An open letter to all
As October marks International Pregnancy and Infant loss month it is time for many families to reflect on the impact one little soul has had on their lives even if it has been for such a short time.
In 2010 we were awaiting the arrival of our third baby, our first boy. On the day that we found out Riley was a boy; my husband had a spring in his step as he planned our son’s future sporting career and when would be a good time to retire from local club footy to take on a coaching role. We were so excited and never ever did we expect that our only son would never get to come home with us.
We were a busy young family with two girls aged 4 and 2, like any family a new baby brings about much planning, hospital appointments on a weekly basis as my pervious babies arrived a little early and running around being the mum with all hats on at once. We had brought a new house to accommodate the new member of our family, set up his room and washed all his clothes, we were ready, I had done everything right then in an instant every dream, every plan we had was gone.
What went wrong? What happened?
On Tuesday 16th of February my morning was like any other but I just felt something wasn’t right. I called my husband to tell him but couldn’t get a hold of him, I rang my mum at work and told her I needed her to come to the hospital to watch my girls, that something wasn’t right but I’m sure it will all be fine. Call it mothers instinct or a prompting or a sign, we both arrived from different locations at the same time, she took my girls and I went to maternity for what I thought would be a quick check and be home again in no time.
There is no heart beat…..
I was alone, our son had died and I was all alone. The pain of these words shattering every ounce of me. I was left alone to call my husband and tell him that I couldn’t do the one thing every woman thinks comes naturally. I spent 45 minute alone, no nurse to comfort me, no one to give me a hug and tell me that you are strong enough to get through this.
Riley was born at 31 weeks, his perfect little hands and feet, his nose and chin just like his big sister. He was every emotion you feel in your lifetime in a perfect little package. He is my son and I am so proud to be his mum. I love him as much as my other children every single day of my life.
We were given a Bear and a bag full of pamphlets and sent on our way. A nurse called around to the house a few days later to check on my milk supply and that was it. We learnt very quickly that we were alone in our grief that no one knew what to say or do. No one I had known had ever lost a baby. I believed it was something that happened in the olden days. It was that Bear that gave me Hope
For the past seven years I have been volunteering with Bears of Hope is an Australian registered not-for-profit organisation managed solely by a dedicated team of bereaved parents to raise funds and offer support to families after pregnancy and infant loss.
Our professionalism and longevity has been built on delivering passionate and active pregnancy & infant loss support, education and awareness, and in strengthening relationships with allied health professionals. Bears Of Hope exists to improve the facilitation of the healing journey for families experiencing a loss. Bears of Hope are affiliated with Hospitals, GP's, Obstetricians and IVF Clinics throughout Australia.
We are holding our ‘Choosing Hope’ walk - a walk of honour and remembrance in support of bereaved families in South East Queensland, on the 14th October 2017 at Broadwater Parklands. This is one of our major fundraisers for the year and is launching Australia wide. We are hoping to reach a target of $20,000 per location this year. We are in need of promotion of the event and the service that we provide to families. I hope that you can see the importance after reading my story. Over the years of supporting families I have heard many different stories, each so precious, each different, each connected as bereaved families.
Funds raised from the Choosing Hope walks will be used to help support families in Australia that are sadly faced with stillbirth or neonatal death each year, plus the many women and families that experience miscarriage. The Australian Bureau of Statistic reported 2,671 still births or neonatal deaths in 2009; this doesn’t include miscarriage statistics as many families suffer this pain in silence. In our lifetime we have seen amazing technical and medical advancements which have enabled diseases to be cured and lives prolonged. The statistic for stillbirth has remained unchanged for the past two decades which reaffirms each and every day to our Bears of Hope Team the importance of our work.