I had no idea how often stillbirth occurs and how many families are going through what we experienced. Since then, all I’ve wanted to do is raise awareness around pregnancy and infant loss.
My husband Harrison and I have two girls; Eden who is 5 and our Rainbow baby Aubrey who is 2. Our little boy Huxley was born sleeping on the 4th of September, 2020.
When I first found out we were having a little boy, I was overjoyed. Blue confetti delighted us at the gender reveal and we started imagining what our future would look like. A little brother for Eden! We started buying blue clothes and little boy things preparing for our sons’ arrival.
When we went in for my 20-week morphology scan, it started off like any other appointment and everything seemed normal. The nurse asked me to empty my bladder completely, so I did. I laid down and they continued the scan. I was by myself, as Harrison had taken Eden to get ice cream.
Then the lady said, ‘I’ll be right back, I’m just going to get the doctor’.
I thought to myself that if they were going to get the doctor during an ultrasound, it couldn’t be good news. But although I was scared, I held out hope.
The lady and the doctor continued to scan for a bit, but then they stopped. The doctor turned to me and said, ‘I’m so sorry, but we cannot find a heartbeat’.
I instantly fell apart. How is there no heartbeat? He is in there - I’ve heard his heartbeat from his eight and 12-week scan!
I felt lost. I didn’t understand why. I was told to go straight to my doctor. I went outside and called Harrison, and he came running.
After finding out our sons heart had stopped beating, I had to go to the hospital twice before actually giving birth a few days later. It was so traumatic walking through the maternity ward knowing we had lost our baby. There were so many pregnant women and families excited for their futures with their unborn babies.
When it was time to give birth, my local hospital - along with many others around Australia - did not have a designated area for bereaved families and their babies. We had to spend our time in the birthing suite & maternity wards surrounded by mothers in labour and hearing the cries of newborns.
When Huxley was born, he had tiny toes and fingers, little ears and eyes. He was perfect.
We spent the night with him, as we were offered a cuddle cot - which is a bassinet with a cooling system that gives families the opportunity to spend much needed time with their angel babies. The next morning, having to walk out of the hospital with empty arms - nothing but the bags we had taken in - was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. The pain was indescribable.
After losing Huxley I read many other stories of families that had experienced still birth, via the Red Nose website and connecting with other families online. I had no idea how often stillbirth occurs and how many families are going through what we experienced. Since then, all I’ve wanted to do is raise awareness around pregnancy and infant loss.
As part of this, I started a petition for the House of Representatives (the House) to provide a dedicated bereavement suite or room in every hospital in Australia. The petition raised an incredible 30,000 signatures, and although we didn’t get the response we were hoping for, we started the conversation, and we will continue lobbying for a safe space for bereaved families to be in after experiencing a stillbirth. These families are suffering such a traumatic loss I believe these spaces should be available for them to spend special time with their angels in comfort and peace.
The Petition and Government Response are available here:
Red Nose supports the petition for a bereavement suite or room in every hospital in Australia: