Jay – 12 weeks

Jay Stewart Cooper was born on 29th November – two months early. He lived 12 weeks and 5 days. I was so scared of him being born so soon, I didn’t even ask if he was a boy or girl. Four minutes after he was born I asked what he was. He had been put on my chest and the midwife laughed as she’d forgotten to check as well. When she said “it’s a boy” I was so happy. My 15 month old son had a brother!!!

After 5 days in hospital I brought him home.
I was so happy. His big brother Liam adored him and his sisters Sophie and Katie were so excited to meet him! We were staying at my Mum’s house as Liam had an accident 3 weeks before Jay was born and I didn’t feel
ready to go home. Eventually when Jay was about 7 weeks old, we moved back into our house. We were all so happy, and Jay was a wee smiler, most of the time very content. We called him King Jay as he ruled the house! On the 5th March we had a good day. I put Sophie, Katie and Liam to bed. I sat cuddling Jay for a couple of hours, fed & changed him and put him to bed. An hour later I went to bed.

At about 4:15am I woke to go to the toilet. I checked on Jay on my way there. I put my hand on his cheek, for a second I thought he was just cold but then I realised he wasn’t moving. As soon as I picked him up I knew he was gone. He didn’t feel like he normally did. I screamed at him to wake up. He didn’t, but my other kids did so I ran downstairs with Jay. I phoned an ambulance and the operator told me how to do CPR. It was awful-nothing I did helped.

Then the paramedics and police arrived, one paramedic sat with me while the other tried to bring Jay back.

After 4 minutes he looked at me and shook his head. I was in shock. My whole life had changed in 14 minutes. The Police helped me and the other children and asked where I wanted to go. We went to their dad’s house. Telling him was so hard. I couldn’t stop screaming. It was all so unreal. Telling my Mum and stepdad was agony, then my extended family. But my liaison officer was very supportive. His support made things easier. He let me come and sit in his car to let me have 5 minutes to myself. Then I had to focus on the funeral. In a strange way planning it made me feel better as I had something to do. I carried Jay in his casket on the day with the help of his Dad. It was very hard as I knew this would be the last time he’d be physically near me. My brother John let fifty balloons into the sky at the graveside.
After the funeral reality set in I had to learn to live without Jay. We had to change our routines so the gap he’d left in our lives didn’t feel as huge as it is. Evenings were and still are very hard. They were mine and Jay’s special time. I miss our cuddles, his smiles. I also had to deal with his crib, clothes, chair etc. I still have everything except the cot I found him in. I couldn’t bear to look at it.

Six months on, I still miss him so much. I always wonder what he’d be like. His hair? He was dark when he was born but he had started going blonde. Would he be crawling? Sophie talks about him a lot. She draws him pictures. Liam still looks for him. Katie likes to look at photos and DVDs of him but doesn’t say much. Jay will always be a part of us. He will always be loved and because he lost his life so early we will cherish ours more for him.

Shona (Mum)