Releasing a white balloon with her son’s name on it was tough for Flinders resident Rachel Scifleet.
When Mrs Scifleet gave birth to her son, Oliver, she was only 30 weeks pregnant. And something was wrong.
Oliver was immediately taken to Nepean Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
Mrs Scifleet was shocked to find that her son had life-threatening polycystic kidney disease.
Seventy-four long, hard days and sleepless nights after his birth, little Oliver’s organs shut down, and he lost his battle to survive.
Throughout this time of sadness, fear and uncertainty, one thing kept his mum going – the other son she had given birth to on the day – Oliver’s twin brother, Rory.
‘‘At the end of the day, Oliver is gone, and I have Rory to look after. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my bad days, but I try to deal with it by taking it all in my stride, for Rory,’’ she said.
Mrs Scifleet continues to cope with her loss with grace and courage.
She credits family support as ‘‘a major help in getting [her] through’’.
‘‘We don’t shy away from talking about Oliver – Rory knows he is a twin and he’s always in our family’s thoughts and conversations,’’ she said.
‘‘But letting that balloon go today, that was hard. It was like letting Oliver go all over again.’’
Mrs Scifleet joined fellow mothers and fathers at Stuart Park yesterday for International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Every year in Australia about 44,000 newborn babies require the help of neonatal intensive care units or special care nurseries.
The Miracle Babies Foundation helps families of babies that have been born unwell and have spent time in special care units.
Mrs Scifleet credits the foundation for the invaluable support, confidence and hope it gave her.
Illawarra co-ordinator for Miracle Babies Nurture Group Jenny Lozenkovski started the support group after her son, Jude, was born 13 weeks premature.
‘‘There was no awareness or support offered to me throughout Jude’s birth when I really needed there to be.’’
The Miracle Babies Nurture Group meets fortnightly. Call 1300 773 664 or visit www.miraclebabies.org.au.