The Lullaby Trust
“We miss our baby boy every day”
Christine Lamb, 31, from Wigan, tells us how The Lullaby Trust offered its support after the sudden death of her baby boy
Christine and Stephen were delighted when just six weeks before they were due to get married, they discovered they were to have a baby. Christine was also mum to Jordan, then nine, Katie, seven, and Kai, four, and when baby Jack was born on 15 March 2015, they were over the moon to welcome him into the family. Jack was a big healthy baby with a happy and placid disposition, totally adored by his siblings. Christine says, “On Sunday 2 August 2015, we had a birthday party for Kai, who was to be five the following day. We met with some of Kai’s friends at a big play centre in Warrington and afterwards we went on to McDonald’s. It was a sunny and warm day and I worried that Jack would get too hot and so we decided to eat outside. He hadn’t been feeding particularly well all day but I put this down to the excitement, the noise of the party and the hot weather.”
That evening, the couple put the children to bed before decorating the lounge with balloons and banners and wrapping gifts for Kai to open in the morning. Eventually, the household settled down to sleep after a busy day.
Christine says, “I woke with a jolt at 6am; I was freezing cold and felt strange. Call it mother’s intuition but I glanced over to Jack in his cot and I knew something was wrong – he just didn’t look right. I can’t describe how I felt, my heart was racing and I began to panic. I woke Stephen and asked him to check on Jack. Alarmed, he jumped out of bed and immediately shouted for me to call an ambulance. I began to scream but managed to make the call, crying hysterically. Stephen had started CPR on Jack as soon as he realised he wasn’t breathing. Within minutes, the ambulance arrived, and I rushed downstairs to go to hospital with Jack, leaving Stephen to sort out the children’s care and follow on with our clothes. However, the ambulance crew told us that Stephen must come too. Our neighbours – who had been woken by my screams – kindly looked after the children, who were understandably shocked and upset. The ambulance crew worked on Jack all the way to Wigan hospital before whisking him off to A&E. Stephen and I waited anxiously for news. At one point, I heard a baby cry and was so relieved until a nurse explained it wasn’t Jack. When we saw several nurses come past crying, we realised we’d lost our beautiful baby boy. They had done all they could but he never regained consciousness. He was just four months old.”
Not ready to return to their home, the family stayed with Stephen’s parents for a week. Even after they returned home, Christine never went into their bedroom again; she and Stephen slept on a blow-up bed in the lounge until they moved house six months later.
Stephen, who worked for a large recycling company, was granted six months’ leave on full pay, his employers even paying for bereavement counselling for the couple because there was a long wait on the NHS.
Christine says, “Everyone was so lovely but I was really struggling. I would go to the churchyard late at night to sit by his graveside to be close to him. It just didn’t make
sense to me – I wanted answers, something to explain what had happened, but the coroner’s report was inconclusive: there was no reason found for Jack’s death. I found this incredibly hard to accept.”
A member of staff at the coroner’s office, who had also lost a child, suggested Christine should get in touch with the Lullaby Trust.
“I hadn’t heard of it before but I was desperate for help as I was falling apart and had three children who needed me. I rang the bereavement support line, which put me in touch with its befriending service, which in turn matched me with a befriender volunteer – a lady who had been through the same trauma.
“She called me every week and we could talk about anything. It was an enormous relief to be able to talk about what happened. I had been feeling like I was the only person in the world to have suffered such a loss. She understood exactly how I was feeling and she gave me hope that one day, I will be able to learn to live with the grief.
I learnt her child had died and in time, she had gone on to have another baby.”
Sadly, two years after Jack’s death, Christine and Stephen split up. Since then, Christine has stayed in touch with The Lullaby Trust, receiving comforting emails around Mother’s Day and on the anniversary of Jack’s death, and there’s a memorial page on the charity’s website for him. Each year, the charity organises family days, and
last year, Christine and the children went to Blackpool, where they met up with other families who had been through similar experiences.
Christine says, “It was so hard dealing with the children after Jack’s death. Kai hardly spoke for months, and when he did, he accused me of lying to him. I had told him that everything would be okay but obviously it wasn’t to be. As he gets older, I hope he’ll understand I was only trying to protect him. It doesn’t help that Jack died on Kai’s fifth birthday – every year, we celebrate, but there’s always the memory of Jack. As hard as it is, I have to try to make the day special for Kai.
“The Lullaby Trust has helped us through some very difficult times and to see beyond them. My daughter held a bake sale at her school for the charity and she says she wants to work for it when she’s older – she realises just how much it has helped us as a family. I’m feeling more optimistic about the future and perhaps I’ll have a another baby if I meet the right person. Money raised in The Candis Big Give is going towards more phone lines being manned and therefore more befrienders, which is a good thing. It’s so important that families can get support after suffering a tragedy.”
The Lullaby Trust is committed to reducing the number of SIDS deaths and supporting bereaved families
It has invested £12m in research and over the last 40 years has made a major contribution to reduce sudden infant deaths by 40 per cent
Working with the NHS, it runs Care of Next Infant (CONI), to support bereaved parents before and after the birth of a new baby
The Lullaby Trust
TOTAL RAISED: £75,730
➸ Funds raised in The Candis Big Give will enable the charity to support families with a unique range of services, including professional phone, email and social media services and a peer-support befriending service.
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