Young mother dies clutching newborn daughter’s babygrow

Margaretlee Hilton
Margaretlee Hilton

A young mum tragically died of cancer just 16-days after giving birth to her daughter.

33-year-old Margaretlee Hilton was too ill to see her baby daughter and passed away while clutching the infant’s babygrow.

Baby Zoe weighed just over 1lb when born and Margaretlee had managed to hold her several times.

Doctors in the Royal Victoria Hospital's neo-natal unit had asked for her hats and babygros to be placed beside her dying mother, then returned for the infant to wear as they believed Margaretlee's scent would help little Zoe's fight for survival.

Her brother, David, said: “She had been drifting in and out of consciousness, but she woke up when the clothes were placed around her bed.

“Margaretlee clutched one of the babygrows and wouldn’t let it go.

"We tried to remove it but couldn’t because she was holding it so tightly.

"When she died this afternoon, we sent it down to the RVH immediately.

“We had hoped to take Margaretlee to the hospital in a wheelchair to see wee Zoe before she died, but she wasn’t strong enough.

"She deteriorated after the birth.

"She wasn’t able to hold Zoe in her arms one last time before she died, but the wee babygrow was the next best thing.”

David added: “It was the easiest passing I’ve ever seen.

"Her face had been full of pain and anguish until then but as she went that was replaced with a big smile.”

Margaretlee, from Lenadoon in west Belfast, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer shortly after finding out she was pregnant in February.

Throughout her pregnancy, she underwent chemotherapy and was on a morphine driver.

Having suffered a miscarriage last year and a stillbirth in November 2013, Margaretlee desperately wanted another baby and a sister for her nine-year-old daughter Amy.

"I had a stillborn baby 18 months ago and want more than anything to see this pregnancy through," she told the Belfast Telegraph. "I have a wonderful partner and family.

I know, if I'm not there, they'll bring my baby up. I just want to live long enough to hold my baby in my arms."

Margaretlee's funeral will take place on Wednesday, with Requiem Mass at St Oliver Plunkett's Church on the Glen Road.