A young mother has spoken about her and her partner's anguish after their newborn son died mere hours after his birth. Cassie Hylans, 27, and her partner Steven Hale, 25, had learned their baby Freddie-Philip would not survive at the 20-week scan but decided to carry the pregnancy to the term. The experience, although heartbreaking, allowed them to spend “four precious hours" with their child.
Cassie gave birth without incident and Freddie-Philip was born breathing, allowing the proud parents to hug their child, take pictures and have his hand and footprints taken.
However, Cassie said they were felt like their "world had stopped" when Freddie-Philip’s body shut down. "As he took his last breath my partner dropped to his knees and screamed," she said. "It was the hardest thing you could ever go through. It was so surreal just watching it happen and not being able to do anything to help keep him alive."
Cassie, who works as a cleaner, is from Staffordshire, UK. She was elated when she found out she was pregnant, but at the 20-week scan she found out that she has a genetic condition called Kallman Syndrome, which has a 50 percent chance of being passed on to male children. "It meant that I had no fluid (around him) and Freddie-Philip's kidneys were covered in cysts. They gave me lots of options, which I refused,” she said.
At her 20-week scan the pair's excitement turned to heartbreak after being given the news their baby woudn't survive.https://t.co/g0PokqMFxW— StokeonTrentLive (@Sotlive) October 16, 2019
Although she knew he wouldn’t survive, he was still her baby and she wanted to see his face and be able to give him a hug before he passed. "He was born breathing, so we had four hours of unexpected precious time with him,” she said. "I gave birth on the normal labour ward and we took tonnes of pictures, had cuddles with him and the vicar came and gave him a blessing. We still talk to her to this day.”
Cassie thanks the nurses in the maternity ward for being so caring. "The nurses were amazing and gave us two teddies and a keepsake memory box with his handprints and footprints in. It was really special."
Cassie and her family were offered additional support by staff at the Snowdrop Suite, a special unit for grieving parents at Burton's Queen's Hospital. "My mum and partner were there with me the whole way through and I can’t remember that much because it was all a blur,” she said. "We could spend as much time with him as we wanted the nurses left us to it and we were at the end of the labour ward so we didn’t have to see new mums walking around with their babies."
One of the hardest parts of the experience for the couple was having to leave the hospital without their son. Despite the news they received at the 20-week scan, they had hoped for the best and had readied a nursery for Freddie-Philip. "Going there without him in our arms was heartbreaking and it was like our world had stopped," Cassie said.
Despite the heartache, Cassie and Steven were determined to have children. Twenty-three months ago, Cassie gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Bobby. "The pregnancy was fine, but he only has one kidney,” Cassie said. "I was overwhelmed when Bobby was born. I felt heartbroken that he would never get to meet his big brother and he was the spitting image of Freddie-Philip.”
Cassie knows that November will always be a bittersweet month for her since Bobby was born at the start of the month and Freddie was born at the end. If anything, Cassie would like the experience to teach others that baby loss shouldn’t be a taboo subject. “I would rather people talk about it then ignore that it happened,” she said. "Freddie-Philip was still here. He is still a person. He is my son."