A YOUNG mum has told how she was left utterly heartbroken after waking up following a night feed to find her three-month old son's lifeless body lying next to her.
Laurie Jade Woodruff, 30, was desperate to do what she thought was 'best' for her new baby so persevered with breastfeeding despite finding it exhausting.
But, sadly, she woke up in the early hours of the morning to find little Arthur dead having passed away in the night.
She was partly covering him, and for years blamed herself for his death.
But finally Laurie, now mum to Henry, two, has come to terms with her grief and is appealing for other parents not to co-sleep as Baby Loss Awareness Week comes to a close.
Now Laurie, 30, from Derbyshire, has shared her heartbreaking story:
Taking a pregnancy test in the loos of my local STI clinic, my heart raced as I waited for the results.
For weeks I'd felt weird - my senses were heightened and I'd had tingles in my stomach.
And when the results came back positive - despite the pregnancy not being planned, I was over-the-moon.
I was only 25 but was looking forward to being a mum.
I told my friends and then-boyfriend Ian immediately and everyone shared my excitement.
At my 20-week scan I learnt my baby was growing well, but I decided not to find out the sex.
Even so, I knew intuitively he was going to be a boy and had my heart set on the name Arthur after my granddad.
I underwent regular scans, ate healthily, exercised and things were textbook until 38 weeks at a midwife check-up.
Then I learnt he had stopped growing and was really small.
Taken straight for an emergency caesarean at Jessops Hospital in Sheffield, he arrived at 12.15pm on January 6, 2015, weighing just 5lb 3oz.
As soon as I saw him it was love.
I had never loved anyone as much as him. I knew, instantly, I would die for him.Laurie Woodruff
I had never loved anyone as much as him. I knew, instantly, I would die for him. He was perfect. It was the best moment of my life.
Despite his small size he was fairly healthy and so we only stayed in hospital for five days.
The doctors confirmed we were both well enough to go home on January 11.
Taking him back to mine was amazing but I soon realised how tough it was being a mum.
I wanted the best for him so I tried breastfeeding but neither of us found it very easy, he didn't take latch on well but I persevered.
Now, I wonder if I shouldn't have just introduced a bottle as his weight slipped to around 4lbs.
Still, he seemed healthy and was a happy little lad - quiet, placid and really chilled out.
He loved cuddles with his mum too. He hated being in his crib and would yell and scream so I would snuggle him into bed with me.
Looking back, I wish I hadn't done it but at the time it felt really natural to be snuggled up with my boy.
On February 26, 2015, I was in bed feeding him when I fell asleep.
I was exhausted, as all new mums can relate.
In the early hours of the next morning I woke up and I knew something was wrong instantly.
I was lying on him slightly and he was icy cold. There was dried blood running from his nose and his eyes were closed.
I knew he was dead and had been for some time.
I started screaming, 'no, no' before calling his dad and then an ambulance.
My heart was racing as he was taken in the ambulance to Sheffield Children's Hospital.
There, he was pronounced dead as a result of sudden infant death syndrome and taken to the Chapel of Rest.
I was allowed to see him but had to be supervised by police.
I didn't mind - I knew it was just procedure and they were heartbroken too. Some officers were crying.
I was quickly cleared of any involvement and I was never arrested.
In the days and weeks that followed I was horrible to everyone. I snapped at people who tried to help and was so angry.
I didn't let myself grieve for little Arthur.
There was dried blood running from his nose and his eyes were closed.Laurie Woodruff
His funeral at in a church in Dronfield, Derbyshire, was beautiful but I didn't cry. I didn't feel anything.
It was a long time before I began to feel. I wasn't kind to myself until gradually minute-by-minute and then hour-by-hour, I began to be.
I stopped blaming myself for his death as I began to accept maybe he was only ever meant to have a short life.
I gradually returned to work as a astrologer, psychic and psychotherapist and in time fell pregnant with his little brother, Henry, who was born on June 11, 2017.
In the early days I was terrified he too would pass away. I wrapped him in cotton wool, bottle fed him when breastfeeding became a struggle and never co-slept.
But in many ways he is very different to Arthur - he's mischievous and boisterous whereas Arthur was a lot less noisy.
Now Henry is two; healthy and happy. He knows about his brother - he plays by his grave when we go and visit.
But I miss Arthur constantly.
I often hear the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow which was his funeral song.
I want other parents to please, please, please be aware of the dangers of co-sleeping.
I do not feel guilt anymore. I know I didn't kill my son. I believe he was always going to pass on.
But to can avoid suffering the pain I have, then please take note.
What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
Most sudden and unexplained deaths happen during the first six months of a baby's life.
Infants born early or with a low birthweight are usually at greater risk of the syndrome.
Baby boys are usually more commonly affected by sudden infant death syndrome.
It usually happens when a baby is asleep, although it can happen when they are awake.
The exact cause is unknown, but a number of things are thought to be a factor.
Experts think that it can occur at a particular stage in a baby's development - therefore babies who are vulnerable to certain stresses can be more at risk.
This vulnerability could be due to being born prematurely or having a low birthweight, or for other reasons.
Getting tangled in bedding, tobacco smoke, a minor illness or a breathing obstruction can also be a factor.
A report warns parents to avoid these unnecessary “aids”, such as baby hammocks, cot bumpers, cushioned sleeping pods, pillows, duvets and nests.
Experts urge families to only put their baby to sleep on firm, flat, waterproof surface.
PHE and cot death charity The Lullaby Trust issued the warning in a guide, which came as evidence suggested more than one in three parents has bought or considering buying a sleep aid.
For more info on about Baby Loss Awareness click here.
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