real life

A pregnant stranger reached out to Nene on Facebook. Half an hour later, she was by her side in hospital.

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.

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Nene admitted it was frightening.

“I’m not going to lie. I was shitting my pants. I was nervous, anxious and wondered if being in there was going to dig up memories I’d subconsciously buried,” Nene wrote.

“That wasn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong… I cried. But I wasn’t crying for myself or Jacob. I was crying for Sandra and Michael and their precious baby.

“Vincent made a spectacular entrance (after torturing mum for 32 hours of contractions). Three massive contractions and and exploding amniotic sac and he was born in the bathroom!”

Nene’s biggest piece of advice for Sandra, she said, was to collect as many memories as possible.

“Use every opportunity to preserve his memory as it will bring the most comfort when the bad days outnumber the good,” she wrote.

“I can’t describe the feeling of holding an angel from a woman I barely knew. I hold so much love for Vincent,” Nene told Mamamia.

Nene and her family. Image supplied.

“One of the hardest things I've battled with personally is pinpointing a 'reason' for Jacob's existence," she wrote on Facebook.

“Creating his meaning of life has been my priority. I guess in a way I feel like I need to justify my intense grief for him. Why is he so special? This is why.”

“Who would have answered Sandra's intimate questions and put her mind at ease if Jacob didn't die? Would I do it again for another complete stranger? Yes. Was it difficult for me? Yes! But little Vincent has probably changed my life for the better.”

She addressed part of her post to Sandra, saying that it had been “barely a day” Vincent had been on earth and “he's already altered the direction of my life.”

“You are so much stronger than you think. You may not feel like it right now but what I have seen over the past 2 days is nothing short of amazing," Nene continued.

“The week ahead of you is going to be long and tough. I will most definitely be there every step of the way if either of you need me.”

Nene says little Vincent has probably changed my life for the better.” Image supplied.

“THANK YOU for letting me be there to witness the birth of an angel from a different position. You've helped me and you've given me renewed strength to help others.

"You've most definitely started the foundations to create a lasting legacy for baby Vincent.”

Sadness, laughter, friendship and meaning. That’s what these little boys have brought to the world.

If this has post 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.

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