A HEARTBROKEN mum today told how she sobbed as she held her stillborn son in her arms and gave him a final kiss goodbye.
Sarah Lewins was just three days from her delivery date when doctors broke the devastating news to her that her baby had died.
Numb with shock, the distraught 24-year-old, from Concord, Washington, then had to deliver the 4lb 9oz baby.
“It seemed to happen so fast – one minute he was fine, the next we’d lost him,” she said. “We couldn’t believe what had happened. It was so surreal.
“It was like it wasn’t happening to me. It was happening to someone else.”
“Even now it seems like a blur. It’s still very raw.”
Supported by family and medics, Sarah and partner Kenny Sweeney, who named their son Jack, were allowed to spend a few precious hours with their firstborn at the hospital before saying a tearful final farewell.
“We were allowed to spend some time with him and our families came to visit us in hospital,” said Sarah.
“We all got a chance to hold him, which was important to all of us.”
After a seemingly routine pregnancy, Sarah was left stunned when routine tests failed to detect a heartbeat inside her womb.
“I went to the midwife for a check-up and told her that the baby’s movements had slowed down,” she said. “I went straight to hospital, but they couldn’t hear his heartbeat at all.
“We later found out it was caused by a blood clot in the placenta.”
Despite still coming to terms with the tragedy, which happened just four months ago, Sarah said she hopes retelling her story will help other families facing similar ordeals.
“Stillbirth was something we had never heard about,” she said.
“We never thought something like this would happen to us.
“However, the care and support which we received from the midwives at Sunderland Royal Hospital was amazing and we will never be able to thank them enough.
“We were able to spend an amazing 12 hours with Jack, which will always be remembered.
“We were also given a memory box, which included a copy of Jack’s hand and foot print.”
Sarah, a manager at a renewable energy company, and Kenny, a catering worker, have now launched a fund-raising drive to help provide hospitals with specialist equipment.
The couple, whose son is buried in Washington, also hope to eventually try for another baby.
“We are trying to raise money to supply our local hospitals with much-needed cold cots, which would enable parents to spend more time with their babies,” said Sarah.
“We will always treasure the time we spent with Jack, but would have loved to have been able to spend as much time as possible with him.
“We hope no other family has to go through the pain of losing their baby, but, unfortunately, we know that it will happen to others. We want to help them in any way we can.”
For more information about future fund-raising events, visit the Facebook page love4jackx