day, or maybe it was not a busy day for the police and they had nothing else to do, for what ever reason it was having that many police there was such a harmful thing to do, for about 5 weeks after Alfie’s death I was so scared of police coming to arrest me I could not even grieve for my son.

The fear of this is so hard to explain, you yourself know you have done nothing wrong, but no one else does, the thought that people might have thought I could have harmed my baby in anyway was killing me just as much as waking up and seeing my son had died. The guilt you feel is there from that moment you woke up, how could I not have realised? Why did I not wake up earlier, why did I just not stay awake all night. Did I roll on him? Did I hurt him? Was it something I done? What could I have done differently. These thoughts are in your head 24 hours a day, nothing anyone can say will ease the guilt you feel. Until your baby has tests done, autopsy included there is a element of suspicion placed upon you until they find out the reason your baby has died. To live with this is heartbreaking, you start doubting yourself, wondering if it was something you actually have done, you distrust those around you, wondering do they think you have done it? Everything is so confusing and painful and there is not one thing you can do about it.
When I saw my baby boy so tiny on that big bed tubes in his mouth stickers on his body, I did not believe he had died, he looked so much better then when I found him, he was no longer stiff, and had a better colour about him, his eyes were half open, he just looked sleepy. I remember saying again and again, no he has not died he is just sleeping. A nurse wrapped alfie in a blanket and got me a chair so I could hold him, when she placed him in my arms I noticed how heavy he felt, my little boy only 8 pound 5 felt so heavy!  Nothing seemed real, how could he be dead? When I put him to bed he was fine, he was awake and not ill so how could I wake up in the morning to this, its something even now I do not understand. I felt so empty holding him, why is he so cold? Even being wrapped in warm blankets does not warm him up, to look at your baby so still, no noises make him flinch, his chest no longer rising his eyes open no longer blinking is so unreal, while holding him I kept thinking I could feel his leg moving I was sure it was, I guess it was my brain playing tricks on me as you never hold a baby and for them to be so still.
This is the true facts of cot death, you don’t morn the loss of your baby, your too traumatised to think straight, your in shock, your in a living nightmare…

When you hear of death, people say I am so sorry for your loss, but there is no understanding of what actually happens. When a loved one dies usually your prepared, you know they are ill. And they are around people who can look after them. But to wake up one morning and have to try to resuscitate your baby your baby who you put to bed fit and healthy and ALIVE who is already dead is a nightmare that many don’t talk about. Since that morning I cant go into my daughters bed room in the morning unless I hear she is awake, I am too scared to walk in to that room if there is silence, I am scared of what I shall find. I cant pull down the duvet on my bed with out fear racing through me of what might be underneath I cant wake up in the morning and look over the other side of the bed, I have to get up and leave the room before I can look there. Just hearing a police siren gets my heart racing as the emotions of that morning come rushing back to me in one hit. I cant go to sleep with out the image of my son dead in my bed being on my mind. I cant read books, have conversations laugh and joke, with out replaying that morning in my mind over and over again. There is no peace in my mind anymore I am living a nightmare that I don’t see can ever end. I will never wake up from this. Half of me feels this is ok. Because if I wake up I have to start accepting my son is not coming home, I will never hold, smell, touch him again. And then I have to realise this is true this is what really happened.

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