Tragedy of mother-of-six who died just three days after giving birth
13:03 16 February 2013
A Norfolk family is facing up to life without a beloved mother and wife after she died just days after giving birth.
Paul Mickleburgh and his wife Sarah had been preparing for an exciting new stage of their lives, beginning with the arrival of their sixth child, Alyssa.
But within three days of giving birth, Mrs Mickleburgh, 34, died suddenly after a blood clot formed near her heart.
Now her newborn daughter has had to be temporarily taken into care and her husband and five other children left to cope without her.
Last night, her husband paid tribute to his partner of 17 years and the strength of his children, and thanked the friends who have rallied round the family in their time of need.
“The children are the only thing that has kept me going,” said Mr Mickleburgh, of North Walsham Road, Norwich.
“But we’ve had messages and cards from all over England, and in the days after Sarah died there were so many messages we couldn’t read them all.
“I’d like to say thanks to everyone for all their messages and thoughts. The people around this area are just brilliant, and it has meant so much to us.”
Despite a difficult pregnancy, Mrs Mickleburgh had been in good health following the birth on Thursday, January 17.
“She looked well on the Sunday when I visited her. It was the best I’d seen her looking,” said Mr Mickleburgh, 43.
After taking the children home, he called his wife in the evening.
“We were speaking on the phone, and then she said ‘I don’t feel well, I’ve got to go. Then the phone cut off. That really wasn’t like Sarah.
“I got a phone call half an hour later from a nurse at the N&N.”
They told Mr Mickleburgh that his wife had fallen seriously ill and that they were sending transport to bring him to the hospital.
“I was just thinking the worst. I wanted to be up there, I had to be up there,” he said.
“We were taken to a room on the delivery ward and they started speaking to me, in that way they do.
“I was just thinking ‘Tell me that she’s still alive’.
“Then they said they had done all they could but couldn’t do anything more. She was gone.”
With his first thought for his family, Mr Mickleburgh agreed that Alyssa should be taken into temporary foster care, where she is expected to stay for eight weeks, while dealt with the aftermath.
He then faced telling his children – Stuart, 17, Jasmine, 12, George, nine, four-year-old Keegan and two-year-old Callum – that their mother would not be coming back from the hospital.
The joy of Alyssa’s birth had turned to tragedy with Mrs Mickleburgh’s death.
“Telling your children that their mother is dead is just the worst thing,” he said.
“Whenever Alyssa comes round for a visit, the younger ones are still hoping that their mummy is going to be there.”
Mrs Mickleburgh enjoyed relaxing with music and comedy, but her family was at the centre of everything she did.
“So much of her life revolved around her children. She would do anything for them,” said Mr Mickleburgh.
“She used to love going out for a coffee with her friends – she didn’t get a lot of time to herself but that was the way she liked it.”
The family have been supporting each other through the weeks since Mrs Mickleburgh’s death.
“Sarah loved all her children so much and the one thing I want is for her to be remembered by her children,” he said.
After arranging the funeral, Mr Mickelburgh’s focus has been on being strong for his children.
“I just want Sarah to get the day she deserves,” he said.
“In the evenings, I take time to think about the plans we were making.
“Sarah would always be looking forward to Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays. I think of all those days that are coming up and Sarah is not going to be a part of it.
“I think about how the children are going to grow up and they are not going to know their mum.
“I think about the last time I spoke to Sarah, the last time I saw her, where she is now.”
He added: “We will stick together. I say to the kids if they ever want a kiss and a cuddle, come to me because I need the kisses and cuddles too.
“As much as we are struggling now, we will get through this.”
Mrs Mickleburgh’s funeral will be at Earlham Cemetery at 11.30am on February 20.
Flowers can be sent to RB Copping, 125 The Street, Poringland NR14 7RP.