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This is My Story - Kristen

This series of personal stories from parents who have suffered pregnancy or baby loss holds space for talking about loss and grief and remembering our babies gone too soon.


In sharing their stories about their pregnancy journeys, feelings and insights, these parents are beginning to exorcise the double demons of silence and ignorance that afflict so many conversations in the space of pregnancy and baby loss.


Parents share their journeys and the lessons they have learned about grief, parenthood, friendship and living after the death of their baby. They tell us how they have changed, who they have become, and what truly matters now.



Angel baby girl Sienna with her parents



Sienna was my first pregnancy - and by all accounts, all the way along it was a ‘perfect’ pregnancy. We were so very excited to become parents, and I loved the feeling of her moving inside of me. I dreamt of a baby girl a number of times throughout the pregnancy and it never once crossed my mind that things could go so horribly wrong.


By all accounts, it was a 'perfect' pregnancy. It never once crossed my mind that things could go so horribly wrong.

I was calm in the lead up to labour and in its early stages. I didn’t have a solid birth plan, as I was happy to be guided by the doctor and midwives to ensure that Sienna would arrive safely. 


Sienna was in a posterier position, so contractions were painful. But I was positive and excited to meet our baby.  It wasn’t until about 18 hours in that we noticed things were going wrong. She was then delivered very quickly. It was horrific. I am still haunted by how she was born and the first agonising 20 minutes after she was here. There was no cry, the room became very busy and there was panic in everyone’s voices. I was terrified.


I am still haunted by how she was born and the first agonising 20 minutes after she was here.

It was on Sienna’s fourth day of life that we were told she would not live. She had been without oxygen for too long during labour and there was too much damage to her brain, kidneys, heart and other organs. 


It was hard to even comprehend what we were being told. I was in a daze and I felt like I was floating above myself, observing what was happening in the tiny little room where doctors break this horrific news to parents. I remember just feeling like I wanted to hold her and that surely this couldn’t actually be what was happening.


I remember just feeling like I wanted to hold her and that surely this couldn’t actually be what was happening.

Sienna Grace was the most beautiful little girl. She had a head full of sparking red hair. She had the softest skin and was so very cute. Holding her gave me so much hope and love and fear and terror all at once. I felt like she radiated this energy that is hard to even put into words. I felt like I knew her and who she would become in the few days that we had together. After she died, my arms physically ached for her for weeks. Sometimes they still do.


After she died, my arms physically ached for her for weeks. Sometimes they still do.

Losing Sienna has changed me in every aspect of my life. Sometimes I feel like a shell of my old self. Not only did I lose my daughter, but a part of myself.


I have struggled with how I relate to others and have anxiety and PTSD. I have not been able to work in the same capacity as I did before I had Sienna, and I am much more reserved. Death, instead of being something I didn’t think of, is a part of my life. My parenting is most likely different than it would have been had Sienna not died. I think I try to be very present for my other children and to not to take our time for granted. But I’m sure I’m also very protective and hold them all very tight. 


My parenting is most likely different than it would have been had Sienna not died. I think I try to be very present for my other children and to not to take our time for granted.

What I wish I had known before we lost Sienna is that baby loss happens, and can happen to anyone. I honestly didn’t even think that things could go so horribly wrong during labour with an otherwise healthy woman, pregnany and baby.


To parents recently bereaved of their baby I would say "I’m so sorry". That it is unbearable. But the light will enter your life again. It may be very slow, and only glimmers at times, but it will appear. Take support and comfort wherever it presents itself for you. This may not always be those closest to you - but lean in and take it.


To parents recently bereaved of their baby I would say "I’m so sorry". That it is unbearable. But the light will enter your life again. Don’t be afraid to look for your baby. Look for signs wherever you feel them. Do anything that brings you some kind of connection or relief.

Don’t be afraid to look for your baby. Look for signs wherever you feel them. Do anything that brings you some kind of connection or relief. Whether that is staring at or swimming in the ocean, praying, whatever speaks to you. Someone said something to me that really resonated: that energy never dies, it just changes form. So your baby isn’t gone, their energy is still here just in a different form.


Also, don’t pay too much attention to others. Most people are so incredibly bad at dealing with grief, and in particular the death of a baby, that they will say stupid and hurtful things. Don’t trivialise your baby's existence and your experiences just to minimise others' awkwardness.


Someone said something to me that really resonated: that energy never dies, it just changes form. So your baby isn’t gone, their energy is still here just in a different form.

Having a Possum Portrait of Sienna means so much to me and our family. We get to have the portrait on display in our home, to commemorate her, to show that we are proud of her and that she is part of our family. It is a way of keeping her memory alive, which is so very important. We are so grateful to have received our Possum Portrait.


As Sienna was our first born, she has always been a part of our subsequent childrens' lives. We have been honest with them all and given them age-appropriate detail about what actually happened. We wrote a story and got some illustrations done, and made a little book that we read from time to time, which we found to be helpful. 


As Sienna was our first born, she has always been a part of our subsequent childrens' lives. We have been honest with them all and given them age-appropriate detail about what actually happened.

Overall however, I think honesty has been really important. As our children get older they have understood more and more and I think it has helped them understand a little more about why I parent them the way I do, too. 


Following my experience of loss, I think I became much more empathetic and in tune with the suffering of others in general. But losing Sienna has made me realise just how random life is, and how little control we have of anything. So it is because of this that I think you really should hold the ones you love tight and express that daily, because you just never know what’s around the corner.




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