Brave mother reveals the agony of deciding to turn her newborn son’s ventilator off after the twin suffered a debilitating brain haemorrhage
- Writer Clare Mackintosh, 42, from North Wales, gave birth to twins in 2006
- Son Alex developed meningitis, and suffered two brain hemorrhages
- Clare made heartbreaking decision to remove five week old from intensive care
- Went on to have more children, Evie, 12, and George, 11, with husband Rob, 42,
- Says the family still talk about Alex and have photographs of him up in the house
A mother has revealed her heartache as she described making the agonising choice to turn off her newborn son’s ventilator.
Clare Mackintosh, 42, from North Wales, gave birth to twin boys in 2006, Alex and Josh but at three weeks old, Alex developed meningitis before suffering a brain haemorrhage.
The writer and her husband Rob, 42, agonized over the decision but told Fabulous magazine they wanted to give him ‘dignity’ and removed him from intensive care at five weeks old.
The couple, who went on to have two more children, Evie and George, now 11, and along with Josh, now 13, say their family still talks about their son, and have photographs of him up in the house.
Clare Mackintosh, 42, from North Wales, gave birth to twin boys in 2006, but her son Alex contract meningitis and suffered several brain haemorrhages
Clare, who had long-wanted to be a mother, conceived her twins through IVF and says she embraced every moment of pregnancy.
At 26 weeks, her waters broke and she was admitted to hospital, with her sons Josh and Alex born two weeks later on November 5 2006.
The children, who weighed a tiny 3lb 1oz and 2lb 9oz respectively, were immediately taken into neonatal intensive care.
Clare said she and her husband spent every waking moment at the hospital with their sons, and called it a hugely worrying time.
The couple, who went on to have two more children, Evie and George, now 11, and along with Josh, now 13, all pictured, say their family still talks about their son, and have photographs of him up in the house
Despite how prematurely they were born, doctors assured the couple the prognosis were positive.
But when the children were just three weeks old, Alex contracted a hospital bug, which developed into meningitis which Clare says felt like a death sentence.
A few days later, the tiny baby suffered a brain hemorrhage, and the couple were told he would have some disabilities.
Two weeks later, he suffered another brain haemorrhage, with the consultant telling Clare and her husband that there was ‘no part of his brain untouched’.
Clare was left devastated by the loss of her son, and says the family still share stories about him with her three children
They were told he may never learn to breathe on his own, and may never see, hear, talk or have any awareness of his surroundings.
Clare and Rob walked laps of the hospital talking things through, as they felt the full weight of the responsibility for the devastating decision.
Eventually, they made the decision to remove life support from the tiny baby, as they said they felt he would live a life that they themselves would never want.
Clare explained: ‘Looking back, that day felt like it happened to someone else. It was so surreal.’
Clare said she still finds it difficult between her sons’ birthday and when Alex died five weeks later
The writer (pictured centre) said walking into intensive care the morning after her son died was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do
She went on: ‘The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was to walk into intensive care the morning after Alex died and pass the incubator where he’d spent the five weeks of his life.’
Three months on, Josh was finally allowed home, although the baby went in and out of hospital for a year afterwards with various medical complications.
The couple went on to fall pregnant with another set of twins months later, and their children Evie and George, now 11, were both born full term and healthy.
Saying she would always consider her son a part of the family, she went on: ‘It can still be hard and I do struggle in the five-week period between Josh and Alex’s birthday and the anniversary of Alex’s death.’
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