A couple who married at the bedside of their dying son have opened up about the emotional moment.
Alice Dix, 22, and her partner Liam had been trying for a child for a year when Alice fell pregnant with baby Ralph.
But tragedy struck when she went into labour at 33 weeks and the couple’s son was born seriously ill, weighing just 1.8 kilos.
‘I willed our little boy to hang on but the doctors couldn’t stop my labour,’ Alice tells New Idea.
Ralph was diagnosed with meningitis and faced the fight of his life.
‘I was heartbroken,’ says Alice. ‘We’d yearned for our baby for so long, I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him now.’
At that moment, Alice did something impulsive. She asked Liam to marry her.
‘It seemed crazy, but I wanted us to be united for Ralph – we’d be stronger together for our boy. I was sure Liam would think I was mad, but he instantly agreed,’ she says.
With the help of the hospital, the young couple set about making wedding plans – arranging to tie the knot over baby Ralph’s hospital crib.
‘Ralph was Liam’s best man and we held the marriage ceremony over our beautiful baby boy’s bed,’ the mum said.
‘Liam and I held Ralph’s hands as we said ‘I do’. It may have not been the traditional big white wedding, but it was poignant and perfect.
‘We even had our first dance holding our little boy’s hand.
‘When Liam and I went back to our room that night, we knew we’d done our best for our boy.’
Tragically, just hours after Liam and Alice had promised to love each other for better or for worse, Ralph passed away.
He was just four weeks old.
‘Leaving the hospital without my precious boy was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,’ Alice recalls.
But out of the couple’s agonising grief came a glimmer of hope.
Six months after losing her little son, Alice asked her angel baby if he was still with her.
‘Then a few hours later, I just didn’t feel right. I’d had a strange, queasy sensation all day. But then I suddenly realised I’d felt this way before.
‘I grabbed a pregnancy test that same day and was gobsmacked when two little blue lines appeared. I was pregnant!’
The couple’s rainbow baby, Cordel, was born happy and healthy in June 2017.
Now nine months old, he has a striking resemblance to the appearance of his big brother.
‘I miss Ralph every day,’ Alice says. ‘But I know he’s looking over us and I’ll be forever grateful for his heaven-sent gift.’
Read the full story in the current issue of New Idea – out now.