A mum whose first baby lived for just a few short weeks has spoken out about the ordeal in the hope of helping other parents facing the same heart-breaking trauma.
Baby Lexi lived for just 19 days after her birth in September 2011 after unexpected complications late on in mum Sam Charles-Kerr’s pregnancy.
The newborn had to be resuscitated when she was delivered by emergency Caesarian section and she stopped breathing several times afterwards.
She had suffered irreversible brain damage and the heartbreak decision was made to halt the intensive care that was keeping her alive.
Now Sam and partner Danny Kerr raise money for the children’s section of Keech Hospice Care, which is where Lexi spent her final days and passed away on September 21.
Sam and Danny, who have so far raised £12,000 for the good cause, are now parents for the second time to 20-week-old Caitlyne.
Sam, a 26-year-old nursery nurse who hopes her story will help bring some comfort to other grieving parents, said: “We used to think everything happens for a reason. We feel Lexi came here to help others.
“We are helping others with their children who have life limiting illnesses.
“The big thing is to talk about it. It helps you. You have to talk about things otherwise you won’t stay together.
“You have been through something so traumatic to talk about it is the best healing process.
“If you bottle it up it is going to be harder to deal with.
“Sometimes you want to shut that door but then you have to think when is it going to be opened again.”
During the time the couple spent with Lexi they would play and sing her songs and Sam says she still likes to listen to those tunes.
“The nurse said whatever songs you play you will never want to hear again, but I love listening to those songs because that is what I shared with my daughter,” said Sam, who lives in Berkhamsted.
After her death, the mum says the hardest thing was facing a shopping trip in Hemel Hempstead’s town centre.
“The first time was the hardest for me, seeing buggies everywhere, but you have to do it.
“I was also worried about going back to work because I didn’t want people to treat me any different. I didn’t want the parents thinking they couldn’t talk to me about baby things.
“I wrote a little note to say: I’m fine, you can talk to me about anything and ask me questions. All the parents were fantastic.
“To have someone not talk to you is the worst thing. Danny had a friend he has known for years walk across the road – saying nothing at all is the worst thing.”
Sam said deciding to have another child so soon after Lexi’s death – Caitlyne is around 15 months younger that her big sister – was a difficult decision.
But the pair had already decided they wanted to have children close together before tragedy struck.
“We always wanted them close together,” said Sam.
“I was worried in the beginning that people would think that it was too soon.
“It can be a worrying time but you have to treat it as your second child and a different pregnancy.”
After Lexi’s death the couple took up counselling with the still birth and neonatal death charity Sands and they regularly visit the nurses at Keech Hospice Care, where Danny is now a board member.
After the success of a football tournament in Lexi’s name and in aid of the hospice, the family are organising another event at Hemel Hempstead’s Cavendish School on Saturday, July 27 from 10am to 4pm.
The family fun day – which is being sponsored by Butlins and CES Electrical in Luton – will have two tournaments for adults and children.
The adult competition is seven-a-side football with teams of eight to 10 players and costs £10 per person.
For children there will be a five-a-side tournament with six to eight players per team and it costs £1 per player to enter.
After the event there will be an auction at Olly’s Bar in Marlowes with some special prize draws.
To sign up to play or for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org