My husband and I always dreamed of having three children. The journey to create our family was a little more difficult than we anticipated (PCOS and multiple miscarriages). We carefully planned for each pregnancy and of our 6 pregnancies, 2 resulted in beautifully healthy baby girls. We were so incredibly surprised to find out that without any planning, we were pregnant for the seventh time. It felt like an absolute dream to have a surprise pregnancy, and our third baby on the way.
But unfortunately, our little boy’s heart stopped beating early on, and he was born at 19 weeks and 6 days. I was induced in hospital and the birth was very similar to my two other labours. I’m not sure if I should be sharing my story as the doctors have told me that my boy was not, and will never be stillborn. He misses out by 1 day as the official classification of a stillborn in Queensland, which refers only to babies born 20 weeks and over.
It’s been a hard ordeal to overcome. I gave birth to him and held his peaceful body in my arms, and he is for me in every way a stillborn baby. My daughters will grow up knowing they had a little brother, and every night they look up to the sky to wish him goodnight, knowing he’s watching over them. One day we hope our girls will have another little brother or sister to play and grow up with.
As this community knows too well, losing a child is an unbearable pain, but having that child’s birth denied by the medical world is an additional and unnecessary pain. I truly hope that one day the laws surrounding stillbirths change so that even the smallest of our loved ones who are born into this world can have their lives recognised, regardless of their weight or age. To those reading who have lost loved ones, I’m so sorry for your loss too, and thank you for letting me share my story xx
Kate Calvo is mother to baby Raphael.