A heartbroken mum and dad described their agony at watching their baby girl die in their arms just minutes after she was born.
Kayleigh Kavanagh and Peter Oakes cradled Dollie-Mae for seven minutes of her short life until she stopped breathing.
Kayleigh, 25, had settled into her new flat with Peter and they were overjoyed to find they were expecting their first baby together.
Peter, 22, said everything was going well until week 15 when he went to help Kayleigh into the shower and she started bleeding.
After a trip to the hospital Peter said she was sent home and told bleeding can be normal in pregnancy.
Peter said: “It was terrifying. We showed the hospital the clots because we were so worried, we just knew it wasn’t normal.”
After a scan, it was revealed Kayleigh’s waters had broken early – also known as preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM).
Kayleigh from Wirral, Merseyside, spent three weeks in hospital “bed-bound” and needing blood and iron transfusions due to the amount of blood she was losing every day.
Peter said: “At first they did not seem too worried as they said our baby was growing well, but we were both panicking.
“Then we were told her lungs weren’t growing meaning she wouldn’t be able to breathe when she was born and that she could be severely disabled with cerebral palsy.”
PPROM carries an increased risk of infection and going into labour early, and at 22 weeks, Kayleigh found out she was already in labour.
Peter said: “She was born alive. Everything about her was perfect, she looked like a perfect, tiny healthy baby.
“I was the first to hold her and she wasn’t moving, but [her heart] was beating, I could feel her, it was heart breaking.
“I passed her to Kay, and she took her last breathes on her mum’s chest.
“We chose the name Dollie-Mae before she was born and when she came it suited her so well because she looked just like a little doll.”
Dollie-Mae was just 310g (0.6lb) at birth and spent two days with her mum and dad before being laid to rest.
Peter said: “There were two people in the hospital who were amazing and helped us through, Danielle and Mel, they checked we were okay and helped us sort getting prints of Dollie’s hands and feet.
“We now have little keyrings so we can keep her with us at all times.
“We also had two teddy bears, one we kept with us and one with her and before she was placed in her coffin, we swapped the bears so she has our one and we have hers.”
The couple are now trying to raise money to pay for a headstone for their daughter.
Peter said: “We want her to have the best send off, she was our little girl.
“I lost five weeks of work when Kayleigh went into hospital and I am not even sure I will make £300 this month, it has been so hard.”
Talking about their daughter’s death has helped them both through the pain.
Peter added: “My dad told me the best way through the pain and grief was to talk about her and share the memories otherwise it can just build up.”
Kayleigh and Peter now want to build a gravestone for their daughter.