On Tuesday, a pregnant mother reached out to another woman via Facebook. She was 24 weeks, “alone and scared”, and about to give birth to her stillborn son.
Nene Fulcher, the stranger she had come across on Facebook, knew about loss.
Nene, too, had lost a baby at 24 weeks. After giving birth to her angel, Jacob, she had established a Facebook page in his memory and written a post about his birth, ending it with the line: “I’m here as a resource for you should you need it.”
Little did she know when she wrote it that it would come true.
The South Australian mum was at home at around 10pm when she saw the message pop up on Facebook.
“I remembered how scared I was and that what made my mind up,” Nene told Mamamia.
“If I could ease her mind and fears by answering her questions, then that’s what I had to do.”
She knew she needed to be there. So Nene went to meet a perfect stranger, and in the process changed her life.
“Half an hour later, I was sitting in room 23 at the Gawler hospital. And that’s where I have spent the majority of the last 48 hours,” she recalled in a Facebook post.
“I’ve very quickly gotten to know two very special people – Sandra and Michael along with their two children, Scarlett and tiny baby Vincent.”
Initially, Nene had intended to drop in and answer any questions Sandra might have, but a special bond quickly developed between the two women. Nene stayed for the birth of Vincent.
It was an experience she knew well. Nene had lost her son Jacob at 24 weeks. In a powerful post, she recalled that on the day she found out her baby no longer had a heartbeat she just knew.
“A mother’s instinct is powerful. You should learn to trust it especially when it comes to your unborn child,” she wrote.
When Jacob was born, she says he was perfect — he weighed 620 grams and fit into one of her hands. She asked the midwife if she could hold him. The response: “Of course you can, he’s your son.”
“I didn’t know the process of how hospitals deal with a baby who’s been born at six months gestation and stillborn. But with that one sentence from the midwife I began to sob again as Ben and I studied our newest family member,” Nene recalled.
“He is my son, dammit! I held onto him as long as I could. 14 hours to be exact.”
It was this experience that helped her assist Sandra through 32 hours of labour.
“I think having someone there who knows exactly what’s coming was what she needed from me. And as weird as it sounds, I was quite excited to think that I would be able to use my bad experience to guide someone through theirs,” she said.