A mother’s joy at having twins turned to heartbreak when she lost one of the newborns to cot death.
Twenty-nine-year-old Crystal Venus was handed her ‘lifeless’ 11-week-old daughter Sapphire after her partner Daniel Brady noticed the baby’s heart was not beating while cuddling her.
After being rushed to hospital, doctors worked ‘frantically’ to save the mother-of-five’s ‘beautiful daughter’, however, there was nothing they could do.
Sapphire, from Margate, Kent, died of sudden infant death syndrome on July 16 this year. Also known as cot death, the condition kills around 300 babies in the UK and 3,500 in the US every year.
Ms Venus said: ‘My world had just ended and my heart [was] ripped out. My life has completely stopped, I can’t bring her back.’
Mother-of-five Crystal Venus is pictured with her partner Daniel Brady and their daughter Sapphire, when she was alive. Sapphire died of sudden infant death syndrome at just 11 weeks old after Mr Brady noticed her heart was not beating while he was cuddling her
Sapphire (pictured right with her twin brother Brandon before she died) was rushed to hospital after becoming lifeless. Doctors worked hard to save her but there was nothing they could do
Speaking of the ordeal, Ms Venus said ‘My partner said Sapphire wasn’t breathing and handed her to me lifeless.
‘I could not believe what I was seeing and started CPR. All I knew was I needed to get her little heart beating again.’
Paramedics were called to the family’s home, who immediately rushed Sapphire to hospital.
Ms Venus, who is also mother to Sapphire’s twin brother Brandon and three older children, said: ‘There were loads of doctors frantically working on my beautiful daughter.
‘Then I heard “7.12am time of death”. I fell to the floor in disbelief. I thought “my daughter isn’t gone, this is just some bad dream”.
‘I glanced up to my lifeless daughter, tubes everywhere and machines being switched off.’
WHAT IS COT DEATH AND HOW CAN IT BE PREVENTED?
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or cot death, is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.
SIDS kills around 3,500 babies in the US and just under 300 in the UK every year.
It usually occurs within the first six months of an infant’s life and is more common in those born prematurely or of a low birth weight.
The cause of SIDS is unknown, however, it is associated with tobacco smoke, tangled bedding, co-sleeping with parents and breathing obstructions.
Prevent the risk by:
- Placing sleeping babies on their backs
- Keeping babies’ heads uncovered
- Sleeping in the same room as babies for the first six months of their lives
- Using a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in babies’ cribs
- Breastfeeding, if possible
- Smoke during pregnancy or in the same room as a baby
- Sleep on a bed or chair with an infant
- Allow babies to get too hot or cold. Temperatures between 16 and 20C should be comfortable
Source: NHS Choices
Ms Venus thought it had to be a ‘bad dream’ when she heard doctors announcing Sapphire (pictured left with Brandon) had died. The mother-of-five then collapsed in disbelief
Without Sapphire (pictured), Ms Venus claims ‘every day is a struggle’, adding her ‘beautiful’ daughter ‘touched so many people’s hearts’ during her short life
Speaking of her life now, Ms Venus said: ‘Every day is a struggle but my four other beautiful children give me strength each and every day to carry on.
‘I have made a Facebook page called Sapphire’s Neverland Angels to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome, to comfort other families, raise money for Cuddle Cots and make memory boxes for families suffering what my family is suffering now.
‘My daughter’s life will mean something, she won’t ever be forgotten.
‘Eleven weeks in this world is all my beautiful Sapphire got and she touched so many people’s hearts. It’s not something any parent should have to go through.
‘I miss her so much but I have to keep strong for my other children. They need me, but I will never forget her.’
At 7pm on Monday October 15, Ms Venus will be holding a wave of light on Margate beach to raise awareness of infant loss.