A mother who lost her beautiful six week-old son has revealed the care her baby received has inspired her to become a neonatal nurse.
Devon Falconer’s world collapsed around her when son Arlo Knight passed away in June 2018.
But just three years on from the tragic loss the mum has shared how the support her son received in the neonatal ward inspired her to help others.
The student nurse has said that one day she hopes to work in a neonatal department where babies need intensive medical care.
Devon, now 26, from Coleraine in Northern Ireland got told to prepare for the worst after discovering the devastating news at her 20-week scan that Arlo had several incurable heart conditions.
The first-year student at Queen’s University, Belfast said she “cherished every moment” with her son who passed her away in her arms.
Now Devon, who shared treasured photographs of Arlo with Belfast Live, says she wants to use her devastating bereavement to help others.
And Devon, who has since had another son Enzo – who she dubs “her saving grace” – says people did not know what to say when she suffered her loss.
She said: “Losing Arlo was the worst pain in my heart, I was numb and empty. I felt like I was a woman with a body of a mother without a child to carry.
“Even though he was sick it did not spoil my pregnancy because every day he was in my stomach I knew he was safe.”
Arlo Knight was born on May 16, 2018, and Devon did not know how long she would have with her son who was born without a spleen and diagnosed with incurable heart conditions.
Devon said: “Every day was a blessing, crying for food or needing his nappy changed. I was prepared but every day could have been my last.
“They told me after they took the drugs of him, his oxygen would go down either slow or fast, they just didn’t know.
“I decided to take him home and do things like a normal baby would I took him swimming I fed him ice cream, I was unsure of the last day I would spend with my son, so I cherished every moment.”
After six weeks, Arlo started deteriorating and his mother called for an ambulance and took him to Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.
She said: “On the morning Arlo passed away I rang for help and took him to the hospital.
“Dr Ledwith his consultant asked did we want to restart his heart which I declined. I did not want to prolong something that was going to happen anyway.”
“I just held him until he passed away in my arms. I took him home to give him a bath and walk round the house with him like he was still here.
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“I am thankful and appreciative that I got to spend them moments with him.”
Devon says when Arlo died people did not know how to behave around her.
She said: “Friends avoided me in the street when really, I just needed a friend. I think he should be remembered for the six weeks that he spent with us.
“People just did not know what to say and think ‘that is that girl that lost her baby’ but I like to talk about him I am so proud to call him my son.”
On having another boy, Enzo, she said: “I felt like I needed another baby. A brother for Arlo, I believe I was sent Enzo to repair my broken heart.
“When I am having a bad day, I just need to look at Enzo and I am reminded of what I have right now and not what I have lost. Arlo sent me Enzo to help me live again.”
On her neonatal nurse ambitions, she confirmed: “I wanted to specialise in neonatal nursing because the nurses who provided Arlo’s care were beyond amazing.
“I am currently studying adult nursing; I am nearly finished my first year. It is still too soon to work with babies after his death but eventually that is where I want to be helping people when they need it most.
“If it were not for having Arlo perhaps I would not have chosen, this career path. Arlo was named after the good dinosaur, which is a Disney film, with the smallest Dino being Arlo.”