I feel I have to write about the day we lost our precious boy. I replay the day over and over in my head, like I’m on a treadmill with nowhere to run. It’s a cruel trick of my mind, constantly looking to find a loop hole to change what happened. I think it’s the shock and incomprehensible finality that there is nothing I or anyone else can do to change the outcome. Harry died. It’s taken me months to be able to write these words or say them out loud. Our beautiful baby boy died on Friday afternoon, 6th April, 2018.
It was Easter half term. Harry had only been going to Nursery, for about 5 weeks he went with Brooke every Tuesday. It had been so long since I’d had a day too myself, I felt very lost, the house was so quiet…it just didn’t feel right. Lee and I used to compete over which one of us got to go in and collect Harry first, because the welcome he gave us was heart melting! As soon as he spotted one of us, he would get up and run over, sometimes with a little cry and arms out. He was the most affectionate little boy in the world. All the nursery girls adored him and often said he gave the best cuddles and had such a delightful nature, gorgeous smile and wicked little laugh! I miss his cuddles so much.
Harry’s first day at Nursery (with “catty” his favourite toy and comfort teddy!) Brooke’s since adopted “catty” and looks after him for Harry.
Harry and Brooke both had mild colds, we were all ‘bat and balling’ viruses around our house between us all. It was that time of year when the doctors surgery was full of coughs, colds and poorly little ones. They just pick up everything going at that age…and we all said “it’s good for them to build up their immune systems.”
Lee went away for a night with friends to watch a boxing match in Cardiff, so I was home alone with the kids. They were both a bit off colour, but still playing and making a mess! Lee read Harry a story that morning, I adore this photo of Harry idolising his Daddy.
Brooke and I had a “sleepover” together, we painted our nails, had sweets, popcorn and a film, it a lovely girly evening, while Harry was asleep in his cot.
Easter Sunday and we waited for Daddy to come home to do an Easter egg hunt. I had bought Harry a dairy free egg, because of his allergies and lots of little toys for them both. I loved making days special and creating fun, family memories together.
Easter Monday was a typical UK bank holiday...it was pouring down! But, we had planned to take them both to see Thomas The Tank Engine, and that was exactly what did. I am so pleased we went, we had a fantastic day out together. It was our last family day out with Harry and we will treasure that day for as long as we live. I find seeing Thomas The Tank Engine so hard now, even hearing the theme tune makes my heart jump and tears sting. Maybe one day I will find comfort in seeing Thomas again…
Over the next week, they both went to Nursery on Tuesday, came back starving as usual! They sat together, enjoying hot cross buns (Harry always finished Brooke’s!) He was a great little eater, despite having food allergies. But, he never missed out, I made him cakes and meals that looked just like ours (without the dairy, eggs and nuts.) I didn’t want Harry to ever feel any different or to feel he was missing out in any way.
By Wednesday, I didn’t feel well, I think I had whatever virus the kids had, so we had a day at home. They utterly destroyed the lounge…it was quite special! Even Daddy came home and said he thought it was probably their best work!
Thursday is usually playgroup, but it was the holidays, so everything stopped. But, we needed to get out for some fresh air. It was a lovely day, so we went to the park…twice! We had ice creams (Harry had a sorbet) but he wasn’t really bothered. But he still wanted to run about with the other children…he thought it was great fun!
That evening, he was happy and running about with Brooke. He got ready for bed happily and then we surprised Daddy, who was working late. Normally Harry would be asleep in the car and Brooke would be chatting away. But, that evening it was Harry chatting away…and Brooke was asleep!
Friday morning and Harry was sat up in his cot waiting for a cuddle. We stayed at home for the morning, I still didn’t feel great, and Harry was a bit under the weather. He had a bit of a cold, was irritable and cuddly, but he was still bringing me books and happy enough playing with Brooke and eating hula hoops! Brooke was a bit tearful, don’t think she felt 100% either, so I called Daddy and asked if he was near by. He said he was actually nipping back into Haslemere, so he would pop home. Harry was trying to make “Alexa” talk and gave Daddy a big cuddle. Brooke cheered up, so we went out for a teacake, as I needed to go into town for a few things and I thought we could all do with getting out the house for a while.
Harry wasn’t happy to sit in his highchair, he just wanted cuddles, so I knew he wasn’t feeling great. He was just like any other toddler at 20 month old, acting up a little and being a fuss pot with food. But, he was happy to stand in a chair next to me… and when I asked him to sit down….”No, No, No!” was Harrys response! “No” was Harry’s new and favourite word! He then decided he wanted to bring me magazines to read! Usually I would have taken a photo, but for some reason, that day I had left my phone at home. I am so irritated with myself that I did that, I don’t have a photo of Harry on our last morning together.
I put Harry in his pushchair and we left Hemigway’s coffee shop, he looked a little dazed, but it was past his nap time and I asked him if he was tired, he ‘nodded’ and just looked like he wanted his nap. He had always liked his sleep and didn’t like to miss out on his afternoon nap. So, I whipped around town quickly, as I wanted to get him home. He was nearly asleep in the car, but I caught him just in time. Brooke wanted a drink, but I said, “just wait a moment and let me put Harry to bed.” So I took him upstairs, stripped him down to his vest and popped him in his grow bag. We had a cuddle and I put him in his cot. He had a little grumble, and I remember raising my eyebrows as I went downs the stairs…thinking to myself, “I thought you were tired Harry!?”
Brooke had swimming at 3, so I felt guilty that Harry wouldn’t have a very long nap, but I thought any time would be better than no sleep. I used to do a lot of baking and a friend had asked me to make meringue kisses for her daughters birthday. So that’s what Brooke and I did, we baked meringues… I haven’t been able to bake again since that day.
At just after 2:35, I said to Brooke, lets go and wake Harry, we need to get ready for swimming. Brooke enjoyed waking Harry up, she loved him so much and they shared a room together. We went into their room and I expected Harry to stir, but he didn’t. So I said “Come on Harry, wakey, wakey.” But nothing. Something just didn’t feel right…I then noticed how flat he was, completely face down into the mattress.
I felt a surge of terrifying panic flood through me. I touched him, he didn’t feel the same, and as I rolled him over I could see his face and lips were blue and he felt cold. That moment will haunt me for the rest of my life. I screamed “Nooooo Harry, No.” I picked him up and ran down the stairs. I had been on 2 child and baby first aid courses and somehow I remembered that I needed to get help before anything else. I grabbed my mobile from the kitchen table and ran to the neighbours banging on their door and screaming. Poor Brooke was terrified and running after me, she wanted to help. I had already dialled 999 and through my phone at them to help. My initial thought was that Harry was choking. I looked in his mouth, slapped his back, thinking something was maybe lodged in his throat. I started CPR on my own baby boy.
I really thought we were helping him, as the colour returned to his face. Time just stood still, it was only minutes before the ambulance arrived, but it felt like so much longer. What was wrong?….I had no idea what had happened? Harry had only been in his cot for 50 minutes, not even an hour. What could have possibly happened in that time?
The paramedics worked on Harry in the ambulance, I just sat and watched. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe this was us…this was actually happening to us. I didn’t let myself think that he wouldn’t make it. I just believed that they would save him. I watched them work so hard on his little body. I watched as they drilled into his leg…I watched as another ambulance crew arrived and jumped in with us. I knew this was serious, but I still couldn’t let myself think that this wasn’t going to be OK. It was our real life nightmare (still is.) The sheer panic and heart wrenching stabbing physical pain that I felt was too overwhelming to process. I couldn’t process any of it. I spoke to Lee very briefly, and said “you have to leave now, you have to get to the hospital…Harry isn’t breathing.” He dropped tools and got to Guildford A&E before us. Lee said he could hear the ambulance coming…he must have been terrified.
We arrived and I fell into Lee’s arms. “His heart has stopped Lee.” A whole team was waiting for Harry, I thought finally we are at hospital, they WILL SAVE HARRY, they will see that something is wrong and he will be OK. We were encouraged to sit near Harry, they wanted us to see that they were doing everything they possibly could for him. We watched as they tried to save his life. They did a pulse check every 2 minutes, but it felt like every 10 seconds. At one point we heard a nurse say, we have a pulse…we had a glimmer of hope. But, that faded within a couple of seconds. No pulse. They tried and tried for our baby boy, but I think we knew he had been without oxygen for too long. Then came the words from a consultant… “I’m sorry, it’s catastrophic.” They all agreed to stop. Harry died.
Lee cried instantly, he just cried for Harry. But, I just sat there numb, cold and shaking. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t do anything. I was so angry that I wasn’t crying, where were my tears? Why am I not crying for my baby?
But I just sat there numb. This wasn’t happening. Not to us, not to Harry. This happens to other people, not us.
Nope…NOT US. Not our precious little Harry BoBo. x