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My Baby Died A Cot Death

My Baby Died A Cot Death

My much-loved baby, died from a cot death! As I type this I can hear the giggles and laughter of my 7 year old daughter Ruby......

At the same time I glance over to a photo on my coffee table. A gorgeous blue-eyed baby smiles back at me and my heart melts and breaks at the same time. That baby is Marnie Mae, my beautiful little daughter that could not stay. Marnie died in 2004 aged just six weeks to the horrors that is cot death (aka SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

After what was a shock discovery in finding out I was pregnant and a normal pregnancy, Marnie was born in September 2004 weighing 8lb 12oz. A beautiful, chubby little girl who loved her food, her cuddles and who managed to light up a room with her presence.

I remember looking at the shop windows in November 2004, which were all dressed for Christmas. I could not wait for our first family Christmas and had already started buying Marnie Christmas presents in anticipation. On 4 November 2004 I remember commenting to Marnie's Dad, how incredibly happy I was and how lucky I felt. Life was amazing. Perfect. Ironically that very same day was the last time I was to see Marnie alive.

Why Me?

I found Marnie dead in the early hours of Bonfire Night 2004. It has been almost 8 years, but the horror of that night will remain with me, plain as day, for the rest of my life. I lived on a permanent rollercoaster of devastation, guilt, anger and all-consuming sadness. The 'why me's?' were never ending. But above all I just missed her so much. Her smell. Her cuddles. Some days I did not even have the strength to get out of bed. For days.

Another Baby?

Marnie lying down
We decided to try again for another baby very soon after Marnie's death. Again, this was associated with so many emotions. Namely the guilt for even contemplating another child and the utter fear that 'it' would happen again?. Ruby Mae was born in September 2005 a perfect 10lb baby, not even a year after Marnie's birth. I felt numb. The barriers were well and truly up "just in case" and for several weeks I am ashamed to say I felt nothing.
Thanks to the CONI scheme (Care of the next Infant) Ruby was attached to a apnoea monitor, an alarm which would go off if Ruby did not breathe for longer than a few seconds. It went off. Frequently. Every time it went off I felt like I could have had a heart attack. I often wondered whether these were false alarms or whether Ruby too had stopped breathing.

In time the barriers came down and the love I felt for Ruby was incredible. I started to smile again. But I would still wonder about Marnie constantly. I wondered what she would be looking like now and whether she would be like Ruby. I felt angry that she missed out on everything Ruby was enjoying. I felt sad that the girls were not together. It got to a stage however where I felt I had to do something positive.

Marnie Maes Place (www.marniesplace.co.uk) is a website for bereaved parents that I have constructed. It is there to support bereaved parents and there is also information so that you can keep your baby safe.
Chantal and Ruby
I have also written a book - Little Wings - which is a story about my journey in losing Marnie and it really is no holds barred. The aim of the book is to help parents who have lost a baby, at any stage and many people have said that reading my story enabled them to feel normal in what is very much an abnormal situation. To understand that what they were feeling was okay. I have also been told that Little Wings offers hope for the future. You can order a copy of my book at www.marniesplace.co.uk and also find out more about safe-sleeping tips and ways to keep your baby safe.

By Chantal Lockey
August 2012

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