For Ann-Maree and her husband, it was easy to fall pregnant.
She felt lucky. She wasn’t debilitated by morning sickness, or plagued by health issues.
“We were counting down,” Ann-Maree told Mamamia, “and using that app that shows you what size vegetable your baby compares to each week.”
Despite what happened next, you could still hear the smile in her voice. Pregnancy had been blissful.
Until something changed.
“One day I had reduced movement,” she said, “and I thought ‘oh the baby is getting bigger and running out of room in there'”.
She since found out that’s a myth.
Ann-Maree went to bed that night, and when she woke up the next morning, still with no movement, she decided to go to the GP.
It was only when the GP directed her to the hospital that she thought something might be terribly wrong.
At 32 years old, and six and a half months pregnant, Ann-Maree heard the words that brought with them a level of heartbreak she did not think was possible.
LISTEN: Bec Sparrow talks about surviving and thriving after loss. Post continues below.
“We’re not able to find a foetal heart beat.”
The next day, at 2:18pm on the 31st of January 2015, Ann-Maree gave birth to Xavier Rocket Imrie. He weighed 1.14 kilograms and was 40 centimetres in length.
He was stillborn.
Retelling the story three years later, Ann-Maree took a moment to cry.
“I remember thinking, I’ve experienced heartbreak before… well I thought I had… and I thought ‘wow. This is true heartbreak’. I just felt shattered from the inside out. Everything hurt,” she said.
“I felt like what it might feel like for someone who loses a limb. It was as though a part of me was physically missing. I could feel the weight of Xavier in my arms, not there,” she explained.
And for a while, Ann-Maree did not know what to do with that weight. She desperately wanted to maintain a relationship with the baby she had lost, even if she couldn’t hold him.
So she wrote a book.