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This is My Story - Amarzaya

This series of personal stories from parents who have suffered pregnancy or baby loss opens up a space for talking about loss and grief publicly.


In sharing their stories about pregnancy, infertility and the death of their babies, the parents whose personal accounts you can read on The Possum Blog are beginning to exorcise the demon of social taboo afflicting many conversations on perinatal loss. Parents share their journeys and their advice, if any, on living with loss. They share how they have changed, who they have become, and what truly matters now.


Angel baby boy Edward



I found out that I was pregnant with my second child in mid February 2022. It was an unplanned - but once we found out, very much wanted - pregnancy.


This pregnancy was different from my previous one. I was more fatigued, as I was also caring for my one-year-old. We were moving countries and I had a more difficult time physically, experiencing uterus hardening symptoms. I thought these were caused by breastfeeding my first baby and having a lot going on in my life. My ob-gyn didn't suspect that anything might be awry.


I was surprised but immediately happy at the prospect of another baby, even so soon after our first one. I fell in love with the baby growing inside my belly instantly. I was so happy to be pregnant.


I was surprised but immediately happy at the prospect of another baby, even so soon after our first one. I fell in love with the baby growing inside my belly instantly.

But at 28 weeks gestation I suffered a preterm premature rupture of my baby’s amniotic membrane - a pregnancy complication abbreviated as PPROM. I was induced to deliver a preterm baby, and the last 6 hours of my labour were extremely painful. I experienced this pain as being more intense than with my previous, full-term, natural birth. On top of being induced, the epidural did not work correctly and I felt all the pains of labour, which were excruciating.


Once my beloved baby was delivered, the pain went away. However, my placenta would not come out and the doctor had to remove it manually. Again I faced excruciating pain, in spite of the pain medication. I could actually feel the doctor trying to peel the placenta off my uterine wall.


None of the medical staff around me were necessarily helpful to me emotionally.

None of the medical staff around me were necessarily helpful to me emotionally. The anaesthesiologist and the doctor were trying to soothe and help me, but I felt that their efforts were not at all genuine. My ob-gyn in particular was a woman with a very hostile and distant attitude. Neither my spouse nor any family were allowed to be with me, because there was a Covid case among the staff and restrictions had tightened again.


My baby was born silent and had to be resuscitated. He had very low Apgar scores. Then he gave a very faint cry, which was so beautiful to my ears. I was glad he was alive, but because I was in so much pain, I thought that my baby must be in a lot of pain, too. I felt that he was close to death.


The nurse swaddled him and brought him over to me to kiss. Then they rushed him to the NICU. His face was so tiny, but he was so beautiful.


Then he gave a very faint cry, which was so beautiful to my ears. I was glad he was alive. The nurse swaddled him and brought him over to me to kiss.

At 03:20am on the 19th of August of 2022 an urgent call from the NICU told us that my baby had crashed and that they were trying to resuscitate him. They said to come over immediately.


We arrived at 03:44am and the doctor announced that the baby was dead. We were just a couple of minutes late. We never got to hold our baby as he passed from this world.


We were just a couple of minutes late. We never got to hold our baby as he passed from this world. I was in sheer disbelief and could not comprehend what was happening.

I was in sheer disbelief and could not comprehend what was happening. I did not cry out loud, because we were still among other NICU babies and I hadn't fully processed the gravity of the situation.


My sweet baby's name is Edward Amar Armstrong Murray. He has his father's middle name, which was given to my husband to commemorate his great grandfather, who had fought on D-Day during World War 2.


Amar is the first half of my first name and means "peaceful and calm". We found out that Edward shared a birthday with Neil Armstrong, and thus his second middle name came about.


Edward meant everything to us. He looked a lot like his father. A white-looking baby delivered by an Asian woman. We were so certain that he would survive. Probably because my husband was a preemie twin himself, and both twins had thrived.


Edward was an incredible fighter. If one tiny bit of fate had worked in his favour, he would be with us today.

Edward was an incredible fighter. If one tiny bit of fate had worked in his favour, he would be with us today. I think he would have been no less mischievous than his older brother. He has an amazing brother who would have loved having him around and growing up together - fighting, sharing and doing mischief together. I believed he would live and I had so much planned in my head for him. He was wanted so badly, but it wasn't meant to be. Not in this life.


I used to think that I was lucky. I was little over 30. I hadn't experienced any deaths in my circle of family and friends. I had a good career, supportive parents, a great husband, the cutest baby and a second one on the way. I used to think that I had it all, and that no one could be this lucky. And then boom, this happened.


I was as unprepared for something like this as one could possibly be. I lost my footing.

I was as unprepared for something like this as one could possibly be. I lost my footing. I drowned in endless grief, sorrow and darkness. I did not know how I was ever going to get out of bed and live a life, when I had failed so miserably to protect my extremely vulnerable, unborn baby. I was unprepared for the raw emotions of grief, which were too much to bear.


I am an atheist. But I look for an answer in Christianity now. I think religion prospered because people grieved. So many things happen in life that we humans do not understand. Naturally we need an answer, to put our mind at ease.


Now I look at religion differently. While I'm not a devout follower, I am studying this religion to see if I can find any meaning in what has happened to us. Otherwise, I feel like I cannot bear to live with this new information in my life: that my baby died.


I value my family even more intensely now.

I value my family even more intensely now. None of us lives forever and we are so fragile. We have to care for our loved ones while we can. When I plan my life now, I put my family, my child, my angel baby and our health above everything.


I have cut contact with many people whom I used to be close to because they don't know how to interact with me. Through no fault of their own they say the wrong thing or do not say the right thing. I need time to get back on my feet.


While I do that, I cannot handle anything that will be too emotionally taxing for me.


I have cut contact with many people whom I used to be close to because they don't know how to interact with me.

Pregnancy complications like mine don’t have one correct way to handle them. Medically they are handled differently, on case by case basis.


After a membrane rupture, it can take weeks before delivery becomes necessary. If monitored well, a baby can be left to grow for as long as possible in the best place - their mother's womb.


If an infection does occur, the baby must be delivered as soon as possible: perhaps by C-section or, if the mother is already dilating, the baby might be able to be delivered naturally. Sadly, I did the bulk of my research after my baby died, not before, and didn’t know any of this.


Sadly, I did the bulk of my research after my baby died, not before, and didn’t know any of this.

The little bit of research I did scramble to undertake when I was first admitted to hospital led me to believe that initially, my doctors were doing the right thing. As my doctor was a very hostile and distant person, I stopped asking questions and decided to let her do her job. I trusted that she would do the right thing.


But my doctor never informed me or my family about my baby's or even my own condition. She never gave us a suite of potential options, or informed us about their pros and cons.


She made a decision to hold off delivery for five days, even though I later discovered that doctors suspected an infection was underway long before then. This course of action exposed a baby with almost non-existent immunity to life-threatening danger.


As my doctor was a very hostile and distant person, I stopped asking questions. I wish I had made the doctor talk as much as possible about the potential outcomes of different courses of action for my baby.

I blame my doctor for not consulting her course of action with me, and I believe the doctor made the wrong decision. I wish I had continued my research during my bed rest at the hospital and kept asking questions.


I wish I had made the doctor talk as much as possible about the potential outcomes of different courses of action for my baby. I wish that medical staff had prepared me just a tiny little bit that baby loss was a possibility.


I wish that medical staff had prepared me just a tiny little bit that baby loss was a possibility.

I wish I had known to get my baby's hand and foot prints taken, or to save a lock of hair. I wish I had known to take more pictures (which was not allowed in the NICU) when he was still in our arms. I wish I had found the support groups I now know about earlier, so that I could have advocated better for my baby. And once he passed, I would have known better what to do to help me remember him afterwards.


I don't know what I would now say to a recently bereaved parent. I’m still struggling to come to terms with my own baby's loss, which happened six months ago.


I can only feel for them. I cannot think of anything to tell them apart from how very sorry I am for their loss, that their babies mattered and that they will forever be remembered and honoured.


I find a lot of comfort and support in fellow mothers in my PPROM support group.

I find a lot of comfort and support in fellow mothers on the PPROM support group page, which you can find on Facebook. I do online one-on-one therapy sessions with a Mongolian therapist, which I find very helpful.


I still struggle though. I have days when I feel like nothing helps me and ask ‘why on Earth has this happened to my baby?’ Why did no one notice anything out of the ordinary, especially my ob-gyn, when all we did was do our best for him?


I only have one remaining photo of my baby, which was taken side-on and shows all of the tubes and medical tools hooked to Edward’s little body.


I only have one remaining photo of my baby, which was taken side-on and shows all of the tubes and medical tools hooked to Edward’s little body.

I had taken one other photo, showing Edward lying in my arms shortly after he passed; but I lost my phone that same day. When I realised that the photo hadn’t saved to my Cloud, I knew it was lost forever.


Forward six months and my memory of what my baby looked like is fading. We don't have a proper photo of him. Possum Portraits is our only hope for a picture of Edward without his tubes - the way we want to remember him.


Forward six months and my memory of what my baby looked like is fading. Possum Portraits is our only hope for a picture of Edward without his tubes - the way we want to remember him.

In that sense, what they do at Possum Portraits means so, so much to families like ours. They must be living angels. I feel like I found the third group of people who understand my pain and longing, apart from my two support groups.


In Buddhism, it would be called a ‘thousand-fold good deed’. I wish them all good things. The service they provide helps me to remember my sweet darling baby who existed, who lived, who mattered, who was so much wanted and who is forever loved.


Their service helps me tremendously to create, re-arrange and add to my baby's memorial corner. In that sense, Possum Portraits is helping me enormously to cope with the intensity of the loss of my baby.


Their service helps me tremendously to create, re-arrange and add to my baby's memorial corner. In that sense, Possum Portraits is helping me enormously to cope with the intensity of the loss of my baby.

My eldest was 19 months old when our Edward passed. He was small enough that we did not need to have a conversation with him about what had happened. However, as I was admitted to hospital for two weeks, my child developed anxiety in my absence.


Shortly after our baby passed, I had a hard time being a proper mother to my older son. I tried not to cry and be sad constantly. He needed me, but I needed to grieve. The two did not go well together.


Shortly after our baby passed, I had a hard time being a proper mother to my older son. He needed me, but I needed to grieve. The two did not go well together.

So I cared for him with my best self and grieved when he was sleeping or not looking. I found myself in a state that I never thought I would one day be in - which is needing to grieve and needing to be at my best, simultaneously.


My experience of loss has made me realise that doing your research, asking the doctors questions and knowing your patient rights are of paramount importance.


Advocate for your own and your baby's health and don’t trust doctors blindly. These are the things I learned from my own experience of loss, and learned the hard way. Not being as involved in decisions around Edward’s birth as I would have liked to be led to consequences I will have to live with for the rest of my life.


As for the future, my hopes are these: I hope that more research will be done on PPROM complication.

As for the future, my hopes are these: I hope that more research will be done on PPROM complication. I wish that more awareness will be created around this complication, aimed at both medical staff and prospective mothers.


I wish friends and family will become better equipped to support bereaved parents in their inner circle.

I wish more baby loss bereavement services and resources will come to be offered to bereaved parents. And I wish friends and family will become better equipped to support bereaved parents in their inner circle.




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