Cobey Mason was born prematurely at nearly 33 weeks on 11th November, 2021. He had a condition called hydrops fetalis and scans revealed a tumour around his right lung.
Bleeding complications meant surgeons were only able to remove 90% of it and he remained critically ill at Great Ormand Street Hospital, in London.
Cobey started chemotherapy but his body was unable to cope and, due to the aggressive type of cancer, another tumour developed.
He gained his “angel wings” on 17th January 2022 and, ever since, mum Kristina has been receiving bereavement counselling at the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) base near Norwich.
She makes regular trips to The Nook, in Framingham Earl, and says those sessions – both individual and group – have played a key role in helping her navigate the pain of Cobey’s death.
“Grieving has been what I can only describe as a very unpredictable journey for me,” said Kristina, who lives in Norwich.
“I’ve experienced every emotion possible and it’s been overwhelming. I found it very hard to accept at the beginning, until I began having one-to-one counselling at The Nook.
“Thanks to that, and in time, I’ve slowly been able to accept and understand our journey. I understand my feelings and also the different stages of grief.
“At the start, the thought of counselling was extremely daunting but it’s something I’d definitely recommend to others in a similar situation. The grief from your baby or child passing away is unbearable and can be so lonely.
“However, I find it comforting having other mums and dads around me, knowing they’re living, and trying to cope, with exactly the same thing.”
Cobey’s condition, hydrops fetalis, meant fluid was retained in the wrong parts of his body. Kristina, 31, feared something was wrong even before he was born.
“There was reduced movement and I had a feeling something wasn’t right, so was told to visit the hospital for monitoring,” she said.
“At one point various professionals entered the room, and I was told my baby needed to be delivered straight away via caesarean under general anaesthetic.
“I have little memory from that day but remember coming round from the anaesthetic and speaking to a consultant, who told me my baby wasn’t breathing and had to be resuscitated. At that stage, the doctors weren’t sure if he’d survive 24 hours.”
Cobey continued to battle and defy the odds for nine weeks.
It was after his death that Kristina was referred to EACH, which supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across East Anglia.
“Cobey gained his angel wings while having mummy cuddles – something we didn’t have enough of,” she said.
“Despite all the odds, he fought hard throughout his short life and showed so much courage on a daily basis. Throughout our journey, I remained as close as possible to Cobey.
“Every day, he began to create a cheeky and funny personality and I have so many precious memories that I’ll cherish forever. I’m forever grateful for the nine weeks we had together and I’ll always be proud to be his mummy.”