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So what happened on that Sunday?  Nothing unusual.
 

We woke early and Alfie was making himself known (although we didn't know at the time that would be the last time we would feel him move)

It seemed like he'd had enough and was coming out the way he was pushing against Andrea's tummy. We got up and got on with things. Andrea was feeling a bit poorly, tummy pain but nothing unusual. Dinner came and went and Andrea felt a bit worse so she went off to bed.

About four o clock, the eldest kid Jason came downstairs and said 'J, mum wants you'. I went upstairs and Andrea was in the bathroom holding some toilet roll. She said look, it had blood on.

I tried not to panic, called the delivery suite who said we needed an ambulance. We declined, as we needed someone to look after kids so we called Andrea's mum who came straight over. Meanwhile Andrea got worse so we called an ambulance ourselves anyway.

Whilst waiting for the ambulance Andrea went a horrid grey colour. I freaked out, started pacing, wishing the ambulance to arrive. An ambulance car pulled up with a paramedic who came in and started to look after Andrea, asking things, talking to her and whilst he was doing that a proper ambulance and crew arrived.
 


 

They came in and saw Andrea and decided to get her straight to hospital. I was doing things like picking up bus timetables thinking I was coming home later. Silly me. I managed to find Andrea a pair of knickers and a nightshirt and that was that we were off to hospital in an ambulance lights and sirens.

The ambulance went the wrong way to the hospital along the ring road. Andrea was pretty much out of it but it struck me odd. I found out later the ambulance crew was from Halifax and were just following the computer but even if we would have gone straight to the hospital things probably wouldn't have changed.

I thought going to the hospital, that they would just look her over say everything's fine and send us home so weren't too concerned. They was a scare the Monday before when Andrea called me at work saying she had been to the doctors and her blood pressure was sky high, so I left work and went to the hospital with Andrea. They checked baby's heart beat, Andrea's blood pressure and tightenings and everything was fine so we went home. We had an appointment two weeks later on the 7th so we weren't too bothered. We spent the following week until the Sunday talking about the best thing for Andrea and baby for the rest of the pregnancy.

Back to the Sunday, we left home at 4.20pm, got to the hospital at 4.40pm and were taken to the delivery suite, room 5. That's when it hit me. I was to become a dad. Fantastic! Andrea was being wired up to this and that, things were very confusing. They put a heartbeat monitor an Andrea's tummy and they couldn't find one. It crossed my mind, what if the baby's died but it passed as quick as it came and I said to the midwife, It's just the baby, it lays towards her back." "Now you tell me!" she said. They bought in a scan machine and started trying to find the baby. Andrea wasn't watching, she couldn't, but I was sat right in from of it. Our baby wasn't moving. I was scared, what's happening? I started to realise the impossible. The baby we wanted so much and so loved was dead.



They crowded round Andrea and shut me out. I stood up and was just close enough in time to hear them say, "The baby's dead." That was 5.20pm. My world collapsed. How? Why? When? Surely me and Andrea should have been together when they told us? The first thing I said was, "Ok, baby's dead, take care of Andrea." Then I asked for a smoke.

I thought they were going to take Andrea away remove the baby and that was that, but things had only started to go bad. She was losing loads of blood internally, bleeding so bad that caesarean wasn't an option. That night was awful. I'd lost my baby and was going to lose my girlfriend too. That what I thought anyway. She was so ill, so many machines, monitors and wires. We needed each other and cuddles, but we couldn't with all that. They gave her some gel and broke her waters eventually at 9pm. My mum, Andrea's mum, the kids, they all paid visits that night but briefly.

Eventually at ten to two in the morning the final stages of labour started and at 2.05am Alfie Sam Crowley was born. He was so beautiful. I've never felt such love for anyone. We held him straight away and the feeling was magic. We talked, we cried. I told him how much I loved him and cared for him. How much I wanted him. I showed him the sky and all the time the pain inside was so bad. My son, my one and only son dead. Thoughts of the funeral were running through my head but how bad is that? My son was born and I was thinking about burying him!

We stayed in the delivery suite till 9 that night when we went to the bereavement suite on M3 where we were given a room at the end of the ward away from all the other mothers. We had to take Alfie up under the blankets so as not to scare anyone. How cruel. Being with those new babies was terrible, why couldn't ours be awake and screaming? I went for a coffee at 6 in the morning on Tuesday and heard a baby crying and that's all it took for me to cry.



 

The following days were strange, everyone being so sorry, knowing not what to say, so many people and visits.

Everything was a blur but every moment with our baby counted. We couldn't have him home to live so those few days would be our only experience of being a family. On the Wednesday we had a naming ceremony. Alfie was in his smart clothes, a nice little suit. We didn't know at the time we were spending our last few hours being able to hold him, love him and change him. My strongest memory of the day is just before the funeral director came to take him away. I placed him in his cot facing the window to the most beautiful sunset. It was a lovely golden orange and the moment was perfect. We were then told the funeral director had arrived so we said our goodbyes and cuddled our baby for the last time.

He came home on the Sunday, the night before his funeral and we had planned a nice family night. We were all going to give him a love, Andrea to change and bath him. We had bought him a new outfit to wear and a big coat so that he wouldn't get cold but the funeral director said it wasn't a good idea to hold him or change him. This really hurt. He was supposed to spend his night in his moses basket but instead he had to spend the night in his coffin.

All we could do were hold his hand and kiss him. Not all we wanted but enough. This was the only time we would be together as a complete family me, Andrea and all the kids. It was such a special night. We took him to bed with us at night time in his casket and he laid besides our bed all night.



 

The morning of the funeral came, people coming and going, then we had the service. It was nice, just what we wanted. I had decided that I would be the one to carry our baby's coffin and I did. He stayed on my knee all the way to the cemetery.

It was raining but by the time we got there it had stopped. We had a small graveside service, the vicar said a few things and I read a poem. Then our baby was laid to rest. I wish now I had been the one to lower his coffin but I didn't. Leaving the cemetery was not easy but we had to.

Finishing this a few months after it all happened is like writing about something that has happened to someone else not me. I still can't believe when I start to think that I've lost my son. I know where he is, I know he's at rest but I've lost him. There's nothing I can do to bring him back, he's gone. But he's always with me inside my heart, inside my mind. I know now he's safe and at peace. I know that he will always be my baby, my son, and that there's nothing anyone can do to stop the pain or take him away from me. Alfie will forever be with me in my heart.
 

A proud daddy with his little boy

 

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