Heartache at death of little Joshua

A YOUNG woman has spoken of her heartache after her first child died tragically at the age of two-and-a-half.Katie Haywood-Farmer, 26, heaped praise on the army of consultants, hospice carers and nursery workers who had made her son's short life as comfortable and happy as possible.

A YOUNG woman has spoken of her heartache after her first child died tragically at the age of two-and-a-half.

Katie Haywood-Farmer, 26, heaped praise on the army of consultants, hospice carers and nursery workers who had made her son's short life as comfortable and happy as possible.

Joshua Haywood-Farmer died on January 8 and his funeral will be held at St Peter's Church in Henley tomorrow .

He had suffered with a rare brain disorder, hydrocephalus, and epilepsy as well as a host of other related conditions.

In November last year his mother was told that the illness was terminal and only days after Christmas Joshua was rushed to Ipswich Hospital with a chest infection but it quickly developed into pneumonia and he sadly died.

Katie, who lives in Church Lane, Henley, with her fiancée Andy Pryke, 34, said that she feels "totally empty" after the death of Joshua.

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"I do not think anything can prepare you for the birth of your first child and in the same breath, no matter how much you think you are prepared, nothing can prepare you for the death of your children," she said.

"There were so many times I thought 'I'm ready and can deal with this' but it was such a shock."

Joshua was born in July 2001 and at first he showed no signs of having medical difficulties.

Katie said: "The problems were detected after he was a few months old. There were scans and when the problems started I was introduced to the big scary world of medicine."

She added: "I suppose I was wanting to ignore it at that stage as everything was bright and peachy and I had a beautiful, bouncy baby.

"There was no indication that he would have a life-limiting problem. You do not really take it in until it is spelt out in black and white that he is going home now for terminal care."

Joshua's father separated from Katie when she was pregnant so for the first few months of his life she brought him up on her own, with the support of her mother.

But 10 months later she met Andy, who, she said, took both of them under his wing and was her "rock". She added that Joshua "very much saw Andy as his dad and Andy treated him like a son."

Joshua was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within ventricles inside the brain.

Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance and the CSF builds up, causing the ventricles to enlarge and the pressure inside the head to increase. It is believed to occur in about two out of 1,000 births.

Joshua's epilepsy started as a twitch but then progressed to huge seizures, which Katie said were "really frightening" and made her feel "totally helpless".

Katie said: "Just before New Year he developed this nasty chest infection. He went into hospital and it got worse and worse. He was transferred to the children's hospice in Ipswich and he had his last four days there.

"They are an elite bunch of people at the hospice who make a real difference. They were just so fantastic."

Katie added that he was also an extremely brave little boy: "He would always come out smiling from whatever happened. He had a real belly chuckle. Even when he had a bad chest infection he would laugh and smile."

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