An Australian father-of-three was forced to make a heartbreaking phone call across the world to let his children know their mother was dying.
John Shaw and his pregnant partner Natasha Angie were on the final leg of a US holiday when she was struck down by unexpected pregnancy complications, which eventually claimed her life and the life of their unborn baby.
As Angie, affectionately named “Minnie”, lay dying, Shaw was forced to phone their children, Kyeesha, ten, Josiah, eight, and Jacquon, three, and tell them that mum wasn’t coming home.
Natasha with two of her children. Source: Facebook
"I couldn't explain it... I said to the family: 'It's too late, there’s nothing we can do'," Shaw told the Advertiser.
"They [the children] were screaming at their mother to come home and said that I couldn't come home without her.
"They [the doctors] gave me a few hours to be with her and so everyone could say their last goodbyes.
"I told her that I loved her and I would be there for the kids."
Shaw talks to Seven News about his devastating loss (post continues after video):
The couple had been planning the three-week holiday for two years and Angie, who was 26 weeks pregnant, had been given the all clear by her doctors.
In the last week of the trip, she began suffering from migraines and abdominal pain, symptoms of a rare form of preeclampsia known as HELLP syndrome.
"She was tired from flying and walking around and carrying a baby," Shaw said.
"On Thursday she had a headache but we didn't think anything of it because she suffered from migraines.
"Then on Friday she felt nauseous and her hands and feet had swelled but after some painkillers she said she felt fine."
By the time they reached the hospital it was too late — the couple's baby died and doctors were unable to save Angie after her kidneys shut down.
"I was just telling her I loved her and grabbed her hand," Shaw said.
"I said: 'It's going to be OK, just be strong'.
"She said ‘I love you’ and that was the last time she spoke to anyone."
Shaw, who returned to Australia on Friday, said he's been overwhelmed by the public support he's received so far, including an offer to fly home his wife and baby's bodies for free.
A GoFundMe page has also raised more the $25,000 for the family and funeral is being organised at Angie's birthplace at Point Pearce on the Yorke Peninsula.
Please note that keeping in mind the cultural sensitivity of images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the image of John and his stillborn son was released with the family’s permission.