A heartbroken couple bought bags of frozen peas to create a makeshift cold cuddle cot after their baby boy died.
Alice and Sam Taylor’s 12-day-old son Thomas suffered a cardiac arrest following a viral infection. He died in an ambulance as he was rushed to hospital.
The couple wanted to take him home one last time before his funeral but there were no special cuddle cots, also known as cold cribs, available.
Alice, 27, said: “Sitting in the Asda car park, cuddling my baby boy while Sam went in to get five bags of frozen peas was bizarre, thinking if I see anyone I know, it will be a very strange encounter. I was willing Sam to hurry up.”
The former teacher added: “As bizarre as it sounds, it didn’t feel strange, because if I could have held him forever, I would have. And this was Thomas’ final journey home, so in a way, I never wanted it to end.
“Taking Thomas home one final time felt like something, as parents, we had to do.
“We played Ellie Goulding’s ‘How long will I love you?’ on the journey home, and we took Thomas to the park for the first and last time.
“It meant family and friends could meet him, or say their goodbyes, and it enabled us to create precious memories that we will cherish forever.”
Alice and Sam are now raising money for the Snowdrop Suite at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to buy one or more cuddle cots, which have a cooling mattress that stops a baby’s body deteriorating so parents can spend time with a child who has passed away.
They also want to help buy clothes and blankets for the Snowdrop Suite where parents can come to terms with the loss of a child and are supported by caring staff.
She said: “Thomas was in there for four weeks while everything was sorted out, and the staff were amazing. We were able to dress him, make keepsakes of handprints and footprints, and castings of our holding hands.
“They were our counsellors and our support, and they were there with tea and biscuits.”
The former teacher, who has another son Jack, two, gave birth to Thomas at home last November.
She said: “He was healthy, all the checks were healthy, he was breast-feeding well, and he only lost 1% of his birth weight.
“But when he was about nine days old, I realised he hadn’t fed as well the night before, and I felt his back when I changed his nappy and he was hot, he had a temperature.”
Alice and Sam, 29, a ship manager for Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, raced to Arrowe Park Hospital near their home in Prenton, Wirral.
Thomas was given antibiotics as medics carried out tests before a decision was made later to transfer him to the children’s hospital.
“He was blue-lighted to Alder Hey, but he never even made it to ICU” said Alice.
“Everything came crashing down around us when we lost Thomas, but after living a nightmare and watching him unable to fight any longer the bereavement care workers at the Snowdrop Suite were there when we needed them most – as well as being there for us now.
“We created so many memories there as a family, and they helped us to bring Thomas home for one last time. That night we stayed up, and we sang to him, people who hadn’t met him held his little hand and touched his face.
“It’s not something you think about, taking your baby home after he has passed away, but it’s important that everybody has this chance and that’s why we are raising money to buy a cuddle cot and other things for the Snowdrop Suite.
“Not having a cuddle cot could stop other families having those magical memories that we had that special night, and we are passionate that other parents and other families in our situation can have the experience that we had.
“Having an extra cuddle cot for parents like us who want to take their babies home just before their funerals will mean they have the chance to say their final goodbyes and hold their baby one last time like we did.
“Nothing will make losing a child okay, but having the right support and the chance to say goodbye as you want to is key to surviving this nightmare.”
Having passed their original £3,000 target, Alice and Sam are continuing to raise money for the Snowdrop Suite.