A Melbourne couple have revealed the heartbreak of losing nine babies, all stillborn or miscarried.
Samantha Rowe and her partner Paul Lyons have detailed their devastation after their latest baby Noah was stillborn on October 6.
It follows a long path of grief for the couple – who first tried for a baby in 2014, Ms Rowe said on her GoFundMe page.
She suffered her first loss on Valentine’s Day, 2014 when her son Cooper was stillborn at 22 weeks.
Ms Rowe was left “gravely ill” due to infection and spent weeks in the ICU fighting for her life, but managed to pull through.
The couple kept trying and Ms Rowe fell pregnant again, only to be hit with more tragedy in January 2015.
Their son Hudson was stillborn just before 20 weeks, a technical miscarriage she said.
The same pattern occurred in following years – in August 2015 identical twins Emma and Zoe “tangled their cords and died”.
Between 2016 and 2017 there were pregnancies, which lasted no more than eight weeks.
This year they were overjoyed after finding out Ms Rowe was pregnant with Noah, despite doctors telling the couple it was “extremely high risk”.
“We felt it was such a real blessing,” Ms Rowe wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“We had another chance at becoming parents to a living child.”
The ninth pregnancy took its toll on Ms Rowe’s body with infections and placental bleeds.
“The specialists knew it was going to be tough and as such told us 24 weeks was the goal,” Ms Rowe wrote.
“We decided to be optimistic and started to prepare for our son. We bought our first ever pram, cot, car seat, change table, bookshelf and lots of premature clothes and nappies. We knew we’d be spending months in NICU, but didn’t care.”
But sadly, Noah didn’t make it, and again the failed pregnancy took its toll on Ms Rowe’s body.
She has been recovering in hospital and the couple are hoping to not only raise money to support them while Ms Rowe takes time off from work, but also to pay for Noah’s funeral.
Despite the ongoing sorrow and distress the couple have been through over the years, they haven’t given up on having a child.
But for now, Ms Rowe needs to “rest and heal”.
“We don’t know what the future holds for us now which is terrifying,” Ms Rowe wrote.
“It is entirely possible that our window of opportunity to get pregnant may have closed.
“We pray that this is not the case.”
International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
Ms Rowe set up the GoFundMe page just before International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which was on Monday.
She’s also made it her mission to raise awareness of the issue and dedicated it in loving memory to the children she never had.
Memories of an Angel was started in 2016 by Ms Rowe and her partner.
“Talk about your babies, wear the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day ribbon with pride and honour their memory of your babies,” Ms Rowe wrote on the site.
According to Australian miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death charity, Sands, an estimated one in four pregnancies end in miscarriages in Australia each year.
An estimated 3000 babies are either stillborn or die in the first 28 days after birth.
“There are so many Australian families that are affected by the death of a baby,” Sands Australia’s Lyndy Bowden said.
“International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day gives them an ‘official’ opportunity to acknowledge their precious babies. It is also a chance to raise awareness of the emotional impact of pregnancy and infant loss.”