Rose Hill rarely suffered morning sickness, passed all her ante-natal checks and was looking forward to becoming a new mum.

In a check-up, little more than three weeks before her due date, Rose's GP sent her home, happy with her progress.

Within a few hours, everything changed.

Rose woke up the next morning with back pain and thought her contractions had begun.

She and a friend went to Worthing Hospital, wondering if the time had come for Rose to have her first child.

She said: "Worry never even crossed my mind because I felt fine and the baby had been kicking in the morning.

"The first midwife came in and couldn't find a heartbeat, then a second midwife came in and couldn't find one either and took my notes away.

"I knew something was wrong."

Rose, 34, was taken to another room for a scan, which also failed to find a heartbeat.

She was then told her baby had died. Rose, of Ravens Road, Shoreham,said: "I just lay there and couldn't say a word. I was numb. My friend was crying and I ended up comforting her."

Rose was taken to Room Nine, a delivery room of the hospital set aside for stillborn babies and asked when she would like to give birth.

A day later she returned to the hospital and went into induced labour for five hours.

In the early hours of September 27, baby Mitchell Lewis was born.

Rose said: "My first reaction was I didn't want to hold him but I couldn't help it. He was absolutely perfect.

Everything was so unreal, it was like walking in a dream. I fell asleep and kept him with me all night."

Rose stayed in hospital the following night but then returned to her flat.

Her parents and friends' first reaction was to clear the nursery, which was full of toys and clothes ready for the baby.

Rose would not let them. She said: "I didn't want everything to be wiped away. I know I will have to do it eventually but not yet.

He is still my son and I don't want him to disappear from history."

Apart from the first day after leaving hospital, when she could not face seeing her son, Rose has visited the delivery room daily.

Each day before she sees him, after he is brought in the room from the morgue, midwives warn his condition will have deteriorated.

She said: "People look at me as if I am mad but it is something I want to do. I change his clothes, kiss, cuddle and talk to him.

I find myself patting his back without thinking. I know he isn't there but it's helping me say goodbye."

Friends and family have found it hard to accept Rose's need to talk about Mitchell.

She has found people, who she knows care deeply about her, cannot look her in the eye.

Rose said: "After I first left the hospital I went shopping because I had to do something and met a friend and her partner.

As soon as he saw me he turned the buggy round so I couldn't see their child.

"I was shocked and put my face near the buggy and made a real fuss over the baby."

The reaction is common. Rose said: "Everyone feels so guilty but there is no point. At times I feel I am to blame but I know deep down there is nothing I could have done to stop Mitchell dying.

"I like to talk about him but know people would prefer to pretend nothing has happened because they are lost for words.

It is a taboo subject but I won't keep quiet. I think it is so sad people don't talk about it. There are probably women who have never spoken about their loss and kept it inside for years."

Rose may never know the reason why Mitchell died. If a post mortem fails to reveal a cause, it will put down to cot death.

She hopes a cause will be found which may help other parents-to-be and save other children, including her own.

Rose, a dispatch driver, said: "When I become pregnant again the doctors will want to monitor me. I do want more children. I love kids."

On Saturday, Rose will walk five miles with friends and three of their children to raise money for the Room Nine Project, after the place where Mitchell was born, and a similar support group called Bereaved Parents.

She said: "I hope something good might come of all this. It could help other people cope and maybe help me too."

A couple of midwives and some of Rose's friends are worried she is taking things too quickly and has not yet really taken in what has happened.

Rose is aware of their feelings and does not pretend she knows how she will react in the future to the loss of her son.

Yesterday, she started arranging Mitchell's funeral.

She said: "I have good days and I have bad days but I still want to talk about it. Otherwise I feel I will crack up.

"I know the funeral will be the hardest part and I don't know what will happen then."

Anyone who wants to sponsor Rose, join her on her walk in Arundel or make a donation to the Room Nine Project or Bereaved Parents can contact Grace on 01903 285194.