When my true love died, I felt like I had no reason to go on. But there was another tiny life growing inside me…
By Kim Carrington, 31, from Wakefield
As I rubbed my burgeoning baby bump, I took Kevin’s hand and held it on my swollen stomach. ‘Look, he’s kicking,’ I exclaimed. ‘Can you feel the fluttering?’
Kevin grinned as he felt our little boy wriggling inside my tummy. ‘Not long now,’ he said. ‘Soon, we’ll be a proper little family.’
I’d met Kevin, a scrap metal dealer, through a friend and immediately knew he was The One. Our love was a whirlwind and within a year I’d given birth to our son, who we named Ben.
Kevin already had four children from previous relationships and was a brilliant dad to our little one. Quickly, we settled into happy family life.
We were saving to move into a bigger home when I made another surprise discovery. ‘Kevin, I’ve got something to tell you,’ I told him, as I made my way from the bathroom holding the little white stick.
‘I’m pregnant, we’re having another baby.’
I looked at him expectantly. We hadn’t planned another baby so soon, but I needn’t have worried. Kevin swept me up in his arms and planted a kiss on my cheek. ‘That’s brilliant news!’ he beamed.
I pulled myself back and looked up into his eyes. ‘But how will we manage?’ Kevin soothed me and said: ‘It’ll be a struggle but we’ll make it work, you’ll see. We have each other and that’s what matters.’
I was two months gone by the time I discovered I was expecting, and we hoped for a little girl to complete our perfect family.
Then, a couple of months later, Kevin went on a night out with his mates. ‘I won’t be too late,’ he said, kissing me goodbye as he grabbed his coat from the bannister.
‘Have a good night, see you later,’ I smiled as I waved him goodbye. I put Ben to bed and curled up on the sofa for a night in front of the TV.
But when Kevin came home a few hours later, he looked terrible. ‘You look a bit worse for wear,’ I said as Kevin stumbled in and crashed out on the sofa.
‘Do you want something to eat? Chicken and chips?’ I offered. ‘Yeah, thanks,’ Kevin grunted in reply as I went into the kitchen and put the oven on.
By the time I’d come back into the living room with Kevin’s tea on a tray, he was fast asleep. ‘Kevin, I’ve got your food here,’ I whispered, trying to nudge him awake, but he was out for the count.
He wasn’t budging so I went upstairs and got the quilt from our bed, and tucked him up on our corner sofa.
I thought he’d sleep it off and wake up with a steaming hangover so I curled up next to him and quickly dropped off to sleep.
Hours later, at 7.10am, my eyes blinked open as the sunlight streamed through the curtains. Rubbing my eyes, I yawned and stretched and looked over at Kevin on the sofa next to me.
He hadn’t moved from where I’d left him the night before and was still sleeping soundly. But as my eyes swam into focus through their sleepy haze I noticed a grey-ish tint to Kevin’s skin… and his lips were blue.
‘Kevin!’ I called out, throwing the duvet back and rushing to his side. ‘Kevin, wake up!’
But as I tried to shake him awake, I stopped in my tracks. Kevin was stiff – and stone cold. I knew instantly he’d died – and in that life-shattering moment, it felt like my world had ended too.
‘No, Kevin – stay with me, please!’ I begged, as I frantically dialled 999.
‘I’m sending an ambulance but you need to try to resuscitate him,’ the operator told me. ‘Is his chest rising and falling?’
I desperately gave Kevin mouth-to-mouth but nothing was working. When the paramedics arrived and took over I begged them to save him.
‘Please, he can’t die! Can you use a defibrillator on him?’ I pleaded.
But the paramedic shook his head solemnly. ‘I’m sorry, he’s already gone. It looks like he’s been dead for some time, rigor mortis has set in.’
I dissolved into a heap of tears as my Kevin was stretchered out. Lost in grief, police visited me a couple of weeks later with the results of the toxicology report.
‘The results show Kevin had taken diazepam that night, it caused a massive heart attack. I’m sorry,’ the officer told me.
I was stunned. Kevin barely drank let alone took drugs – what was he thinking? He had a heart condition which he took beta blockers for too, his heart was already weak.
He must have been led astray by a mate, he would never have taken a risk like that if he’d been thinking straight – especially not when we’d just learned we had another baby on the way.
Ten days later, I somehow got myself to the crematorium for Kevin’s funeral. I was utterly overwhelmed with grief and had to walk out when people looked at me as I collapsed in racking sobs.
I’d been playing Leona Lewis’ ‘A Moment Like This,’ on loop in the days leading up to the funeral. Kevin and I had loved the song but now, at this moment, it was too much to bear.
As I watched his coffin being lowered into the crematorium I couldn’t think of any reason to go on. To me, life without Kevin wasn’t worth living. I just wanted the pain to go away… I wanted Kevin back.
‘Look after Ben, will you?’ I asked my dad as the congregation headed to a nearby working men’s club for the wake.
‘I can’t face the wake… too many people, too many questions,’ I muttered through my tears. ‘Course love,’ Dad said, taking 10-month-old Ben from me. ‘You take care of yourself.’
I stumbled out of the crematorium and picked up a bottle of vodka from the local supermarket. Unscrewing the lid, I glugged back a big mouthful of the strong booze and winced as the liquid burned my throat.
Wiping the tears from my eyes with the back of my hand, I took another swig. When I spotted the church just down the road from my house, I pushed open the heavy door and made my way inside.
‘Hello, can I help you?’ the reverend came up to me, leaving the prayer group he’d been leading in a side room.
‘I don’t know, I don’t know if you can help me,’ I drawled. ‘Why has this happened? Why my Kevin? If there was a God, he wouldn’t have died, would he?’
I broke down as I explained everything to the kind minister, and afterwards he agreed to leave me alone. ‘I’ll get back to my group, give you some peace,’ he said softly.
I stumbled up the stairs to the ladies’ loos and locked myself in. Holding my head in my hands, I broke down in tears and drained the bottle of vodka.
I must have been in there a good couple of hours because by the time I came out, the church was deserted. I was desolate – and alone.
That’s when I decided to climb the stairs and keep climbing and climbing until I reached the very top. My mind was blank as I forced a little window open and clambered out onto the roof.
The cold air hit me, but steeled with Dutch courage I made my way to the edge of the roof. Dangling my legs over, I peered over at the 35-foot drop beneath me.
I didn’t think of anything other than Kevin… I wanted to be reunited with him. And touching my belly I resented that this baby was here, and he wasn’t.
I was on the edge of that roof for 40 minutes before I took the plunge and shuffled my bottom off over the edge and into the abyss below. Then everything went black.
When I came round, I couldn’t feel any pain but I could hear sirens and see flashing lights. ‘It’s ok, we’ve got you now,’ I heard a voice say as I was lifted onto a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance.
I’d survived – and disappointment and numbness washed over me.
‘Your baby’s unharmed,’ a consultant at the hospital told me after a scan. But even that couldn’t awaken a glimmer of life inside me.
I’d broken most of the lower half of my body, which had shattered on the impact of my fall. I’d snapped my left ankle and broken the balls of my feet and when septicaemia took hold, I was put into an induced coma.
Ten days later, I woke up in a different hospital as doctors showed me a picture of a tiny baby… my baby.
‘You’ve got a beautiful daughter,’ a doctor told me, holding a photo up at my bedside. I listened in silence as he explained medics had delivered my little girl via emergency C-section while I was in a coma.
‘You were just 25 weeks gone, and she was 1lb 9oz. She’s fighting for her life,’ he went on. Even then, I wasn’t interested.
For six days, doctors offered to wheel me into the baby unit to meet my little girl and for six days, I refused.
‘Do you think Kevin would want this?’ my dad asked, sternly. ‘You need to get yourself together, Kim. You’ve got a daughter in there. She needs you.’
It was tough love – but Dad was right. And on the seventh day, I asked doctors to take me to her.
When I laid eyes on the tiny creature, covered in tubes in the little incubator, my heart melted. ‘Hello little girl,’ I whispered, my eyes glistening with tears.
I named her Ruby – the name Kevin and I had chosen before he’d died – and kept a bedside vigil as she fought for her life.
I was overwhelmed with guilt when medics explained that because of my catastrophic injuries they’d been forced to deliver her so early.
Ruby’s skin was transparent and her lungs weren’t functioning but I willed her to hang on and as the weeks turned into months, she slowly gathered strength.
When she squeezed my finger, I dared to hope and, four months later, she was discharged. We went back to stay with my dad, who social services insisted took charge of the children.
It was a long and slow recovery but eventually, I was deemed fit enough to care for the kids alone and I, along with Ben and Ruby, moved into my own place.
Ruby is now seven and suffers from regular fits, chronic lung disease and last year, she even had a heart attack.
But as she suffers, I suffer too – because it’s all my fault. She’s growing up and I know that one day, I’ll have to tell her about the night I jumped from the church roof in a bid to kill us both.
I dread it and am terrified she’ll blame me. Ruby gave me my life back and something to focus on other than Kevin’s loss.
But the fact is, I robbed her of hers. I’ll never forgive myself but I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to her.