By Harriet Whitehead
A heartbroken mum has paid tribute to her ‘perfect’ five-month-old son after she came home from work to discover her tot had died suddenly in his cot.
Distraught first-time parents Katie Jones, 27, and Sam Jones, 22, discovered the body of their precious boy Johnny Jones last Sunday (AUG 5) at around 7:30am – aftercare worker Katie returned home from a night shift.
Army craftsman Sam fed his son a bottle of formula milk at around 5am and then settled Johnny in his cot and went back to bed.
But his wife’s desperate cries when she came home and found their lifeless baby boy woke the dad and Sam raced into the nursery to perform CPR.
Despite his dad’s attempts to save his life, baby Johnny was pronounced dead in hospital two hours later.
Now Katie and Sam, who face an agonising wait to find out what happened to their boy, are sharing their anguish to highlight the importance of free CPR training for new parents in a bid to help save other lives.
Katie, from Colchester, Essex, said: “When I came home at about 7.30am something didn’t feel right.
“I went into his room and saw Johnny was on his side. It looked like he’d rolled over. I thought ‘that’s not right’.
“I moved him on to his back and he was blue. There was vomit and blood on his face but no sign of any injury so it must have come from inside.
“I let out the most awful scream and was shouting ‘no no no’. Sam came running into the room and started doing CPR.
“I phoned 999. I remember they told me to wait outside so they knew what house it was.
“They got there so quickly and were working on him while we waited downstairs.
“At first we thought there was still a chance. When Sam was performing CPR it seemed like he was breathing but it was just the air coming back out.
“We thought he’d make it. We were hoping so much but looking back now I think we knew he wouldn’t.
“We knew he was gone but they still took him to hospital and were trying. It was 9.30am that we were told he was gone completely.
“We couldn’t stop crying. You look at your son and it sounds bizarre but you realise that his soul has gone.
“You see this baby lying there and realise your son has gone.
“We spent a couple of hours with him saying goodbye. We were given a private room and were given as much time as we needed.”
Katie said Sam had fed Johnny at around 5am and could hear him cooing and gurgling until about 6am.
Katie said: “Within an hour and a half something had happened to him but we don’t know what.
“It could be anything. It could have been sudden infant death syndrome. We won’t know for another couple of weeks and have been told there will be an inquest.
“We’ve been dealing with the aftermath talking to doctors, bereavement counsellors, the coroner’s office.
“It’s hard to describe it but you feel completely numb then you get a wave of emotion where you’re either hysterically crying or remembering something happy that he did.
“My husband is having really bad days too. We’re both grieving the loss in different ways. We both love our son so much. He was just perfect. He really was.
“It’s affected so many people – the mums that knew him and used to take him on play dates. We’re all absolutely devastated by what’s happened.
Katie was in labour for 41 hours with Johnny eventually being born by emergency c-section after they both contracted sepsis during birth.
The 7lb 14oz tot then spent eight days in the neonatal unit.
Katie, whose nickname for Johnny was ‘meatball’ because of his big head, said: “When he was born I held my breath. I was just waiting for him to cry.
“We held him for about five minutes then he was taken away. He was struggling to breath and had swelling to the brain so was taken straight to the neonatal unit.
“He was breathing for himself but he had a feeding tube and an IV drip to give him antibiotics to try and fight the sepsis.
“I got discharged on day five when we were given a room together.
“It was very distressing in those first few days to be away from him. He was upstairs and I was downstairs so I’d have to go up to visit him.
“It was amazing bringing him home having been in hospital for so long. It felt like we were able to get on with life.
“He was healthy but by the time he was a couple of months old he had reflux and colic and we later found out a milk intolerance.
“He was in a lot of pain. He would cry a lot and every time he would feed his little legs would kick up.
“He was given a prescription formula and after that he was the happiest baby.
“He really started to develop his own little personality. He was just always so happy. You could walk into a room and his little face would light up.
“You’d be talking to him and he would coo away. He lit up the room. We were getting on with being new parents.”
Katie, who had returned to work as a care worker for a couple of days a week in July, said it’s vital that new parents are taught CPR.
Katie said: “It’s just something you never expect to happen to you.
“You never expect to have to give first aid to your child and I think it’s so important that parents are taught CPR.
“We were actually taught it because he was in the neonatal unit but if not you have to pay to do the training.
“Why should anyone have to pay to save their child’s life?
“That’s what we’re focusing on now and we want to do this in his memory. We’re also raising money to help parents who can’t afford to pay for the course.
“We’ve had a lot of help from the army wives in Colchester who are setting up a fundraising campaign.
“Even though it was too late for us to save him there’s a chance it could save another child’s life.”
To donate towards funeral costs and a memorial bench visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/johnny-jones-494?.