A mum who lost her baby to sepsis after it was born down the toilet says she was only able to celebrate her newborn after she outlived her tragic brother.
Hayley Jermyn, 37, and husband Mark, 45, anxiously watched the clock count down to 29 hours before allowing themselves to feel any joy over the arrival of new daughter Molly.
Until that point – the exact age in which little Charlie had died – Hayley said they were consumed with fear she too would be snatched away.
Charlie was born in a toilet at their home in Penryn, Cornwall, in May last year but died of sepsis after tell-tale symptoms weren’t spotted by a succession of healthcare workers.
To compound their loss, an inquest, which recorded a narrative verdict, highlighted a “sequence of failures” leading to Charlie’s death
The previous year, toddler William Mead, also from Penryn, died of sepsis after a string of missed opportunities to diagnose the treat the illness.
Extensive national campaigns have been mounted since the deaths of the two children to make sure medics are aware of the symptoms.
But following in the footsteps of William’s mother Melissa Mead, 29, who gave birth to Arthur William Mead in September, Hayley has also now welcomed a new addition to her family.
She said: “I almost couldn’t look at her at first because I thought all the joy would be taken away from me like it was with Charlie.
“People kept saying how perfect she was.
“I was literally watching the time all the time and I was really struggling.
“I knew exactly when it got to 29 hours but that was how long Charlie lived and I was so scared of what happened to him happening to her.”
Molly, or Molly May to give her her full name, was born at just after 5am on November 3 at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.
Despite the fact she had been brought into hospital early and subject to close monitoring, it was an anxious time for the family, including children Lottie, 4, and Harry, 7, who had witnessed the frantic efforts to resuscitate their dying brother.
Hayley added: “Mark was nervous.
“He said his legs were like jelly and he was thinking, ‘what if it all goes wrong again’. He said if he hadn’t been leaning on the bed he would have fallen over.
“When Molly was born she was very quiet. She just gave little squeaks.
“I had heard all the other babies crying but Molly was quiet and I worried because Charlie had been so quiet.
“I couldn’t look at her for the first few minutes. I thought she would look like Charlie.
“Mark was relieved but we were both quiet and we both thought that we had to get through 29 hours because that’s when Charlie died.
“I was worried that if I got attached then it could all happen again.”
Hayley remains angry and traumatised at what happened to Charlie, who is still a large part of their lives, but she is hopeful for the future.
She added: “I’m chuffed she’s here and though she was very quiet at first she does have a good set of lungs and she can certainly make herself heard.
“We’re looking forward to Christmas. I think it’s going to be a noisy one this year.”