Thursday, 30 July 2015

Angels and Rainbows

In this blog, Shanelle shares her innermost thoughts about her subsequent pregnancy.

      "You feel so much fear due to the loss of your previous baby that 
       it’s  hard to enjoy this pregnancy even though you know it’s completely 

It’s always the same.
It may have a different setting, different people and be a different situation but the outcome is always the same.
Something’s wrong. You lost it. It’s too early. Stillbirth. 

No one mentions the irrational fears, the months of nightmares, the crippling fear you experience every time you close your eyes to sleep nor do they mention the guilt for the happiness and joy you feel or the torture you impose on yourself during waking hours when you fall in the “in between.”

The In between... Where you are trying to enjoy your rainbow but are still grieving your angel. 
And unless you have experienced it for yourself it’s hard to understand the internal conflict it puts you through…
The joy of finding out your expecting and the grief you feel as its only days before your angel was due.
Or how on Mother’s day you cry because right now you’re supposed to have your little bundle in your arms yet feel guilty because you’re appreciating (or aren’t) the little kicks and prods you can feel in your womb.
The excitement of looking forward to meeting all the little milestones along the way, the first scan, the second trimester, baby shopping, the first kick and finding out the gender, baby names… while you also count down all the little milestones fear induces making it past your miscarriage date, the first 12 weeks, the scan for a viable heartbeat, the lookout for kicks and movement to know they’re still okay, 24 weeks viability!!

So many emotions, you feel like you’re on a roller coaster, you can go from the highest highs to the lowest lows and you can forget that you aren’t going through it alone and while you could be excited about your scans, your partner doesn’t want to come because he doesn’t want to get attached to this one too or the devastating reality when you’re son asks “is this one going to die too?”

You end up falling into the habit of referring to baby in “ifs” if she makes it, if she survives, if she is born instead of when… when... when…

You feel so much fear due to the loss of your previous baby that it’s hard to enjoy this pregnancy even though you know it’s completely different. You feel guilty when you enjoy it and you feel guilty when you don’t. You feel isolated and stuck because no one tells you it’s okay to grieve for the baby you lost while still enjoying all the miracles this new baby brings. People seem to think that since you’re expecting that the previous baby doesn’t matter and to stop overreacting, stressing as all is well with the world yet they fail to realise that the intense fear of losing this one too is only a natural reaction to the grief of your last and the hopes of your future.

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Shanelle Kay

Shanelle is a trainee counsellor and photographer based in Brisbane.
She believes the best sound in the world is her son's laughter and how he sings to himself when he wakes from a nap. She is also a proud mummy to an angel baby and through writing and various arts she is sharing her experience and finding herself, all over again. In her own words...

"I am all and I am nothing, but most importantly I am exactly who I need to be in this moment... and that is sometimes the hardest thing we have to accept, openly and honestly.. Ourselves"

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Oscar's Story

Tennille is a newcomer to the Sands blog.  She recounts the day she found out precious Oscar had died and those following.

        'At times I find myself using ”I”, then “We” when I write about Oscar, it is 
        difficult to disentangle myself from my feelings, our feelings, that of my 
        husband and I and also in a way the grief our whole family felt.' 
   'Together we will always remember Oscar.'
I was eagerly counting down the final days left of work before I could ‘relax’ and prepare for the birth of our first child. I was 33 weeks and 2 days when our whole life changed forever. My obstetrician said “I’m sorry there is no foetal heartbeat”. From that point on my life became utter chaos yet my memory for the next few days remains crystal clear. At times I find myself using ”I”, then “We” when I write about Oscar, it is difficult to disentangle myself from my feelings, our feelings, that of my husband and I and also in a way the grief our whole family felt. Together we will always remember Oscar.
Wednesday night, that fateful night, after seeing the obstetrician we were advised to go home and go into hospital the next day. Each midwife we met over the coming days was lovely. Aside from the necessary medical needs each offered support in their own way, often sharing a tear with us. 

After some encouraging, the delivery itself went relatively smoothly and Oscar Mark was born at 6:55am Saturday 11th November 2011. He was perfect in every way. Having several days to prepare for Oscars birth in hindsight was helpful as it allowed us to gather our thoughts and make some decisions about how we wanted to celebrate his short life once he was born. I am eternally grateful to our photographer, who arrived shortly after Oscar’s birth to photograph our family. At first I was unsure about this but once I saw my baby I wanted to remember every second, to be able to look back and see so many emotions in these pictures. Each time I look at them I see new emotions, notice new details. In the early days after coming home from hospital I would often become panicked, especially in the early hours of the morning that I would somehow forget Oscar, that I couldn't see his face and these photos were a great way to reassure myself.

We had two days with Oscar. To describe them as happy is not accurate but to describe them as sad is also not a true reflection of the time. Perhaps at peace, calm, still would be more fitting. We were able to finally meet our son, introduce him to our families, hold him like all proud parents. We had Oscar blessed, we bathed and dressed him, we had time alone with him. We looked at, stroked and kissed his tiny hands, his lips, the fine hair on his head.

At times I thought that I could keep the door of our room closed forever, the three of us could live our life from there, and Oscar would be with us, forever. What I had not yet understood was that my son would be with me, in my memories, in my soul, forever.
I received excellent advise from the pastoral healthcare team at the hospital and that was “You will never get this time back again so take your time, don’t rush and remember, you can have whatever you want”. While I definitely wasn’t thinking clearly, taking my time over two days to touch, wash, hold and kiss my baby have allowed these memories to etch into my heart, memories which need to carry me through a lifetime.

When the time came to say goodbye to my baby’s body, I wrapped him in a soft bassinet and carried him proudly from the hospital to the undertaker’s car, gave him one final kiss and went home with empty arms. When I entered hospital three days earlier I thought this would be the end of my baby’s story, little did I know it was only the beginning of creating a new life, and a new story for myself. That of a mum, a mum who has lost a baby and who desperately wanted to have another baby.

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Tennille Welsh
Tennille Welsh is a mother to three beautiful boys. Mark (her husband) and Tennille eperiencesd the stillbirth of their first son Oscar, at 33 weeks gestation in 2011, cause unknown. Tennille lives on a hobby farm with her family and enjoys horse riding, swimming and playing with her children.

Tennille is a teacher, specialising in Japanese, Indonesian and is also a teacher of the Deaf. Since having Oscar Tennille has also become a civil celebrant. She has officiated at several weddings and is considering turning her hand at funerals. Tennille feels giving families the gift of a personalised, and heartfelt farewell, especially for a child is so important and can have a huge impact on the grieving process. Before having Oscar, stillbirth was something Tennille knew nothing about and raising awareness by openly discussing all three of her children has been a passion for her.

Thursday, 2 July 2015


Jess writes again for us and here she shares her thoughts around grief and time.

    'We’ll never forget Emma, we’ll never stop talking about her, never 
     stop loving her and we’ll never leave her out of our family head count.'

“Give it some time.” A phrase that’s commonly coined in times of loss. I've heard this a lot, in fact I’ve also used this a lot when comforting bereaved friends. Hearing these words when your heart is so broken can make you feel so hopeless and discouraged. At the time you can’t conceive of a future beyond the pain of that moment. The truth is though, it’s undoubtedly true.

February this year marked 10 years since I lost my dear Mum after a long battle with cancer. It also marked 6 months since we lost our little girl. Both ‘milestones’ of sorts, 10 years on I do feel peaceful about losing my Ma but it took TIME.

In the early days after losing Emma I remember thinking ‘when will things be funny again, when will we find peace?’ I’m a joker, I love to laugh but suddenly to laugh meant to betray my daughter's memory. To smile would mean I ‘didn't care’ that she was gone! Peace I think is still some time away for me but the laughter did return. Now, 8 months later I spend many happy days with my husband and our ridiculously hilarious 2 year old son. I can now allow myself to feel genuinely grateful for what I DO have without chastising myself for momentarily forgetting my pain. Not forgetting, that’s not right, just being ok with it.

A few months ago I was struggling with the presence of our very empty nursery and my very wise friend who sadly lost her little girl nearly 4 years ago said to me “You can never replace them but their presence in your family is a remarkable one, it becomes one even deeper than a full cot. Instead it fills your heart, your spirit and your soul. It becomes the reason to strive for your children and your family. It becomes a gentle way of living, breathing and appreciating every day. It becomes you.”

We’ll never forget Emma, we’ll never stop talking about her, never stop loving her and we’ll never leave her out of our family head count.

I know that she’s happy and at peace in the arms of her Grandma. I picture them together, 2 peas in a pod, smiling, playing, happy!

But these feelings and emotions take time, it’s something that we can’t control but we cannot allow to control us.

Time will pass, wounds will heal and my heart will mend…or so I hear.


If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637 

Jessica Lawless
Jessica lives in Victoria. She is the wife to Shane and a Mum to 2 beautiful kids - Adam, nearly 2 and Emma, born sleeping August 2014.
I like to practice yoga, cook, read and spend all my time being a SAHM with Adam. My family and friends are my whole world, there is barley a distinction between the two.
I hope by being so open and honest about my experiences I can help raise awareness and provide support for others.