Devastated parents raising awareness of little-known condition after death of baby son

After tragically losing their baby to a little-known condition, a Louth family is keen to raise awareness of the condition.
Andrea and Brad with the keepsakes they made of baby Noah.Andrea and Brad with the keepsakes they made of baby Noah.
Andrea and Brad with the keepsakes they made of baby Noah.

Andrea Charlton, from Louth, and her partner Brad Ruby were thrilled to find that Andrea was pregnant just three months into their relationship in September 2021, and all of her early scans showed their baby was healthy.

At her 20 week scan, where they found out their baby was a boy, Andrea was found to have a low-lying placenta, or placenta praevia.

This is where the placenta stays low in the womb, near to or covering the cervix, instead of stretching upwards as pregnancy progresses and affects about one in every 200 births.

In Andrea’s case, this caused her to have more than ten haemorrages during her pregnancy, which was terrifying for the couple:

"I was panicking so much, but when we got to hospital, he was fine and he was kicking up a storm,” Andrea remembered.

She continued to suffer haemorrages though, and the final one caused her to lose around 500ml of blood and having an emergency c-section under general anaesthetic at 28 weeks, and Noah Micheal Ruby was born at 2.40pm on March 20, weighing 3lbs 5 ½ oz – a healthy weight for a baby at 28 weeks gestation.

Brad was able to see Noah for a few minutes in his incubator before he was whisked away for special care, and the couple were able to see him again briefly before he was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary.

In the days that followed, it became apparent that baby Noah was very unwell as two valves in his heart that should have closed when he was born hadn’t, and he was also suffering from brain damage due to lack of oxygen and a pneumothorax, where air was leaking from a tear in his lungs.

Sadly, despite the doctors best efforts, Noah died in his parents arms on April 4, at just two weeks old.

As well as grief counselling, Andrea and Brad were given the chance to spend precious time with Noah after his death thanks to the specialist team at Martin House Children’s Hospice.

Here, they were able to make special keepsakes of Noah’s hand and footprints, and were given the chance to take him on walks in a special cooled pram.

Now the couple want to raise awareness of the condition that so cruelly cut their baby’s time so short:

"I feel like if Id have known more about it, I could have prepared better for what was going on,” Andrea said, “It wouldn’t have changed anything, but it would have been good to know we weren’t alone.”

Andrea and Brad have now been channeling their energies into keeping Noah’s memory alive, as Andrea has been taking part in the Walk for SANDS 90km challenge, and Brad is writing a children’s book in Noah’s name.

Brad added: “If any other parents are going through this, we just want to say that you’re still your child’s parents and you never stop being mummy and daddy, even when they are gone.

"They’re still looking down on you, so keep being their parent and doing what you’re doing.”