Words written by Jackson's mummy, Abbie:
I remember being wheeled down the corridor for the first time out of the maternity unit and through the neonatal doors, a place I knew existed but not what it was all about. I remember being welcomed in, shown where to wash our hands, hang our coats and bags. It was going to be the first time meeting our beautiful babies, not how we had pictured it, but what really ever goes to plan?
I remember being told that the babies were in separate rooms, (I want to keep this story about our baby boy who was a twin to his sister, Hope), NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) room 2. I am wheeled up to his incubator. He is tiny, beautiful and just perfect. He has all these wires on, machines bleeping, I don’t understand any of it at this point but I know they are all there to help him. He had the nicest nurse looking after him, the nicest team I could have asked for. Honestly, to me he was perfect. I remember just staring at him, taking him all in, seeing his little bits of hair sticking out the hat he was wearing, thinking how much he looked like my brother.
We sat with him for a while. I was tired - it has been a long few days and I needed to get some sort of rest. I was taken back to the maternity unit to try to rest. Conor stayed with the babies for a bit longer and I remember feeling happy I’d seen my babies and the teams where doing everything they could for them.
A few hours later, the neonatal consultant and some of the team came in to see us. It wasn’t good news. It’s the news all parents dream to be their worst nightmare but they had to tell us: our baby Jackson wasn’t strong enough, he wasn’t stable enough. They had tried everything possible to help him but nothing was working.
It’s like being in a nightmare that never wants to end. Your emotions are all over the place, you're trying to be strong, but you can’t be. You want to know why this is all happening but nobody knows.
They told us it could be minutes, hours, days. They didn’t know how long his little body was going to fight - he had already fought so so hard. He was stable for now but kept dipping. We went back to the neonatal unit and by this point I was a mess, Why was this happening to us?
All the family arrived to support us, to see our beautiful babies. We agreed to christen our Jackson. The hospital Chaplain came down and gave a blessing over Jackson. It was a beautiful moment, the family all gathered round supporting us, and our baby boy looking so peaceful.
Time freezes. I was in such a daze with everything that was happening. Our baby boy is beginning to get worse, his observations are dipping and slowly coming down. By this point the only thing keeping him alive is he breathing tube and my heart is beginning to break.
We get given the option to take him into a side room and spend his final few hours away from everyone else and for him to come off all his equipment and go peacefully. We agree to this. We don’t want to put his tiny body through anymore pain - we want him to be comfortable and safe.
We have the nicest and most gentle nurse with us, honestly she was perfect for us, wanted to know about us and cared so much for this tiny baby that she had tried to help so much already.
The team bring our baby boy to us. We get to hold him, spend time with him as a family. His grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all get to meet this precious little soul, peacefully falling asleep in our arms. The tears could fill a river. He was just so perfect: ten tiny toes, ten tiny fingers and a head of dark brown hair.
Jackson survived for a total of just under 13 hours. He arrived into the world at 5.20am and passed away at 18.15pm. I wish we had more time with our boy, I wish I could watch him grow, but life had different ideas. I guess it’s just the cards we are dealt but at least we got those precious hours with him and he got to meet the most important people in his life. Everyone fell in love with him.
After he passed we got to wash him and dress him. I thank Conor’s cousin so much for grabbing some premature baby clothes and a blanket to wrap him in - the hospital has baby clothes but they looked like things you would put on a dolly and everything that I liked was far too big, but this little premature baby grow was perfect. It had little dark blue stars on and was a light blue colour, with a velcro zip, it was so gentle to put on him. And his blanket, dark blue and so soft, perfect for him to be wrapped in.
It’s now 8pm at night, I’m literally still a mess, my body still recovering, no sleep, I’ve not eaten, I hurt so so much but I don’t want to leave our little boy until they move him, but I’ve got to go back to the maternity unit, I’m physically and mentally exhausted by this moment. Conor stays with our baby boy, along with my sister's husband while they wait for Jackson to be collected, Conor is my rock, Chris a hero for stepping up and supporting Conor so well during these times.
Jackson was at peace, his tiny body finally able to rest. He just wasn’t ready for this world but he will always be a part of our lives, Hope's twin brother, the older twin, the bigger twin, the twin that grew his angel wings.
Mummy and Daddy’s beautiful baby boy. Precious and perfect in every way.