Darren Taylor, 39, from Leicester explains how his beautiful wife died after giving birth...
I still remember our first date so clearly…
Feeling like the luckiest man in the world on a night out at our local pub.
Then walking home in my socks because my new shoes were hurting, and Ali and I laughing about it together!
I think I knew from that moment we belonged together.
She was 19, a nursing auxiliary on a children’s ward. I was 22 and an HGV driver.
We just clicked.
Kind, funny, and with a warm smile, Ali was everything I wanted.
After about six months, we rented a house together, and we knew we wanted to have a family one day.
That ‘one day’ came quickly. Ali was already pregnant by the time we got married in August 2001.
When Ellise arrived in March 2002, we were overjoyed. Then Christopher came along two years later, making life even better.
We had lots of fun and plenty of laughs along the way.
Then, in the summer of 2009, Ali fell pregnant again.
‘I’m worried because of what happened last time,’ I told her.
After having Christopher, she’d suffered suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a dangerous blood clot – and doctors had prescribed blood-thinning medication.
But Ali wasn’t concerned about it happening again.
‘I work in a hospital,’ she reassured me. ‘Everything will be OK – that’s what hospitals are there for.’
And, on 15 March 2010, we were delighted when Yvie-Mae arrived safely at St Mary’s Hospital, Melton Mowbray.
But, about 20 minutes after the birth, Ali turned to me.
‘I’ve got a pain in my leg,’ she said.
She was home within hours but, for the next few days, the pain was still there, on and off.
The midwife was in and out every few days, and we even visited the doctor.
‘It’s muscular,’ he reassured us.
When the pain was still there a week on, the midwife sent us to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where Alison’s leg was checked out.
‘Is it a DVT?’ Ali asked.
‘No,’ the doctor reassured us.
It was the weekend, and when they told us Ali wouldn’t be able to have a scan on her leg until Monday, she looked at me.
‘I don’t want to stay here,’ she said. ‘I’ve three kids at home.’
She was breastfeeding Yvie-Mae, so couldn’t be apart from her for long.
But Ali was never booked in or called in for the scan on the Monday. And, by the Wednesday, the pain had got so bad, we went back to the GP.
He prescribed stronger painkillers and sent us home.
At about 8.30pm, Ali went upstairs for a bath.
About half an hour later, I heard a strange noise.
Running upstairs with Yvie-Mae in my arms, I pushed open the bathroom door. Ali was in the bath, and her lips blue.
‘I don’t feel very well,’ she mumbled.
I raced into Ellise’s bedroom, and left Yvie-Mae with her. Then I ran back to the bathroom and rang for an ambulance.
By now, Ali was unconscious.
I tried desperately to lift her out of the bath, but it was impossible. So I pulled the plug out, ran the water away, and laid her nightie on top of her.
Before long, paramedics were racing up the stairs. As they looked after Ali, I took the children round to Ali’s mum, who lived nearby.
By the time I got back, Ali was in the back of the ambulance.
‘You can’t go in,’ they said, ushering me into the front seat.
Then we set off for Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Ali was rushed into Resus, and I waited in the corridor.
About 10 minutes later, a nurse called me in to see the nurses taking it in turns to do chest compressions on Ali. I looked on, utterly helpless.
After about an hour, they turned to face me.
‘We can’t do any more,’ one said sadly.
Ali had gone.
She was just 29. I felt like my life had ended, too.
After that, all I remember are flashes: stopping at the shop on the way home to pick up formula for Yvie-Mae; trying to persuade her to take a bottle when all she’d been used to was being breastfed by Ali…
And seeing tears streaming down the children’s faces when I told them, ‘Mummy isn’t coming back.’
In the days that followed, I’d no choice but to get up each morning to look after the kids.
I don’t know how we got through it, but we did.
I couldn’t go back to work – the kids needed me. But it was tough doing it all on my own.
Evenings were the worst.
I put the kids to bed and the house felt so quiet.
My wife. My best friend. My soulmate. Gone.
In December 2011, an inquest heard that Ali had died from a pulmonary embolism caused by a DVT in one leg.
Recording a narrative verdict, the coroner said that a scan at the hospital could’ve saved her life.
I was so angry knowing that Ali could still be with us if we’d been listened to. So I contacted a solicitor.
The legal stuff rumbled on for years. Meanwhile, the kids grew up without their mum.
Finally, this February, after a seven-year fight, the hospital admitted that its failure to do a blood test and perform a scan resulted in Ali’s death.
We were awarded a six-figure sum. Although no amount of money will ever make up for losing Ali, it’ll make life easier for the kids.
They’re 15, 13 and 7 now, and the image of their mum. We talk about her a lot, and have pictures of her everywhere.
Not a day goes by when I don’t miss her, we all do.
So I’m telling our story as a tribute to Ali and to help keep our memory alive of the best mum and wife anyone could have wished for.