A miracle called Melodie for mother who suffered string of miscarriages and watched son die in her arms as doctors stood by
Sarah Capewell watched helplessly as doctors left her baby to die because he was born two days too prematurely.
Despite pleas to save her son, medics said they were following guidelines that babies born before 22 weeks should not be treated.
In the months following the tragedy, Miss Capewell vowed to become a mother again, but suffered miscarriage after miscarriage.
Joy: Sarah Capewell with baby Melodie, who she described as a ‘miracle’ after having 12 miscarriages
Then, after becoming pregnant for the 13th time, against all medical predictions she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Describing five-month-old Melodie as a miracle, the 28-year-old said: ‘I never thought this moment would come. After all that happened I can’t believe she is really mine. I keep pinching myself. When I fell pregnant for the 13th time I was sure it would end in more heartbreak.
‘The birth was hard because I had flashbacks going back to the same hospital to give birth in the same place where my son had died. I was terrified it would happen again.’
Miss Capewell, from Great Yarmouth, was already a mother to Jodie, now eight, and had suffered five unexplained miscarriages trying for a second child.
So after she became pregnant in May 2008, she was delighted when it appeared to be progressing smoothly. But in October – 21 weeks and four days into her pregnancy – her waters broke. She went into labour the next day.
Doctors said her unborn child would not receive medical care unless she held on for another 48 hours – passing 22 weeks gestation.
Last touch: Sarah’s son Jayden, who died after being born prematurely, holds on to his mother’s hand before he died.
The guidance is not compulsory but advises doctors that medical intervention for very premature children is not in the best interests of the baby and is not ‘standard practice’.
With just hours to go, she begged doctors for help, but they refused, even after Jayden was born alive. ‘I’d been warned he would be stillborn but as his heart was beating I felt sure they would help. They never did. I pleaded, I wanted to put him in the incubator myself but didn’t know how to switch it on.
‘I cuddled him and he died in my arms two hours after he was born, taking part of me with him.’
After losing Jayden, she had several miscarriages before becoming pregnant last year. After her complications, she was booked for a caesarean on August 21. She said: ‘I’d prepared myself for something to go wrong so when my fiancé walked in holding a healthy baby I was shocked. I broke down in tears when he handed her to me. She was perfect in every way.’