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Stowmarket High School teacher, 29, dies three weeks after becoming a mother

Tributes have been paid to a Stowmarket High School teacher who died three weeks after becoming a mother.

Charlotte Shields-Bayliss, who has died from a rare heart condition aged 29 (4795686)
Charlotte Shields-Bayliss, who has died from a rare heart condition aged 29 (4795686)

Charlotte Shields-Bayliss, 29, of Thurston, died last Wednesday at Papworth Hospital after developing peripartum cardiomyopathy.

The rare type of heart failure develops during the later stages of pregnancy or after the baby is delivered.

Her healthy daughter Delilah was born on September 19 at West Suffolk Hospital.

Tom, her husband, said: “This illness is the cruellest. To be pregnant for nine months and have no symptoms until the third trimester or once the baby is here. To have your life ripped apart and a new baby being without a mum for the rest of their life. It’s just not fair. “

Tom and Mrs Shields-Bayliss, also known as Lottie, had been together since school and married in 2016.

He said: “She was my wife, best friend and soul mate. I am proud to have called her my wife.

“She was the most unique, kind, caring person and touched so many lives. I miss her more and more with every passing moment and will love her until the end.”

The textiles teacher joined Stowmarket High School in January 2017, with headteacher Dave Lee-Allan describing her as ‘gentle, determined, passionate and dedicated’.

“It had not been long since we were celebrating the birth of her daughter and while we had heard of complications, you hope and expect that in this day and age someone will come through, but unfortunately she didn’t,” said Mr Lee-Allan.

“As a teacher she had a warmth about her and she was a highly creative person.

“In a short space of time she had a massive impact.”

Pupils were told the news once the school had put counselling and support in place.

“Students were shocked and very upset,” said Mr Lee-Allan. “But we could see they immediately started talking and hugging and supporting each other.”

A book of condolence has been opened and the school is inviting suggestions for fund-raising or a memorial. An email address for messages of condolence or suggestions has been set up: LSB@stowmarkethigh.suffolk.sch.uk

“We know the family want to celebrate Lottie’s life, so whatever we plan to do in the future will be in the spirit of celebration,” added Mr Lee-Allan.

What is peripartum cardiomyopathy?

Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare heart muscle disease during the last part of, or in the first months after, pregnancy.

The heart becomes enlarged, weakened,and less able to pump blood than normal.

It is serious, but around 70 per cent of women recover by one year following diagnosis.

The condition usually causes heart failure because the heart fails to pump enough blood, at the right pressure, to meet the body’s needs.

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • breathlessness;
  • a cough;
  • water retention;
  • palpitations;
  • extreme fatigue;
  • finding it hard to be active.

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