File photo: HELLP is often mistaken for pre-eclampsia, or for gastritis, flu, hepatitis or gall bladder disease.

Cradling her baby son in her arms for the first time, his mother prepares to say goodbye to him.

Kerry Tellwright’s son Archie was stillborn but she had no idea until she awoke from a coma three weeks later to be told that he had died.

The last thing she remembered before a series of seizures was preparing to become a mother for the first time.

Now, in an attempt to raise awareness of the condition that claimed his life, Tellwright, 34, has released tender photographs of her holding and kissing Archie for the first time.

"I thought I was going into hospital to give birth so to wake up with nothing was heartbreaking," she said. "I didn’t get to wash Archie or dress him, I didn’t get to do anything.

"But three weeks after he was born I got to hold him for the first time. It was amazing. He was my baby boy. I had wanted him for so long and he was finally in my arms." Tellwright and her fiance Craig Hill, 47, from Stoke-on-Trent, were "over the moon" when they found out she was pregnant after eight years of trying for a baby, two rounds of IVF and an early miscarriage of twins.

But despite a normal pregnancy, in her 38th week Miss Tellwright started to experience pain in her left shoulder. It persisted and days later as she was being driven to hospital by Mr Hill she suffered a series of seizures.

Doctors discovered that she was suffering from a rare condition that had led to a rupture in her liver and spleen. Her son was delivered stillborn during an emergency caesarean.

Tellwright spent seven days in an induced coma and a fortnight unconscious in intensive care, before waking to find that Archie had been stillborn.

But he had been kept in a cuddle cot – a bed with a refrigerated unit underneath the mattress – for three weeks, which meant that his mother was able to hold him.

"A week after he was born they brought me round and there are pictures of Craig holding him next to me but I don’t remember it, I was on so much medication," she said. "It wasn’t until I came to again two weeks later. I just knew as soon as I realised Archie wasn’t with me that he had died." The charity Remember My Baby offered to do a photoshoot for the couple.

Miss Tellwright is sharing the deeply personal photos to raise awareness of HELLP syndrome, which is similar to pre-eclampsia.

"We were able to have these beautiful photos taken with Archie," she said. "It does mean so much to have them. They are the only memories we have to hold on to."

Describing how her ordeal began, she said: "I woke up one morning with a pain in my shoulder – it felt just like a trapped nerve so I thought I had slept funny.

"Ten days later it was still there and I also started to feel quite sick. I called the maternity ward and they told us to come in. The last thing I remember was getting into the car with Craig." She later learned that she had suffered several seizures and started swallowing her tongue.

Archie was delivered on June 17 last year at Burton Hospital in Staffordshire. Tellwright, who was put in an induced coma to save her life, was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

She spent six weeks in hospital. She buried her son last August.

"Coming home without Archie was absolutely horrendous," she said. "I was very distressed. My sister-in-law had to go round the house before I got there moving everything I had left out ready for Archie into the nursery."

The pain in her shoulder turned out to be transferred pain from her liver failing, a symptom of HELLP. The condition is usually diagnosed when pregnant mothers suffer high blood pressure and high protein in their urine but she did not have either of these symptoms.

Tellwright is now trying to raise awareness of the condition after discovering that neither she nor her friends and family knew of it before it struck. Had she known of the danger, she thinks she would have been less likely to have dismissed her shoulder pain.

Helen Hurst, head of midwifery at Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We do everything we can to provide the best possible care and support for mothers-to-be. Burton Hospital would always urge mothers-to-be to seek immediate medical help if they are feeling unwell or have symptoms that are unusual for their pregnancy."

* HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening liver and blood clotting disorder.

One in every 100 women die if they are treated, but the death rate soars to one in four if it is left untreated. If a baby is born, one in ten will not survive.

HELLP is named after its characteristics: Hemolysis (the breaking down of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count.

The syndrome, which is similar to pre-eclampsia, can be very difficult to diagnose, especially when high blood pressure and protein in the urine are not present.

Symptoms include headache, nausea, shoulder pain and bleeding. It is often mistaken for pre-eclampsia, or for gastritis, flu, hepatitis or gall bladder disease.