5 years ago today our worlds fell apart around us, that was the day you grew your wings. It feels like a lifetime but at the same time just yesterday. The pain and feelings of missing you have never left us.
11th September felt like any other day, it was a Wednesday and I’d planned to go into town to get some wallpaper, We were still decorating the house we’d moved into 2 months prior. We’d never had a house before. Before that when Preston was first born we lived in a little one bed flat that you couldn’t even swing a cat in. 2 adults and 2 babies, our eldest daughter was waking at every noise so us and Preston moved into the living room. It was a tight squeeze so there was a real excitement to make our nice spacious new home perfect. We didn’t know that 2 months later everything would change, our lives would change forever.
Back to that day, I woke up and went straight to the bathroom to get washed and ready for the day ahead. I walked straight past Preston’s bedroom. You’d think you’d know, you have a connection with your children after carrying them for 9 months but I didn’t know, I didn’t feel dread, it felt like a normal day. I went downstairs to find cuc in the kitchen supervising our daughter eating her breakfast, she’d just finished so I asked if Preston was up yet?, he said no and said he was going to get him. He put our daughter in front of the tv and I sat down with her.
A minute later I heard a moan, the only way I can describe it is like a wounded animal. We had 2 dogs so I thought they were playing, I shouted through to them to “pack it up”. Seconds went by and my stomach dropped, I felt the dread I should’ve felt earlier, I shouted “what?” No reply “what?” Again, the feeling of dread got stronger so I ran up the stairs. That’s when my life changed. I found cuc in Preston’s bedroom door cradling our baby, fighting back tears, time had stopped.
I noticed Preston wasn’t moving, he was an active baby so normally he’d try and make his escape but he didn’t. I knew immediately then that he was dead. I asked cuc if I needed to ring an ambulance and he said yes. I think I needed him to confirm I wasn’t imagining this nightmare.
I screamed, screamed like I’d never screamed before and ran down the stairs still screaming and grabbed the phone from the dock at the bottom and dialled 999. When the operator answered everything was in slow motion and she was asking what service I needed, all I could think was that this was wasting time and I was confused so I screamed “all of them, please help me, my babies dead” she asked me to take the phone upstairs, I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to see my baby gone, all I’d seen was the back of his head before that but I ran the phone upstairs and found cuc in our bedroom trying to revive Preston but it was obvious we were too late, he was grey, I fell to my knees and felt like I’d died the most painful death.
Recently he told me during one of our many arguments at this time of year that I’d “lost it” so he had to be strong for us, to keep what was left if our family together. He was right.
Minutes felt like hours before the police arrived, 2 local officers I’d known for a few years with it being a small town, their lives changed forever too. they went upstairs and I wasn’t allowed back up again and all I wanted was to hold my baby but if I did I wouldn’t have let them take him. Paramedics arrived soon after, cuc was still upstairs. They didn’t even try but I understand why, nothing would’ve saved him, it had been too long. Before long the house was swarming with police, rumours circulating the town of murder which was as far from the truth as it could get, rumours which had a massive effect on me.
It felt like hours before one of the officers I knew came downstairs and asked if I wanted to make the arrangements to take Preston to the hospital, I couldn’t I was in no fit state and I wouldn’t have known where to start. I asked him to do it and told him to make sure it was somebody respectful and told him to close the door when they took him because I couldn’t watch him leave the house for the last time. I liked this officer and days later he came around to see how we were, I got the feeling Preston was the first baby death he’d attended.
The 2 officers we knew drove us to the hospital to identify Preston and sat with us until CID arrived. In the waiting room something switched in my mind and I wanted to know what happened, I wouldn’t stop pushing even though cuc was telling me I couldn’t handle it, he was trying to protect me. I kept pushing and he told me when he’d gone to get Preston up, he thought he was asleep so he tried to pick him up but couldn’t and that’s when he realised his bumper was wrapped around his neck, he unwrapped it twice. It was secure, knotted 3 times, so secure it had to be cut off with scissors, the tie that snapped still remained on his cot. He was right I couldn’t handle it, I felt like it was my fault and guilt ate at me.
When we identified Preston he looked so peaceful, for a second I thought he was asleep. I bent down and stroked his head, I begged him to wake up and we could go home. I stroked his hair, I remember touching him and he felt empty, I could feel the life that was inside of him was gone.
That night I couldn’t stay at home, I stayed with a friend and I vowed I would make some good come from this, when I got home I opened the laptop and googled “cot bumper deaths” there was loads, i felt sick, if I’d have done that sooner Preston would be here now. That’s when I made this page, there was no time to lose and I knew bumpers were on cots all around the world, I needed to reach people immediately and that’s what we did.
5 years later Preston’s death wasn’t in vain, he died for a reason. Advice has changed, laws have changed all because we stood up.
Despite the changes made babies have still died, unnecessarily. If there’s ever a day to save a life it’s today, Preston died on this date, we can save a baby on this date too with a single share or tag.
This was the last photo I ever took of Preston, we will treasure it until the end of time. 💙