Our journey towards parenthood wasn’t as easy as we had anticipated, but in September 2019 we found out we were finally pregnant. We breezed through the 12-week scan and were elated to find out we were having a little girl. We chose the name Eve, which means life.
Our priorities and plans immediately shifted as we visualised welcoming our precious Eve into our world, in June 2020. Christmas was exciting, we announced our pregnancy, and we opened many Christmas gifts from family and friends, from baby books to beautiful hand knitted baby outfits. We celebrated, knowing next Christmas we would be hosting the family Christmas, with Eve being the most anticipated Christmas gift.
All the scans and appointments throughout my pregnancy indicated nothing other than a perfectly healthy baby and mum.
However, at 29 weeks I felt something change, something didn’t feel right with Eve’s normal movements. I didn’t hesitate to call our Obstetrician, who immediately had us come in for monitoring. The healthy sound of Eve’s heartbeat was music to my ears. Seeing and feeling Eve move and kick, washed away my nervous worries. I fell back into my naïve pregnancy bliss bubble.
Several days later, during the Easter break, I noticed little to no movement. I questioned my intuition. My head was telling me I was being an over-reactive, over-sensitive first-time mum. I naively believed this, and we carried on celebrating a COVID safe Easter with our family, via Zoom and facetime. I remember showing off my baby belly to family and Eve’s room, which was being renovated along with the rest of the house. Little did I know what was about to happen.
After a sleepless night, we rang our Obstetrician the morning of Easter Monday. He immediately sent us in for monitoring at our local rural Hospital. I remember saying, “If you don’t hear from us it’s good news, which I’m sure it will be”.
Soon after this phone call, our lives changed forever.
We went in for monitoring expecting to hear Eve’s heartbeat. What we weren’t expecting was to hear the words, “I am sorry there is no heartbeat”. I remember turning to my Husband saying, “What have I done?”
We drove to Melbourne, to where our Hospital and Obstetrician were based. It was a 2.5-hour drive from our home. We don’t remember much of the drive. We both couldn’t talk, and we both couldn’t cry. I just sat and stared at the horizon watching our dreams, our hopes and our future flash by and disappear.
Our daughter, Eve Pasztaleniec was born silent and beautifully still on Tuesday, April 14th 2020 at 10:29am. My immediate need was to hold Eve as close to my heart as possible. I remember just holding and stroking her perfect little face. Everything about Eve was so perfect, her nose, her fingers, her toes, her cheeks and her beautiful little red lips.
I loved watching my Husband hold Eve. I loved how he looked at her, but it was the sadness in his eyes that broke me into a million pieces. This was the moment I let out an aching cry. I could feel my heart sinking into this unknown world of grief as I realised this nightmare was real. Eve was not coming home with us.
Many memories from these few days continue to challenge my thoughts and emotions today. There were the heartbreaking and devastating phone calls to family, none of who could meet Eve due to COVID lockdown. The most devastating moment was saying our final goodbye, and leaving the hospital with broken hearts, and empty arms without our daughter. These, and many other memories continue to bring a heaviness to my heart, tears to my eyes, and a weakness to my knees – every day.
While I continue to process and absorb the heartbreaking memories, we also have so many beautiful memories with Eve, including a wonderful collection of photos from Heartfelt. Eve was surrounded by loving, kind, compassionate and caring people (in person and in spirit), and I cherish and hold onto these beautiful thoughts and memories with me today, and have done so every day since Eve was born.
I feel Eve is present with us in so many ways. She will always be our precious gift, a gift to us that will always keep on giving, by filling our teacup every day with LOVE, STRENGTH, COURAGE and HOPE.
Felicity Pasztaleniec is mother to Eve, born still on April 14, 2020.