Mitchell – 8 weeks
Mitchell John Stuart was born on 6th November 2008, a whole week late. It was all a bit dramatic as my labour was really slow until the last minute when Dave had to catch him as he was coming out! He was the most beautiful baby with a full head of thick, dark hair. We knew instantly that we wanted to call him Mitchell. It was our favourite name for a boy and we liked the idea of calling him Mitch for short. His big brother Ben who was 5 at the time was delighted with his little brother and was our first visitor to the hospital.
The first few weeks at home with Mitchell flew past and before we knew it, it was Christmas time. We had a lovely Christmas and a quiet Hogmany. We decided to invite some friends and both our families over on 2nd January and I can remember thinking I had not held Mitchell all afternoon as everyone else was wanting a turn! When everyone left that night, we went up to bed having no idea that by the morning our lives would be changed forever.
When we woke up in the morning I instantly noticed that Mitchell’s nose was bleeding and when I looked closer it was obvious he wasn’t breathing. Dave and I were both in a state of panic and then I shouted at him to call an ambulance. The operator gave Dave instructions on CPR while I went downstairs to wait for the ambulance. It feels a bit of a blur but I remember hearing the paramedic saying he didn’t think there was much they could do.
On our arrival at the hospital, a doctor came through and said it didn’t look good but they were trying their best. I think I knew that Mitchell was already dead at the house but I kept feeling like I was in a dream and that I would wake up any minute and be relieved it wasn’t real. But it was real. A short time later the same doctor came through to tell us that Mitchell was dead. We were then interviewed by the police which we now know is normal procedure with any sudden death. It was pretty scary at the time though, as I was already blaming myself and felt that the police must have been blaming me too.
Leaving the hospital was heart breaking. How long do you stay with your little boy, knowing that once you leave you will never see him again? On our way out, a nurse handed us some photos they had taken, a lock of his hair and a hand and footprint. I know they were trying to help but it was the last thing we wanted at that time.
For the next few weeks, we lived at my mum’s house. We weren’t allowed back in the house to start with, again this is normal but even once we were allowed back in I initially said I never wanted to go back. However, my feelings changed after a while. It was the strangest time, people coming to visit but not knowing what to do or say. Even going to the supermarket became a big ordeal as you never knew who you would bump into and how they would react towards you. I look back and wonder how we got through that time, having to deal with the police and everything else on top of losing our baby.
We decided to have a humanist funeral as neither of us are religious and we felt that this would have suited us better. We then got in touch with the Trust who came to visit. It was then we decided to throw ourselves into fundraising for them. That definitely helped us get through the first part of last year, I suppose it was something to focus on.
By the beginning of April, I found out I was pregnant again. I thought I would be over-anxious but in fact the excitement of having another baby was stronger than the fear and we somehow got through 2009. On 19th December, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Brooke Lucy Stuart. She’ll never know how much happiness she brings us. She looks very like Mitchell as she has loads of hair too. She’ll never replace him but her birth was a lovely ending to a year which started so terribly.
We still miss Mitchell every single day and the older Brooke gets, the more you realise how short his 8 week life really was. Ben has coped so well, he speaks about his brother all the time and worries about Brooke but he is more than happy to help out with her. It is so frustrating not knowing why Mitchell died and even more frustrating is the fact that we probably never will know.
We will never forget Mitchell, and will probably never get over the horrific events of that day. We can only hope that one day there will be an answer for us and the many families that this affects every year.