My baby began breathing when I finally held her but passed away as I cuddled her

Hope-Rose took her first breaths by herself when she was being held by her devoted mother.

But just moments later the tragic newborn had lost her fight for life and died in her mum's arms as she cuddled her.

Little Hope-Rose was born at just 25 weeks on April 6.

Parents Sophia Vanhecke and Ben Taylor realised she was coming incredibly early and called 111 at 1am in the morning.

Just two hours later, Hope-Rose was born at Barnstaple Hospital , weighing just over 1lb.

Sophia said: "She was very, very small. So tiny, but apart from that she looked exactly like my other two children when they were born.

"We called her Hope because it fit the situation. Then the nurse who looked after her and looked after us on the evening she passed was called Rose, so we hyphenated it."

After she was born, Hope-Rose was transferred to the neonatal unit at Derriford Hospital.

For the next three days 25-year-old Sophia and Ben didn't move from her side while machines kept her alive.

On April 9 the family were offered a private room and Hope-Rose was taken off ventilation.

She was laid on her mum's chest and, in what seemed like a miracle, started breathing on her own.

Sophia, a nail technician, said: "At first when she began to breathe on her own, without the ventilator, I was really happy and we thought she was going to the the one-in-a-million miracle baby.

"It was about 20 minutes or half-an-hour later that the consultant came and checked her heart and she had passed."

The mum, who also has has two older children, Eden, four, and two-year-old Coen, said one of the hardest parts was telling them.

Sophia said: "My son is too young to understand. My daughter didn't actually know I was pregnant at all.

"And because it all happened in the middle of the night she was told I was unwell because we didn't really know what was happening with Hope-Rose at first.

"Once she had passed we told Eden that she had a baby sister but she came too early and was really poorly and died.

"Eden asked if she could go to see her in the hospital in Plymouth.

"We asked her if she was sure because Hope-Rose was very cold – but she really wanted to go and see her and cuddle her and say goodbye."

Instead of celebrating their daughter's birth, the couple are now planning her funeral.

And they have a very special request for anyone who sees her funeral cortege – to blow a kiss.

Sophia said: "I am struggling now. Planning the funeral helps.

"Although we are having a private funeral in Wrafton, we will have a horse-drawn carriage taking her to the Barnstaple crematorium.

"I want to ask that anybody who sees the horse-drawn carriage blows her a kiss as she passes."

And Sophia also wants to raise awareness of the amazing work of the neonatal team, who she believes could have saved her baby if they had been alerted earlier.

She said: "I want to raise awareness – I don't think people here speak about or know enough about neonatal death.

"Also I want to set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the neonatal team. All of the staff at the neonatal intensive care unit at Plymouth Derriford were absolutely outstanding. Words could never describe. The nurses there were Hope-Rose's family and always will be.

"It was sad because I went into labour at home at one in the morning. I dialled 111 and an ambulance came and took me to A&E.

"I told them I was in labour but they didn't believe me. For two hours I was saying I need to push.

Because I already have two children I knew I was in labour.

"I actually gave birth to her in Barnstaple A&E. I wasn't examined by a doctor until quarter of an hour before she was born and he said 'the baby's coming'.

"There was no specialist doctor there and no specialist equipment. They called for the specialist neonatal team from Derriford but in the time it took them to drive down they had to resuscitate her three times.

"The thing that really upsets me is that the consultant said if the circumstances were different a baby born at 25 weeks – with the right equipment and the right specialist staff – has a 65 per cent of survival.

"If they had listened to me when I said I was in labour, they would have had time to get the neonatal team to Barnstaple. It was enough time.

"Hope-Rose was born without the right environment or staff or equipment. Because of that she had the worst chance of survival.

"When the Plymouth team arrived they knew exactly what they were doing – they were absolutely amazing.

"The hardest thing for me is that nobody listened to me. I threw myself on the floor in pain. I knew I was in labour.

"The pain was excruciating. I kept saying I needed to push and the paramedic said I didn't need to push it was an infection."

The family now plan to set up a JustGiving page to raise funds for the neonatal team.

Sophia told Devon Live : "All of the staff at the neonatal intensive care unit at Plymouth Derriford were absolutely outstanding. Words could never describe.

"The nurses there were Hope-Rose's family and always will be."

Professor Adrian Harris, medical director at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Sophia and Ben for the tragic loss of Hope-Rose.

“We are dedicated to providing safe, high-quality care to our patients with compassion, and as with any incident of this nature we will be conducting a full investigation to establish what happened and identify any learning that we need to act on.

“We will work with the family during the investigation and will share our full report with them.”

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