Pregnancy and Infant Loss – Amy’s Story

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In 2019, two thousand, one hundred and eighty-three (2183) babies were stillborn in Australia. My sons, Thomas Ethan & Samuel Nicholas were two of them.  To see my firstborns as part of a statistic like that is quite confronting. No one is ever ready to be plunged into that club which no one ever wants to be a part of.


As my husband and I were being told we were unavoidably going to lose our pregnancy, the little room we were in went dark and everything else in the world stopped existing. I remember holding on, white-knuckled, to the table to keep me sitting upright when all I wanted to do was crumble, melt, faint, anything to make the words go away. My babies. I was going to lose both of my babies.


For the 4 weeks leading up to that moment I had naively hoped we would be able to save one of them. I didn’t know how to go on without at least one. Please universe, let me save one. But it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes we can love, and wish, and pray with our whole hearts but it’s not enough.


At 18 weeks gestation I had been diagnosed with PPROM – Preterm Premature Rupture Of Membranes: my waters had broken around one of my twins whom we had affectionately nicknamed Lefty-Leaky. We were told it was a “watch and wait” situation. Nothing could be done, but maybe we could hold out to give the other one a chance.  At 22 weeks Righty-Tighty had broken his as well, which led us to that little room being told there was not any hope left; there was an infection in my womb and they needed to come out or my own life would be at risk.


I spent all of Valentine’s Day in labour and after more than 23 hours, finally gave birth a little after 12 AM on 15 February 2019. They had just clicked over to 22 weeks, 3 days and weighed about 1kg between them.  After my husband cut their cords, at my request my boys were placed on my chest while I held onto that most magnificent, tragic moment. There is nothing in the world that surpasses holding your firstborn/s for the first time. Even then I didn’t understand the depths of the sorrow that were ahead of us. I looked at my husband while I told him that we would try again. I promised to try again, just once more.  I promised him that he would get his wife back.  Just give me 6 months to mourn. If only I’d known.


What I didn’t realise yet was that the night we lost our first babies the very fabric of the universe had to have been ripped apart to allow something so catastrophic to happen. It’s the only way to make sense of it because that is exactly how it feels. We should never have to bury our own children: it goes against nature. All the colour was suddenly drained from the world and for months I walked around as a ghost, an empty shell of the vibrant person I had once been. To step back out in public after losing a baby feels like everyone around you is staring because they can see what a failure you are. It seems so obvious. I felt that I, quite literally, had a neon sign lighting up the dark cloud above my head saying “I LOST MY BABIES”. I’d failed them.  How could I even contemplate trying again?


As days became weeks, became months, as milestones came and went, it got easier. We moved house, I started a new job, lost friends, made new friends, and slowly I learned to look people in the eye again – I remember that one came last; it was the hardest.  I really dislike it when people tell you it doesn’t get easier. Of course, it does. That acute, ever-present physical sting settles into something more of a dull ache, something you somehow learn to live with. If it didn’t get easier we wouldn’t survive. Some of the most amazing, incredible, and brave women I have had the privilege to meet, I’ve met through baby loss. I feel it’s the one thing we all have in common; an unfathomably deep resilience.


I am acutely aware of just how lucky I was that our loss occurred at this point in history with so much support given by wonderful charities such as SANDS, Red Nose, Precious Wings, and Heartfelt. And that’s on top of being in a tertiary hospital in a capital city in a country like Australia. We had the option of having our babies by our side as long as we liked thanks to a refrigerated “cuddle cot”. They were dressed in clothes specially made and donated, we had the chance to make memories. Most of all they were treated with respect by wonderfully trained midwives and staff. We had expected much less and certainly couldn’t have asked for more for our boys.

Over two and a half years later the world has colour again. I write this as my almost 9-month-old son, Emmett Thomas Samuel, naps beside me. We did try again as promised; because the only thing that scared me more than doing it all again was not doing it all again. And thankfully I wasn’t that brave.


In memory of Tom & Sam, my ducklings. Once in our arms, forever in our hearts.

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