The hardest part was coming back home to a silent house.
A week earlier, Craig and Ainslie Hutchen’s family home in Adelaide had a squealing, active, playful toddler ruling the roost.
Now it was still and empty.
“It hadn’t been silent for two years,” Ainslie told Mamamia. “That will stick in my brain as the most difficult time. We’d had to make hard decisions. But that was the worst moment of the whole week.”
Craig and Ainslie have taken part in Road Raise the past few years. It helps with their grief. Post continues after video.
“I had some morning sickness but that’s about it. My water’s broke on my due date. My labour was fairly easy, I did have to have an emergency c-section. But really, it was a breeze, it all went fine,” Ainslie said.
Henley Hutchens was a go-getter. She loved bikes, being outside, being at the playground – she was fun, cheeky and happy. She was also perfectly healthy.
Then out of the blue, a few weeks after her second birthday, Henley started vomiting. But it didn’t appear to be serious, she even made it to her swimming lesson that night.
Two weeks later on a Friday night, it happened again. She became lethargic and continued vomiting. On the Saturday she improved slightly – enough to squeeze in a trip to the park with dad, but by Sunday she was ill again.
Doctors were adamant she just had a gastro virus, and told the Hutchens to ride it out. Henley’s symptoms continued into Monday and Tuesday.
“Tuesday night we put her to bed, Craig checked on her at about 12 and said ‘nup don’t like the way she’s breathing.’ We went back to emergency and she never regained consciousness,” Ainslie told Mamamia.