Trigger warning: This post contains discussion of stillbirth and may be distressing to some readers.
At 35-weeks-pregnant, Bree Amer Wilkes noticed something about her baby’s movements had changed.
They were far less frequent. Coupled with the fact she’d noticed her bump was hardly growing from 30 weeks on, this had the first-time mum-to-be concerned.
At 37-weeks, she went to her obstetrician, who had a quick check of her unborn son Archie’s heartbeat and sent her home, telling Bree her he was fine.
Archie wasn’t fine. The next morning, 12 April 2015, Bree awoke knowing something was wrong.
“As soon as I opened eyes I just knew something wasn’t right. I literally felt sick. When I moved, I didn’t feel him move,” the Sydney mother said.
“That day I had my baby shower and so I went to this lunch and I was sitting there and the whole time I was worried because I still hadn’t felt him move.”
Later that day, she and her husband Evan went to hospital, where an ultrasound confirmed their son had died.
“It didn’t really hit me that there was a problem until I looked at Bree and she was crying and the midwife was clearly concerned and then all of a sudden I realised there was no heartbeat,” Evan said.
“I think your world just stops turning,” Bree said. “In that moment all these hopes and dreams you had for your future just come crashing down.”
Bree and Evan, who are ambassadors for the Stillbirth Foundation Australia. have shared the story of the tragic loss of their son Archie in a video on the charity’s website which aims to promote awareness this kind of heartbreaking pregnancy loss.
Listen: Sometimes, it’s beneficial to structure our grief. (Post continues…)
Sadly, their story is all too common. Six babies are stillborn in Australia every day.
“The rate of stillbirth hasn’t changed in over two decades because there’s just not enough research and funding that goes to such a big issue, and can affect anyone,” she said.