A couple have spoken of their devastation and asked lawyers to investigate after their “miracle” IVF baby died at only two days old.

Melissa Ayton started bleeding and suffering from abdominal cramps 26 weeks into her first pregnancy, in October 2021. She and her partner, Thomas Hind, attended Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The family's lawyers have said doctors identified that Melissa was in labour but were unable to prolong it. Scans found baby Jacob to be in breech position, but a decision was made to try and proceed with a natural delivery.

They go on to explain that after Melissa’s waters broke it was identified that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s leg. Melissa was taken into surgery for an emergency delivery. 

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The Northern Echo: Melissa, Thomas, and Sophia with a photo of Jacob.

Lawyers claimed that Jacob was born not breathing and had to be resuscitated. The newborn was immediately transferred to neonatal intensive care, but the family say his condition continued to deteriorate.

Following Jacob’s death Melissa, 26, and Thomas, 27, of County Durham, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their care under Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help them "secure answers".

A Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: "Losing a baby is devastating for any parent and we are truly sorry for the pain and grief Jacob’s mum and dad have been through and offer our heartfelt condolences.

"As this is an ongoing legal case it would be inappropriate to comment further but we do hope the family found some comfort in the help and support they’ve spoken about following Jacob’s death.”

Jacob started developing seizures the day after he was born, and a decision was made to withdraw from intensive care. He died at 7pm on November 3.

The family's lawyers said that post-mortem tests found he had suffered a bleed on the brain and had been starved of oxygen.

Read more: County Durham maternity ward gave mother foetus in box

This Baby Loss Awareness week, Melissa and Thomas want to raise awareness of what they’ve been through in a bid to help others.

Melissa said: “Jacob was our miracle baby, we were so lucky to be pregnant after our first round of IVF. We were so excited for our future.

“Whilst slightly nervous given Jacob was an IVF baby, my pregnancy seemed to be progressing well and no concerns were raised at any of my appointments.

The Northern Echo: A scan of baby Jacob. A scan of baby Jacob. (Image: PR)

“Seeing Jacob so poorly in hospital broke our hearts and is something that will stay with us forever.”

Melissa and Thomas were supported by Team Evie, a charity that supports families with sick children going through challenges. 

Melissa said: “After Jacob had passed away we were asked if we would like to take Jacob home with us until his funeral to spend some time with him in our own home.

“We immediately said yes, however, this was only possible if there was a ‘cuddle cot’ available for us to use. Team Evie have a cuddle cot loan service and they travelled all the way from Cumbria to allow us to take Jacob home.

“The support Team Evie gave us was amazing and they gave us the chance to spend quality time with Jacob and allow family members to meet him, which we will treasure forever.”

After Jacob’s death, Melissa and Thomas, who also thanked RVI’s counselling service for its support, found out they were expecting again after having IVF. Baby Sofia was born in December 2022.

Read more: Darlington and Durham hospital maternity ward 'inadequate'

Melissa added: “After everything that happened, we were both really nervous through my pregnancy with Sofia. It was such a relief when we welcomed her into the world but also a time of such mixed emotions knowing she would never get to meet her big brother.

“However, we feel we owe it to Jacob to at least get the answers he deserves regarding his death. All we can do now is share what happened to us to make other parents aware. People shouldn’t have to go through the grief of losing a baby alone as help and support is available.”

Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9-15 October. For more information on Team Evie visit www.teamevie.org while for more information on 4Louis visit www.4louis.co.uk

Samantha Williams, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the couple said: “Melissa and Thomas were overjoyed when they found out they were expecting Jacob.

“Understandably, not only do they remain devastated by the traumatic events that unfolded, but Melissa and Thomas also have questions about Jacob’s death.

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“While nothing can make up for their loss, we’re determined to support Melissa and Thomas so they at least can be provided with all of the answers they deserve.

“Sadly through our work, we too often see the devastating consequences families can be left to face following the death of a baby.

“Baby Loss Awareness Week is an important campaign in raising awareness of the issues families continue to face and the help and support available.”