Family’s heartbreak as two-day-old Lily dies

Rosie Saunders with her daughter Lily
Rosie Saunders with her daughter Lily

A YOUNG mother whose daughter died at two days old says her baby girl will always have a place in her heart.

Rosie Saunders’ world was torn apart when her baby daughter Lily died in her arms at 2.30pm on Sunday, July 31.

Lily Ivy May Saunders was born at 1.28am on Friday, July 29, weighing 3lb 6oz. She was born 12 weeks early but was breathing on her own.

Lily was born with a condition called exomphalos, which means the bowel had grown on the outside of her body.

This condition was detected during a scan and during the same scan, Rosie, 18, and her boyfriend Micky Duffin, also 18, were delighted to be told they were expecting a girl.

Because of the exomphalos, doctors had wanted the baby to be born at Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she could be offered specialist neo-natal care.

During the pregnancy, doctors had also feared the baby could have Down’s Syndrome but this was ruled out after an amniocentesis test.

The day before Rosie went into labour she received a phone call from Leicester Royal Infirmary, saying another problem had been found and an appointment was made to discuss the family history on August 4.

Rosie’s mother Wendy, 44, believes the phone call shocked her daughter into an early labour.

Rosie said: “The doctors said exomphalos was fairly simple to fix so it wasn’t too much of a worry.

“But when I got the phone call saying they needed to discuss the family history I was really worried because it sounded serious.”

Rosie, of Vicars Close, Exton, started having contractions at about midnight on Thursday, July 28 and her worried parents Wendy and Michael called for an ambulance after Rosie started bleeding.

She was rushed to Peterborough City Hospital, with Wendy in the ambulance and Micky, who lives in Wymondham, following behind.

Lily was born by Caesarean section.

Rosie, a former Casterton Business and Enterprise College pupil, said: “The whole thing was a bit of a blur but I remember saying ‘she can’t come now, it’s too early’.”

Rosie met her daughter at 4.15am.

She said: “I was so worried because I knew she was too early but doctors said she was quite big for 28 weeks. She had a breathing tube which they said was to help her out, but she just looked perfect.

“She had lots of black curly hair. She was just amazing.

“I never thought anything was going to happen to her.”

Because of the exomphalos, Lily was transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge at about 5am as there were no cots available at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Rosie was eventually able to go to Addenbrookes Hospital to join her daughter at 11.30pm on Saturday, when she was told Lily had an infection.

“They said she was the sickest baby on the unit, that she was really poorly but that they were doing everything they could. They said she was a little fighter,” Rosie said.

“When I saw her, I was absolutely devastated. She had lots and lots of pipes and tubes in her but she was still moving round and whimpering.”

It was then that Rosie decided to have Lily baptised. The hospital chaplain was called and Rosie and Wendy were there for the service, which took place at midnight on Saturday.

Rosie, who works at Grace’s Coffee Shop in Mill Street, Oakham, said: “The doctors were worried she wasn’t going to make it through the night but they said they were going to do everything and they did. The doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing.

“But in the morning, they said I needed to spend as much time as I could with her because they couldn’t do anything else.

“It was horrible, really hard.”

Lily died surrounded by Rosie and Micky, Wendy and Michael, Rosie’s siblings Jessica, Benjamin and Sophie, and Micky’s mother Michelle.

After Lily died, staff at Addenbrookes gave Rosie and Micky a memory box containing photographs, blankets Lily had been wrapped in, a tiny hat, blood pressure strap and her wristband.

Rosie said: “It was nice to get the box but I’ll never forget Lily. She will always be in my heart.”

A post-mortem examination was held at Addenbrookes Hospital, which found that Lily had died of organ failure.

Lily’s funeral will be held at 11am on Wednesday in the Roman Catholic Chapel at Exton Hall. Family flowers only but donations to The Rosie Hospital (neo-natal unit) at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge.