baby

"We were a family of four for 10 precious days. They will always be the best days of my life."

Content warning: This post deals with infant loss and may be triggering for some readers. If this post raises any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637.

I have never been the ambitious type. I never really set any goals for my life or had any clue what I wanted to do. I was always happy to just go with the flow, trying to enjoy whatever life threw at me. 

A week after my 21st birthday, I said "I do" and married my wonderful husband Shaun. That was six years ago now. 

Watch: A tribute to the babies we've lost. Post continues below.


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When I was 22 I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Peggy. I absolutely loved motherhood. I loved just being at home with her, and not having anywhere else to be. 

I started up a little business when she was six months old called Peggy Sue Soaps. My day consisted of playing with Peggy, and then making soap, which I sold on the side as a bit of a hobby. 

Life was a dream. I just remember feeling so happy and content with how everything had panned out. 

A couple of years passed and we decided we would love to have another child. It was the second week of September 2018, when I found out I was pregnant with our second baby. We were of course completely over the moon. 

Morning sickness hit me like a tonne of bricks, which got so severe that I needed to be medicated. Three months of hanging over a toilet bowl sucked, but Peggy looked after me, bringing me water and rubbing me on the back with her sweet little hand. I tried so hard to never complain, because I was just so thankful to be pregnant, and I knew it was always going to be worth it in the end. 

Image: Supplied.

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As morning sickness wore off, our 20 week scan quickly rolled around. It was the last week of January 2019, when we went along to the scan to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. 

We brought Peggy along with us and we could barely contain our excitement. And just like that, we found out it was a boy! Our first son, and Peggy’s first sibling.

Again I just felt this overwhelming thankfulness for my life and for my precious son growing inside me. I didn't think life could get much better than this. The doctor continued on with the scan where he showed us his teeny tiny hands and feet, his head and his spine.

He then went on to examine his inside organs. He looked at the heart, but couldn't quite see it properly, so he moved on to everything else and came back to the heart at the end. 

After a few minutes of trying to find the details of the heart he was looking for, he decided to get one of his colleagues to see if they could get a better picture of it. This went on for another 10 minutes.

He then looked at me and told me he just needed to make a quick phone call. This is the point when my heart began to sink. I tried not to overthink it too much, but after a few minutes had passed, he came back into the room and sat down with a pretty serious look on his face. That’s when I knew things were not ok.

He wasn't able to give us much detail, but he told us he was really struggling to see the heart, and was giving us a referral to go and see a heart specialist who would be able to give us more information. 

I left the appointment that day feeling numb. The joy of knowing I was having a little boy was now completely overshadowed by the unknown of this next appointment. We ended up seeing two heart specialists over the following weeks. They were two of the best heart doctors in Australia, both of whom came to the same conclusion: we were told that our little boy's heart hadn't grown properly, and that he had no hope of survival after birth. No hope.

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Not even a one per cent chance that we could cling to. Just like that. This baby that was moving around so happily inside me was destined to die shortly after birth. 

How could this be happening? I never knew grief like this existed. With broken hearts, Shaun and I decided we would call our sweet little boy ‘Tobias’, meaning God is good. 

We knew his life was still incredibly precious and that God was still knitting him together in my womb. We knew that we would carry him to term, and shower him with love as long as we possibly could. 

The rest of my pregnancy was so incredibly painful. Each morning little Toby would wake me up with his morning acrobatics, which would make me both smile and cry. I had no idea how much time I was going to have with him, so I treasured up every moment I could. Peggy had never seen me cry before, and all of a sudden it’s all she saw me doing.

Once again she looked after me, giving me endless amounts of cuddles and tissues, rubbing her sweet little hand on my back. At two years old, all she understood was that her little brother was sick, and that we could only keep him for a little while before he had to go to heaven.

I was so scared of labour. All I wanted was to keep him safe in my tummy forever. I hated that as soon as I gave birth to him the countdown was on. Just so much heartache. 

Little Tobias was born 10 days early on June 7, 2019. It was the best night of my life. I had my husband Shaun, my three sisters, my mum, and my best friend all there with me. 

The birth of Tobias was nothing short of God's grace. It was so calm and peaceful, and as soon as he came out the whole room was instantly filled with tears of joy. He was perfect. He looked just like me as a baby. You would have never known that half of his heart was missing, he just looked so beautiful and so healthy. 

We brought him home five hours later to meet Peggy. Although I had no idea how long I had with him, no one could wipe the smile off my face. 

I got to breastfeed him, bathe with him, take him out to the shops, out for dinner, we took him to church, and we were able to enjoy being a family of four for 10 precious days. They will always be the 10 best days of my life.

June 17 was his official due date, and it was in the early hours of that morning that he passed away in my arms. Watching his sweet little face look up at me as he took his last breath is an image that has broken my heart into a million tiny pieces. That awful dreaded day has changed me forever. Grief has become my new normal.

Life as I knew it was over, yet somehow I had to keep living. The days and weeks that followed are blurry to me. All I remember is being curled up in bed with the tiny clothes that he wore trying to smell him, imagining he was still here. 

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Our family received so much love and support through this time. But it wasn't until the flowers stopped that it truly sunk in. My little boy was gone.

This is it, just me, Shaun and Peggy once again. No baby in my tummy. No baby in my arms. Just a big hole in my chest. But the world didn't stop turning, and so I had to somehow pick myself up and carry on with life. 

When going through tragedy like this, you can't help but learn and reflect on life more than you ever would otherwise. I learnt through the experience that life is so very fleeting. I will never again hold material things as important, because I know it can all be taken away in an instant. 

One of the few things that helped me cope day to day was incorporating a strong self care routine. Through my business Peggy Sue, I released an organic skincare range which was pretty much designed for my own needs. My skin became really sensitive and troublesome. 

Washing my face and caring for my skin was a form of therapy for me. And I now use this business as a way to help others care for themselves, and enjoy regular moments of self care, through all the ups and downs of life. 

I look forward to the day when I will be reunited with Tobias. Until then I strive to unveil the value of life. To help people feel like they matter, because they do. I don’t want to live for myself or my own happiness anymore because I know that happiness isn’t everything.

And as long as I’m living in a world without Toby, any happiness I feel will be tainted by grief. Instead I will try and live the rest of my days showing sacrificial love. Showing kindness when it hurts, and trying to love others even when they don’t deserve it, because this is the love I have received, and it’s the kind of love that will change a person forever. My sweet boy has left me completely broken, but not without hope. And I would much prefer to have hope over happiness. 

Loving Tobias for 10 precious days is something I will both treasure and grieve over for the rest of my life. It hurts, but it will always be worth it.

Until we meet again my sweet boy. I will always love and remember you. 

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

You can download Never Forgotten: Stories of love, loss and healing after miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death for free here.

Join the community of women, men and families who have lost a child in our private Facebook group.

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