'Beautiful inside and out': Tragedy as mum dies 48 hours after giving birth
- Credit: Jack Walden
Heartfelt tributes have been paid to an Ipswich mother-of-two, described by her family as "beautiful inside and out", who tragically died less than 48 hours after giving birth.
Jessica Walden, of Bramford, gave birth to second daughter, Orla Anne Walden, on Friday, May 7 at Ipswich Hospital.
The 28-year-old had suffered with pre-eclampsia and several other complications towards the end of her pregnancy, which required her to undergo frequent checks and overnight hospital stays.
The decision was made to induce Mrs Walden at 37 weeks, to reduce the risks to both her and her baby Orla.
Husband Jack Walden described the arrival of 5lb 7oz Orla as "absolutely perfect".
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"She did so well," said Mr Walden, proudly.
"She smashed it. Just gas and air, no pain relief, no nothing. She was a real trooper.
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"I remember Jessica saying when Orla came out that she was so proud she'd done it."
Shortly after Orla's birth, Mrs Walden was taken to theatre due to issues with her placenta.
"It wouldn't deliver," Mr Walden explained. "They took her to theatre to remove it, and whilst doing so, she went into cardiac arrest."
Doctors performed CPR on Mrs Walden for 20 minutes and managed to resuscitate her.
However, they struggled to control the severe blood loss which had occurred as a result of the placental complications.
They ended up performing an emergency hysterectomy to stop the bleeding, which had initially seemed to work.
"They explained to us that there was a very small chance this could happen, but the doctor said in his 20 years he's never seen anything like this," Mr Walden said.
"She lost a lot of blood."
Mrs Walden was placed on life support but sadly died in the early hours of Sunday morning, May 9. Her family are awaiting the official cause of death.
Before she died, Mrs Walden received one final visit from baby Orla whilst in intensive care.
Although unconscious, Mr Walden said his wife - who "lived for her kids" - knew exactly what was going on.
"We brought Orla up [to intensive care] and laid her on her," he said.
"She definitely realised what was happening, because her blood pressure went through the roof.
"She could definitely understand what was going on, which was really nice."
Mr Walden says baby Orla is doing "perfectly" despite arriving early, and will soon be going home.
"She's my little fighter," he said.
The couple's elder daughter Elsie, two, had been excited to become a big sister.
Mr Walden had the heart-breaking task of explaining the situation to the toddler.
"I've tried to explain it to Elsie," Mr Walden said.
"I explained that mummy had a baby in her tummy, which she knew, and the baby is out but mummy has been poorly and the doctors kept her asleep.
"I told her that mummy has gone up to Mr Moon. I didn't think she understood, but last night I was putting her to bed and she said 'baby out, and mummy is sitting on the moon'."
Mr Walden has praised the staff at Ipswich Hospital for the support he has been given and the care his wife received.
"I can't fault them," he said. "They've been so good. Deben Ward especially were absolutely fantastic."
Mr Walden is due to take his new baby home today.
One of Jessica's friends, who she worked with as an area manager for The Body Shop At Home, has set up a JustGiving page in her memory.
By Tuesday morning, it had already raised more than £20,000.
The money raised will contribute towards funeral costs and support her family as they navigate this devastating situation.
The page has been shared more than 1,000 times on social media and prompted an outpouring of love for Mrs Walden and her family, both from her friends and members of the wider community.
"I'm so overwhelmed by the support already," said Mr Walden. "Reading the comments has been lovely."
Mrs Walden is lovingly remembered as "a happy, fun-loving, caring and kind mummy who lit up a room whenever she walked in". Her husband described her as "beautiful inside and out".
"She was just brilliant," he said. "She lived for her kids. She was the most loving person I know."
Anyone who wants to donate to the Walden family can do so here.