by Tiona Hall
At 5am on Tuesday 5th February 2013 I gave birth to a baby boy at home. He was 20 weeks plus 1 day gestational age and weighed a mere 340 grams. I held my son for his whole life: 8 minutes.
I named my son Cash Alan.
I watched Cash as he struggled for life; it is an image that will forever haunt me. I shared his pain and fear but there was nothing I could do to save him.
An autopsy found that my premature labour was caused by an infection of the uterus and placenta due to low levels of amniotic fluid.
Cash was cremated on Thursday February 14th 2013. I keep his ashes with me in a small urn.
I have found some comfort in knowing that all Cash knew of life was my love for him, but I will never truly come to terms with his death.
Prior to losing Cash, I spent over 15 years building a career as a publicist. I loved my field and felt passionate about everything I was doing. That all changed on 5th February 2013. I became someone else; none of the little stuff mattered anymore and my life felt meaningless.
I was at a crossroads, lost in my grief.
A few weeks after losing Cash I packed up and moved 1600 kilometres away for a fresh start. I knew I no longer wanted to be a publicist, the late nights and time away from home kept me away from my other children.
On 24 June 2013 (the date Cash was due to be born) I started a memorial boutique in honour of my son’s brief life; In Loving Memory Of Cash.
The most comforting words when grieving are “You Are Not Alone”. I am able to connect with bereaved parents on a level that not everyone else can. I understand the intense pain and sorrow, the never ending heartbreak, and the heavy burden of empty arms.
Creating memorial keepsakes is a great outlet for my own grief. A piece of my heart and soul goes into every one of my creations. It’s not just about making something special; it’s about honouring a Life.
In 2011, there were 2,562 perinatal deaths registered in Australia (1748 stillbirths and 814 deaths of infants within the first 28 days of life).
|Leading Cause of Death||Number Of Deaths In 2011|
|Influenza and Pneumonia||2492|
*Australian Bureau of Statistics
The impact that perinatal death has on the mother, the father, their family and friends is devastating. It is a common occurrence in Australian society for the majority of those affected to suffer in silence often believing that their grief and trauma is theirs to bear alone.