This post deals with stillbirth and may be difficult or upsetting if you have experienced pregnancy loss.
In 2012 Alex and Ben Tighe decided to try for a third child.
They had always wanted three children and after two successful pregnancies and a delightful daughter and son they were ready. But in 2008 their son, Jack was stillborn.
“Nothing prepares you for having a baby and nothing prepares you for losing a baby” Alex said.
Devastated and broken, Alex and Ben worked through their grief. After much heartache they bravely decided to try again.
Alex Tighe. Image supplied.
“There is always going to be that missing piece,” Alex says of their son Jack. “But we wanted to complete our family.”
One year later Alex was pregnant.
“We were told everything would be fine because there was no reason for what happened.
You’ll be right.
And then we lost the next one.”
They tried again.
Again Alex, a lawyer from Melbourne, miscarried.
Dr Walker and a member of her team at Mercy Perinatal. Image supplied.
The shattered couple were referred to Dr Sue Walker, from Mercy Perinatal.
Mercy Perinatal, at the Mercy Hospital in Melbourne, manages women with high-risk pregnancies.
Under the care of Dr Walker Alex fell pregnant.
She miscarried again. The couple were told there were no answers, no explanation.
“And then,” Alex says, “we were pregnant again and we were terrified, but we had Sue, helping us, keeping us strong.”
Dr Walker says that for much of the time she was anxious too.
“There were quite a few times I was anxious about the pregnancy as I know Alex was. Sometimes you are outside the safe fence of evidence based medicine and you have to make the best decisions you can with the information you have got at the time.”
It was a journey into the unknown.
"It was a journey into the unknown." Image supplied.
Alex says there were many times it felt like it was too hard.
“Losing Jack was the worst by far but three subsequent miscarriages were very tough and each one hits you that little bit harder and it is that harder to get back up and say I will keep going.”
What she had by her side was Dr Walker.
“One of the un-estimated things we do is say we will hold a candle in the dark and we will journey with you to get to the other end," says Dr Walker.
Again Alex felt she was going be hit with a tragedy.
This week, as part of Never Forgotten: Mamamia's Pregnancy Loss Awareness Week we're remembering the babies we've lost. Post continues below.
With a shadow of that anxiety crossing her face again she tells of the time she went in for a scan. There she explains, on the screen was the flicker of her baby’s heartbeat.
“Next to that was a blood clot that was 20 times bigger.”
She says that Dr Walker told Alex and Ben that one of two things could happen and they would see at the next few scans.
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Either the heartbeat would go or the blood clot.
They then realised that was what had happened with the last three pregnancies they had lost. But this time, as she says a “miracle” occurred. The blood clot got smaller and their tiny blessing grew.
Alex's third baby, Isabelle was born safe and well. Image supplied.
Their tiny blessing is a now a smiling baby girl with a head of hair that makes you want to run your fingers through it.
Many, many women face a journey similar to Alex, but not all have a doctor like Sue Walker by their side.
Dr Walker with Isabelle. Image supplied.
Mercy Perinatal want to change that. They want work to fast-track pioneering advances in care to combat stillbirth, preeclampsia, ectopic pregnancies and maternal mental illness.
And we can all help. Watch this video. Share this video. Donate.
If you need help or you'd like to talk to someone about miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn loss, SANDS Australia have a 24 Hour Hotline. 1300 072 637. Or you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.