When he was born, Jemma’s son, Noel, appeared to be perfectly healthy. Although a heart murmur was detected, there were no other concerns. Tragically, he passed away suddenly at eight weeks old. Here, Jemma tells their story:
On the 17th May 2010, a week earlier than expected and after a completely uneventful pregnancy, our lives were blessed with the birth of the most beautiful baby boy, with the most amazing head of shiny dark brown hair, Noel John Milton, named after Mummy’s late grandfather.
The neonatal check picked up a heart murmur, which hadn’t resolved as expected after a night’s stay, so we were discharged and referred to the cardiologist for outpatient follow up.
During the following eight weeks with Noel, he filled our lives with complete and utter joy. He breastfed like a dream, never lost an ounce of weight and cruised along the 91st centile, never for a second giving us any inclination of how his heart was affected by abnormalities that have never been fully understood. We made so many happy memories.
The 12th of July 2010 was a glorious sunny Monday, and Daddy had done his usual work morning goodbye, kissing us both, as Noel slept soundly by our bedside. I had plans to go for a walk with my dad. Doing our usual morning routine, I could tell something wasn’t right… Noel was a lot more distressed while I was getting him changed than his usual ravenous cry… and even a breastfeed wouldn’t comfort him.
His cry became weaker and and he then became floppy and his breathing weakened. Noel sadly passed away after being rushed into hospital and being given so much treatment by the amazing paediatric staff. Tragically, he couldn’t be saved.
While we will never know how Noel’s story may have been different had his heart defects been diagnosed in pregnancy or if he had have been seen by a cardiologist earlier, we do know that we will do all we can in his memory to prevent any babies and families from having to go through the lifelong pain we have from losing our ‘scrummy bum’ boy.
Jemma and her friend, Callie, have raised over £24,000 for Tiny Tickers and another charity since 2016. By organising the Make The Point 10k event, as well as other events, they have made a real impact on our work and given hope to so many others in Noel’s memory. Find out more about Make The Point here.
Jemma (left) and Callie, handing over 2016’s amazing donations