I had a spade and was on way to dig up my baby’s grave when my partner found me
Two days after burying her baby boy, Claire Jones picked up a spade.
She was on her way to the cemetery to dig up Charlie's tiny grave, determined to "bring him back" and to put him to sleep in the cot she had built in what should have been his bedroom.
She says: “I had insisted on keeping the cot in his room. I just wasn’t ready to take it down; I wasn’t ready to let him go.
“I became determined to dig him up and bring him home to put him in his cot.
“I even got a spade ready, and I was about to go to the cemetery.
Her husband Barry managed to change her mind, pleading with her to let their little boy rest in peace.
The 32-year-old, from Blackburn, said: "Barry had to talk me out of it and calm me down. It was awful for him too, I must have scared him.
"He persuaded me to leave Charlie resting, in his grave and pleaded with me to concentrate on the children we already had."
During her pregnancy Claire was diagnosed with sepsis , which had been passed on from her baby. She delivered her son, still-born, on February 9 2017.
She said: "I really struggled to cope after the funeral; I hated the idea of Charlie being buried outside and I just wanted to bring him home, warm and safe, with my other children."
But in the following weeks as her grief threatened to overcome her, Claire discovered she was pregnant.
One year on she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Isabella – who she says is a gift from Charlie.
“Falling pregnant really did save my life; it made me pull myself together.
“Of course Isabella will never replace Charlie. But I do believe that she is a gift from him – sent to make us all smile again.”
Claire and her partner, Barry, 40, met in March 2015. She was already mum to three boys from a previous relationship.
The following year, she fell pregnant with their first baby together.
Claire said: : “It was a surprise but we were pleased. We bought all sorts of equipment and baby clothes. I even had a pile of new nappies, waiting, in the nursery.
“We had decided to name him Charlie.”
But at 26 weeks, Claire began losing fluid and she went to hospital, fearing her waters had broken. She was given anti-biotics and sent home.
Two weeks on, Claire noticed the baby was moving less and she felt unwell. She went to hospital where a scan showed there was no heartbeat.
Claire says: “I knew, instinctively, before I went to hospital, that I had lost him. I could just feel it. I was feverish and felt sick. And I had a terrible sense of doom.
“I felt like my world had fallen apart.”
She was diagnosed with sepsis and told it had been passed on from her baby.
She says: “Charlie was pink and he looked so healthy. I had been afraid of seeing him but the moment he was born, I wanted to cuddle him. I never wanted to let him go.”
Claire spent four days in hospital, saying goodbye to her son.
She says: “My sons and all our family and friends visited to say their goodbyes. Charlie was in a cold cot. My sons sobbed when they realised the baby brother they had been looking forward to meeting was never going to come home.
"It was so sad. I was on drips, being treated for sepsis. But I didn’t care about myself. I just wanted to be with my son.”
For Charlie’s funeral, his brother, Reece, six, wrote a poem which he read himself.
Claire says: “He was so brave. I was incredibly proud of him.”
Claire managed to get through the funeral and the wake, where they had a balloon release. But two days later, she was overcome with grief and tried to go back to the cemetery.
Claire had bereavement counselling but still struggled with her grief. She could not sleep or eat and began drinking heavily.
But three months after Charlie’s death, she fell pregnant again.
Claire says: “I felt that this baby was a gift from Charlie; this was his way of helping me to cope. Now, with a baby on the way, I had to be strong.
“The pregnancy was stressful, because I worried so much about the baby. But I could feel, too, that Charlie was looking down on me and keeping this new baby safe.”
Isabella was born on February 13 last year, just four days after Charlie’s birthday.
Doctors induced Claire three weeks early, to ease her concerns. She was perfectly healthy, weighing in at 5lbs.
Claire says: “Of course Isabella will never replace Charlie. But every time I look at her, I think of him. And I do believe that she is a gift from above – sent to make us all smile again.”
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