Sky and Trisdan’s story – Why I talk proudly and often of my twins taken too early

My name is Sky Matheos, mum to beautiful twin girls Remi and River, who passed away together a few hours apart when they were four days old.

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By the time our girls were born in April 2021, I had been in and out of hospital in Melbourne.

It was a high-risk pregnancy, and the 12-week scan had showed low fluid in Remi’s sac. My partner Trisdan – who is my pillar of strength – and I knew from then that we were in for a tough ride.

At 20 weeks, Remi’s waters ruptured and I was admitted to hospital at risk of early labour. I went home briefly, but on strict bed rest, and then it was back to hospital. Trisdan was by my side for every moment, doing everything he could to help me and his girls.

We made it to 23 weeks, but Remi and River couldn’t hold on any longer. They were born just before 24 weeks, with Remi weighing just 512 grams and River 576 grams.

They were sent straight to the NICU at the Royal Women’s Hospital, and despite all the machinery and medical devices, I had never seen Trisdan so proud.

We were with our girls in the NICU day and night and had to wear a mask, but I could see the smile and proudness in Trisdan’s eyes when he looked at Remi and River.

Our worlds stopped when Remi and River died. Trisdan and I held each other tight. I will never forget leaving the hospital with empty arms and we saw a mum and dad leaving the hospital with their newborn twins in arms. I broke down and cried and Trisdan held me saying “it’s okay let it out”. We both cried many tears, and still do to this day, but we are each other’s strength and lean on one another.

There is nothing that can prepare you for the loss of your babies. The loss of our babies affected our entire family. The grief and pain is a ripple effect. Family and friends are so important during this time. Our family has been by our sides every step of the way. My older sisters organised Remi and River’s funeral, and many other things that Trisdan and I were not capable of comprehending during those very early stages of grief. We were in so much pain and shock that we could barely do the simplest of things during those first weeks. I think it is so important to have a strong network to lean on and receive help and support from during all stages of grief.

Six months have now passed, but the girls are, of course, with us every day.

Personally, I post about Remi and River on my social media often because they deserve to be acknowledged. I don’t want to keep silent when it comes to pregnancy and infant loss, I want to advocate to Australia that this is real, not only did our children die but our hopes and dreams and memories to be made died too.

We are left wondering what colour eyes or hair they would have had or what their personalities would have been like. There is so much talk and celebration when parents post about their healthy pregnancies and living children and I think our deceased babies deserve the same acknowledgement, praise and attention. My experience so far has very much highlighted the fact that the stigma associated with pregnancy and infant loss is very real and I feel so strongly about this topic that I do not want to keep silent.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (PAIL) and also PAIL Remembrance Day on 15 October are so important when I think about breaking this stigma. The PAIL theme of silence is particularly important to address.

Why is it as soon as you mention a pregnancy loss or deceased baby the conversation stops? Usually during a conversation about children, if they are living there are many questions, but if you mention your baby has died, the conversation becomes awkward. I want to talk lovingly about Remi and River and want people to ask me about them and say their names.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss is sadly a part of many Australian families, therefore raising awareness is important to me so we can help stop the stigma and make it easier for families to speak openly about their experiences.

Fatherhood and Motherhood does not end with the deaths of your children. Our current version of parenthood is different, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Trisdan is a great, loving and caring father to his twin daughters and always will be.

October 15 is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

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This year to acknowledge International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day we are sharing the moments of silence affecting bereaved parents to encourage conversation about pregnancy and infant loss for the month of October.