Derbyshire couple’s sorrow as premature baby girl dies hours after birth

A Derbyshire couple have been left heartbroken after the death of their premature baby girl. Parents Manda James and Christopher Tickle lost little Aaliyah Maya when she was born after just 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Mr Tickle’s mother, Jean Cauldwell, has spoken of her family’s ordeal, revealing Ms James is still too “grief-stricken” to open up publicly. She said the couple had been delighted when they found out about the pregnancy.

Ms James, 32, from Church Gresley, was excited to have her fourth child alongside Mr Tickle, who works as a ceramic manufacturer in Swadlincote. Manda had been looking forward to the arrival of a new sister to Chloe, 15, Lily, 11, Gracie, six and Joel, three, Staffordshire Live reports.

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Ms Caudwell, from Newhall, said: “They were very pleased. The name came out of the blue. I think they both just decided that they liked the name.

“There was a doctor who they saw who had that name tattooed on him. The name came from their religion, I think it was an Arabic name. It means ‘on High with God’. The pregnancy was going really well. They were monitoring her really closely.”

However, near the start of the pregnancy the couple received the devastating news that due to Ms James’ ongoing kidney problems, there were going to be issues with the pregnancy. Ms Cauldwell said: “They were told by doctors at Royal Derby Hospital not to continue with the pregnancy. She was taken in for a scan and the baby was fine.

“But they told her that her kidneys were failing. They told her they would have to terminate the pregnancy or they would both die.”

After an injection to induce her birth, on September 7, 2021, Aaliyah Maya was born, weighing at 0.9 ounces. Ms James got to spend two hours with her before she died.

Ms Cauldwell said: “The hospital staff were brilliant with her. They stayed with her as long as she needed to make sure she was OK.

“Manda stayed in the hospital for a few days to make sure her kidneys were stable”. Chris couldn’t face going into the hospital at risk of seeing her born dead. She wasn’t on her own as she had a friend with her.

“The original plan was to get her to 25 weeks, as there was a better chance then the baby would have survived. It was traumatic.

Christopher Tickle and Manda James
Christopher Tickle and Manda James were left devastated.

“Everyone was really upset – we thought we were going to be grandparents again. The children all understand and Chris has struggled to cope.

“It’s quite a lot but they’ve done a lot to get through it for the other children. We’re trying to be as positive as we can.

“But it had a knock-on effect for the whole family. We all tried to be there for Manda and Chris but we’re going through it. They’ve been a good support for each other.”

Ms James is currently on the waiting list for a new kidney. “She’s spending a lot of time in Nottingham hospital,” said Ms Cauldwell.

Now, the family wants to raise money for a proper headstone for Aaliyah Maya in Newhall cemetery. They want to add little trinkets to the plot of land.

Ms Cauldwell added: “At the moment, she has a little plot in Newhall. She’s just got a little cross the undertaker gave her.

“Tony Fagan and Sons were really good and they helped them through it. We want to put some little teddy bears and a little headstone for her plus a few little extra things.”

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