A DEVASTATED couple today told how their newborn baby tragically died in their arms.
Stacie and Martin Richardson discovered son Ethan Jai had infantile polycystic kidney disease following a 20 week scan at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
After he was born by Caesarean section at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary on March 30, the tot appeared to be doing well and was breathing for himself.
But his health later deteriorated and he began to fit as medics tried to feed him using a tube.
Investigations showed Ethan also had glutaric acidemia type II, a condition only ever recorded in seven instances across the world.
The unit’s specialists gave him medication, but despite their efforts he died just a few hours after Mother’s Day as his parents held him for the first time.
Now, Stacie, 26, a Police Community Support Officer based in Washington, and Martin, 27, a fork lift truck driver at the Yearsley Group in Seaham, have now channelled their energies into helping others.
A race night at The Mallard pub near their Seaham home, a raffle backed by 30-plus businesses and donations have raised £4,500 for Tiny Lives, a charity which supports the RVI unit.
They plan to make it an annual event, with Martin, his brother Maurice, brothers-in-law Dean Monarch and Lee Tasker and friend Michael Andrews in training to complete the C2C bike ride in September.
Stacie said: “We didn’t realise we would have that much support and didn’t realise how many people have been in the same position.
“They said we could buy a piece of equipment and dedicate it to Ethan, but we said it’s there for whatever they want.”
Martin added: “It’s been amazing, the businesses have been absolutely terrific, all the community has.
“And the nurses and doctors, we just can’t praise them enough.”
In addition to the understanding from the staff at the unit, they are grateful nurses gave them a memory box for Ethan’s belongings, including the book they read to him shortly before he died and a handmade Mother’s Day card which bears his prints.
Stacie said: “Some people might think it seems a little thing, but his whole life is in there.
“We’re so grateful and those five days with Ethan were the most amazing five days and I will cherish them forever - that’s why we want to give something back to the charity.”
Staff on the unit gave Ethan just hours to live when his condition worsened at a day old, but he managed to survive until the early hours of Monday, April 4.
Stacie said: “On the Sunday we could tell by his colour he was really poorly and he had a blood transfusion on that day and we decided to have him Christened.
“They said it could be just three or four hours on the Thursday we like to think he kept fighting to get through Mother’s Day and he really held on and didn’t want to pass away.”
Martin added: “We read him a story and I just held him in my arms and the time just felt right.”
The couple have set up a donations page at www.justgiving.com/ethan-jai-richardson to help people support the causein Ethan’s memory.