TRAGIC BABY KILLED BY LOVING KISS FROM PARENT
A HEARTBROKEN mother has told how her newborn son was killed by a loving kiss.
Kaiden Mc Cormick was just eight weeks old when he died after contracting the cold sore virus from his devastated father Carl.
Now the heartbroken parents are calling on the Government and hospitals to make sure expectant parents are aware of the risks cold sores pose to newborns.
Mum Marrie-Claire McCormack, 28, said: ‘ There is only one thing that comes anywhere close to the pain of losing our son and that is the anguish of knowing his death could have been prevented.
‘Nobody told us that Carl’s cold sore posed suck a risk. We showered him with love and kisses and knowing that’s how the virus was transmitted is heartbreaking.
‘Now all we can do is warn other parents to save them the same pain and suffering. No baby should die from a kiss. We do not want Kaiden’s death to have been in vain.’
Carl said: ‘I blame myself but I had no idea. Obviously if I had I wouldn’t have gone near him and he’d still be here today.’
Marrie-Claire was thrilled to discover she was expecting a son with painter and decorator Carl, 34, in August 2011.
Kaiden was born five weeks prematurely on March 28th 2012.
But after three days on the special care baby unit he was allowed back to the couple’s home in Bootle, Merseyside.
Marrie-Claire said: ‘We were smitten with him. He looked the image of his daddy with a shock of dark hair and blue eyes.
‘It was our dream come true to be home together as a family.’
The contended parents doted on Kaiden and each night after his bath would spend time kissing and cuddling him before laying him down to sleep in his moses basket next to their bed where Marrie-Claire would sing him off to sleep.
But on April 16th when he was just over two weeks old he refused to take his bottle.
Marrie-Claire said: ‘I wasn’t too worried at first, but when I tried again later he grizzled and moaned so I kept a close eye on him.’
She’d just noticed a slight temperature when suddenly Kaiden turned blue and stopped breathing.
‘Pure panic hit, I just screamed at Carl to call an ambulance,’ she says.
Paramedics arrived within minutes and rushed the family to Alder Hay Hospital in Liverpool where Kaiden was taken straight into resuscitation.
Marrie-Claire said: ‘ There were doctors everywhere all frantically working on him. I kept asking them what was wrong, what had happened to my baby? But nobody knew.
‘When they took me to see him he was on a ventilator covered in tubes and wires and I just broke down.
‘He looked so tiny. I couldn’t believe this had happened so quickly, he’d been fine the night before. I kept thinking it was an awful nightmare and that I’d wake up.’
The parents kept vigil at his bedside but just 48 hours later consultants warned he was unlikely to survive and urged them to consider switching of the ventilator.
‘A consultant told us his brain was that swollen he was unlikely to pull through.
‘I went into shock. It didn’t make sense that I’d given birth to a perfect baby and now I was being told to let him go before I even knew what was wrong with him.’
Carl said: ‘ I pleaded with them to do something else, he was only two weeks old. We couldn’t give up.’
The consultant agreed to keep him on the ventilator while he was treated with more antibiotics.
But because Kaiden’s illness was unexplained hospital staff had no choice but to inform the police.
Marrie- Claire said: ‘ His moses basket was taken for tests. It was awful. I kept telling them we would never ever have hurt our son. But I knew they were just doing their job. We wanted to know why Kaiden was poorly more than anyone.’
The couple spent three weeks with their son in intensive care willing him to pull through.
Marrie-Claire explains: ‘Finally a consultant called us into a room and told us they knew what was wrong with Kaiden. When they said herpes I just couldn’t believe it.
‘I asked how it was possible for a baby to have herpes?
‘When he said it was transmitted via the cold sore virus I looked at Carl and he instinctively touched his lip. In that moment I saw his heart break in two.’
Carl had had a cold sore weeks earlier when Kaiden was born. The consultant confirmed that Kaiden had most likely been infected as Carl kissed his son.
‘Carl just broke down. He was totally distraught and kept saying he blamed himself.
‘But I never once blamed Carl. All he had ever done was shower our baby with love and affection. He had been the perfect father. I hated seeing him punish himself.’
Carl said: ‘ When I told the consultant that I had no idea I could pass the cold sore onto the baby or that it could be so serious he told me very few people did.’
Back at their tot’s bedside the couple struggled to take in the news that their baby was clinging to life because of a loving kiss.
‘Carl was torturing himself for not knowing, but how could he have known?
‘I’d never been told during my pregnancy and we hadn’t read it in any of the books?
‘I kept asking myself why we hadn’t been warned about something so important?’
But hope was fading for Kaiden. Marrie-Claire said: ‘All we could do was hope and pray but the antibiotics weren’t working and time was running out.
‘Apparently because he was so young his body didn’t have the immunity needed to fight it in the way an adult would.
‘Because he was not responding to treatment we were told to prepare for the worst.’
After six weeks in hospital Kaiden still couldn’t breathe for himself and when he started suffering seizures Marrie-Claire and Carl were gently asked to consider having the machine switched off.
She said: ‘ We were told there was no hope and as a mother you want to protect your baby from suffering so we made the hardest decision of our lives. We gave permission for the permission to be switched off so he could go to sleep. He was handed to me and I cuddled him and held him as he slipped away.
‘I kissed him and told him how much I loved him and how good it felt to hold him in my arms again as he fell asleep for the last time.’
Kaiden was just eight weeks old when he slipped away on May 24th last year.
The devastated parents were transferred to a hospice where they spent 12 days saying goodbye to their son while arranging his funeral.
‘We were struggling to accept he was really gone, to spend more time with him while we tried to come to terms with it was a blessing.’
Instead of a funeral parlour, Kaiden was able to rest in a special temperature controlled nursery in a cot.
Marrie- Claire was able to sleep next door and visit him whenever she wanted.
‘I just couldn’t bear to be parted from him. He’d only just been born. The staff at Zoe’s place were amazing and I would have stayed there forever with my son if I could.’
On the morning of the funeral service Marrie-Claire carried Kaiden’s tiny coffin into the church herself.
‘We played twinkle twinkle little star and had flowers in the shape of a dummy and star.
‘Neither of us could stop crying at the injustice of it all.’
Back home they faced the agony of packing away Kaiden’s toys, clothes and cot.
‘What hurt the most was knowing it could have been avoided.’
‘I went back over all my maternity books and couldn’t find a single warning.’
‘Knowing it could have been prevented was torture. We were utterly broken and distraught.’
That’s why the couple decided to warn other parents of the dangers of the herpes simplex virus.
They wrote to the health secretary calling for more information to be given to expectant mums and started an e petition for hospitals to include facts about the virus on leaflets given to new parents.
Now Marrie-Claire is eight months pregnant and due to give birth to a baby girl next month.
‘She is our reason to live again.
‘But I will never get over losing my son Kaiden. He would have been a fantastic big brother if he hadn’t been taken by a kiss. No baby should ever die because of a kiss. ‘
To sign the e petition visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38809