I’m supporting Red Nose Day because I think every bereaved parent deserves to find their support village, as we did when we found Red Nose after our baby daughter Eve was stillborn on 14 April 2020.
Eve was our little miracle baby after years of fertility treatment. We chose her name because it means ‘Life’. We had a perfect and straight forward pregnancy with no complications or issues, until at 29 weeks I realised I couldn’t feel her moving as much. I tried not to worry about it too much as we’d just had a scan a couple of days earlier and everything had been perfectly fine. A few days passed, until on the Easter Monday we rang our Obstetrician, concerned but not worried. We arranged to go into our local rural hospital to be checked.
Due to COVID restrictions at the time my husband had to wait in the car alone. I was ushered into the birthing suite, but the nurse was struggling to find a strong heartbeat. That’s when I knew something wasn’t right. I could hear my heartbeat, but nothing from my baby. I asked to see Dave and they thankfully allowed him in. After another 45 minutes we finally heard the words ‘I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat’. The room fell silent. I will never forget hearing those words, which shattered our hopes and dreams of having a family into pieces.
We had to drive three hours to Melbourne, where Eve was born at 10:29 the following morning. Dave drove us that whole way, he delivered the news to family and friends, he held me through every moment during labour, he signed all the autopsy papers, and he liaised with the funeral home to take care of Eve. He was the best birthing partner you could ever imagine. Yet, he felt so helpless in such an out-of-control situation. He had to see things that I didn’t, and feel things I didn’t, which was so traumatic for him too.
I am proud to say that from the moment Eve was born she was shown dignity and honour, from a room full of warm hearts and weeping eyes. I thought her birth was going to be the most agonising and traumatic moment of my life, but it was the most beautiful and joyous moment. We spent two days with Eve before we had to say goodbye, which was as excruciating as it sounds, especially since COVID restrictions meant that family couldn’t come to see and hold her. They couldn’t even come to her cremation. This devastated us and our families and friends at what was already a time of unimaginable shock and sorrow.
In the weeks and months after our loss, Red Nose provided us with a safe and supportive environment to talk about Eve and to process our grief and loss. To have somewhere we could cry, we could laugh, or we could sit in silence – where words were not needed to fill the empty space – meant so much.
Finding a community of other parents whose babies had died – sometimes many years before – made us feel less alone, but also so grateful for the things we were able to share with Eve that many parents in the past did not. We got to stay with her in hospital and cremate her with the dignity every baby deserves, and we had access to amazing bereavement services. I really I hope these families find some comfort in knowing that their experiences have helped improve the support available for bereaved families today.
No reason was determined for why Eve died. Dave and I miss her every day. We have created a beautiful resting place for her at our nearby cemetery, which is a place we visit each week with fresh flowers from our garden. We live on 40 acres, and love having the space and the fresh country air. We both enjoy travelling and bushwalking and we had many plans to take Eve on our adventures.
This Red Nose Day we’ll be acknowledging and supporting Red Nose to say thank you for the support we received following the loss of Eve, as well as the support we’re currently being provided as we navigate pregnancy after loss. I hope you'll get involved too.