This post is not one I want to write, but it is important that I do.
I am Stephanie’s mother and she has allowed me to contact you all, because at the moment she is too sad to do anything. Of course her lovely husband is behind me in every way.
As you know, Stephanie and Matt were expecting their first baby in early June. Stephanie went into labour at home at 37and a half weeks pregnant, which is full term, so we weren’t worried. However, it was a breech birth of which we were totally unaware, and so quick that he was delivered at home before we could get to the hospital. The ambulances got to us in 6 minutes and many paramedics tried their hardest with us, but his head could not be delivered and by the time he was finally out into this world at the hospital, he had suffered massive lack of oxygen to the brain.
He was taken to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton [a place full of fantastic doctors and nurses who work tirelessly to help babies], where they tried for 4 days to help little Arthur. We rallied family and friends – basically every single person we knew – frantically asking them to pray, whether they believed or not! They were all amazing, but sadly our prayers could not be answered. Arthur had no brain function and would not live.
Our close family were all allowed to meet him in a room at the hospital. We kissed him and stroked him; Stephanie’s dad held his little hand whilst I read him ‘Guess How Much I Love You’, with Stephanie cradling him in her arms. Unbelievably, it was a magical time and we were so happy! How can you be so happy when you are so sad? But we were. Stephanie and Matt looked so proud; she looked serene.
They then had time to be with their baby boy, to bathe him, Matt sung to him [Arthur must have had a shock with that one!] When they finally took the tubes out, Arthur didn’t take one breath, but his heart kept on beating for 1 hour 47 mins! What a strong little boy he was.
We are now having to deal with such grief, I never knew you could feel such pain, all in different ways. My mother, who is 84, is having to watch me suffer, as I helplessly watch my daughter suffer the most unbearable loss of a baby. My middle daughter Olivia had our first grandchild 14 weeks ago; she was so excited for her little boy Rowan to meet his cousin. Melissa, my youngest daughter, lives at home and helped deliver Arthur, which was very traumatic. Nigel has to watch his wife and daughters sob and cry and he can’t do a thing about it.
Finally, Stephanie and Matt have to deal with the ultimate pain of losing a baby that was so perfect. His little nose, his dark, dark hair and olive skin, he was a mini-Matt! Inside I think he had Stephanie’s beautiful soul, the combination together would have been spectacular. What a kind, loving and adventurous man he would have been.
But there is another side to this tragedy, such amazing things have been happening! Silly rifts between friends and family have been healed, people have rung and told us they love us, they have dropped bags of food and home-cooked meals at our door.
The family have hugged and cried and told each other so many things that we couldn’t say before, suddenly it’s like a door has opened and we can see the real meaning of things. We are like a different family that can never go back. The flowers look different, more vibrant. The birds are so much fun to watch when you really study them. At 5am I sit in the summerhouse at the end of the garden and just be still, taking in every beautiful thing. I couldn’t do this before.
I know how many people in ‘internet land’ love Stephanie and Matt and will be so upset by this news. They really are a special couple and although I am biased with my daughter, Matt is such a wonderful person too, he is just as Stephanie describes him, her rock, and they know they will be even stronger than ever now.
Stephanie and Matt always wanted land to create a haven for animals and nature, but they couldn’t afford it here in the south of England. Their love of Greece helped them to create it for a while, however, they now know they cannot live without their family and friends. The loss of baby Arthur has now reinforced how desperately they need some land to help them heal.
We as a family, with Stephanie and Matt as the driving force, want to start up a small animal sanctuary, a place to grow things, a place for anyone who needs a bit of love to come to, and help build something wonderful.
It could make a difference to so many people and animals, and this will be Arthur’s legacy. Then his life will not have been in vain. We will call it ‘Arthurs Patch’, Nigel thought of this name and we think it is perfect. I believe when there is so much passion for something good, it WILL happen.
If anyone out there knows of any land, not too far from our home near Brighton, with or without property, that we can buy to make this dream come true, please let us know.
I hope this hasn’t gone on too long! But I had to let you know it all!
Stephanie’s Mum and Dad (Karen and Nigel) xxx