It can be helpful for bereaved parents to know they are not alone. Every year, over 106,000 Australian parents experience the death of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn death.
Parents are welcome to submit a memorial which will be placed on the memorial page from your state. To submit a memorial please complete this form
To view memorials in your State follow these links:
Some of our Sands parents have courageously spoken about their experiences, how they grieved and where they sought support. You can view their stories here.
Miscarriage - Daniel's experience
Medically-advised termination - Ali's experience
Death of a Newborn - Nicole's experience
Joan's story of loss in the 70s
Stillbirth - a grandmother's experience
You're Not Alone - Sands Video
Here are just some of the stories of loss and heartbreak, hope and survival that Sands parents have submitted. Please note that these stories will link you to our Blog.
Helping Young Children Through the Death of their Baby Sibling
When my baby girl, Ella, was born sleeping in October 2013, one of my main concerns in those first few hours was how I was going to explain what had happened to my other children, who were five and two years old.
I suspected my two year old would have very little reaction; I was right. She understood “baby gone” but did not have a lot of interest in other detail. She was certainly aware that things weren’t right in ‘’mummy’s world” however and she kept a very close eye on me, not wanting to be far away.
I was not prepared for the reaction from my five year old. I expected her to cry, I expected her to be confused and I expected her to ask lots of questions. I did not expect the anger.
I had promised her a baby sister! She had told her friends at school! Why did I take her sister away?! What did I do wrong! The anger didn’t last thankfully, and the seemingly endless questions followed. I answered those questions with child appropriate language but never gave too much detail. I wanted her to ask more questions if she choose, rather than me overload her with information and detail.
What I have learnt from my experience is the importance of understanding what works for your family. You are the expert in your child, and I think it’s an important time to trust your instinct. During that time, I focussed on keeping myself together while the kids were awake, but once they went to school/daycare/bed, I crumbled. I didn’t want them to see me upset; perhaps in hindsight that would not have been the end of the world that I was imagining.
Now almost four years down the track, my now six year old has no memory of Ella or that period of time. My now nine year old still occasionally asks questions and talks about our baby…. Some of her questions and comments sometimes bring a tear to my eye, but I love that she still has that special place in her heart for Ella.
Rachel Bromley is a Volunteer Parent Supporter with Sands.
Sands information booklet – Caring for Your Other Children provides further useful information and tips on supporting young children through the death of their baby sibling.
Dedicated to my beautiful daughter Adele
Alyce's daughter Adele Maree was stillborn on 8th May 2012. This is their story.
"From the second I heard my daughter’s heartbeat I felt attached to her, my very own soul mate growing inside of me. I would turn to her when I needed guidance, I would rub my belly when I needed comfort and feel the greatest sense of love when she would kick and squirm.
I had my 39-week scan on Thursday 3rd of May 2012.
My midwife used the ultrasound machine so she could get a better idea of my daughter’s position, Even though my baby was being difficult and not yet in the prime position everything indicated that my daughter was a healthy big happy baby.
Work had finished, the washing was all done and her room was ready, all I had to do now was wait.
After another uncomfortable night, my sister woke me up early to go shopping, by the time we arrived home its was lunch time and the thought occurred to me that I hadn’t felt my baby move all morning. After a bath and dinner, I began to panic.... still no movement (very unusual for my daughter considering most nights she kept me awake with giant kicks and rolls). I decided to head to the hospital to put my mind at ease, every part of my heart, head and body was warning me something was not right.
Mother's intuition I guess they call it, but soon my worst fears would be confirmed.
When my midwife looked at me and said, “I’m sorry I cant find her heartbeat” I felt instantly sick. But at the same time I felt validation of what my heart has been trying to tell me all day.
My weeping sister looked at me and just repeated over and over, “Alyce I’m so sorry”
Everything else from that night seems like a blur. I can remember Brod, my daughter’s father arriving, some close friends coming to check on me and then the head obstetrician holding my hand telling me I needed to decide what I was going to do next and how I wanted my baby to be delivered.
I felt the need to talk to my mum about my choices, “Mum they are asking if I want to try and have her naturally or if I want to have surgery.... What should I do...?".
My mother’s voice was clear and calm, “Whatever you feel up to doing babe, it’s your body, your baby and your decision! We will be there for you no matter what you decide”.
We scheduled my daughter in to be born via caesarian section the following morning.
This was a tough decision for me as my entire pregnancy I had made the decision to try and have a natural birth so that my baby and I would be given the best chance at recovering and bonding without intervention. The only thing that made me decide to have surgery was that I knew I wasn’t going to get the outcome I had dreamt of and now I just wanted my daughter in my arms as fast as possible.
As I laid in the hospital bed a million feelings washed over me, the overwhelming feeling of devastation was consuming. I kept a hold of my belly all night, telling my daughter that I love her and that everything was going to be alright.
Before I knew it, there were people in my room and I was being prepped for surgery, which meant it must have been morning, I still can not recall if Brod and I had slept or not.
I did not feel scared; it was more of a strange mix of sadness and excitement.
I knew today was the day I was going to meet my baby.
My surgeon sat at the end of my bed, her normally cold face softened and she said “I have to tell you the risks of the surgery and I have to ask again if you are sure this is what you want to do”. I could see her mouth moving but I couldn’t hear her words... I could only hear my own inner voice telling me I had made the right decision.
As I was wheeled into surgery, I began to cry.
The reality of my situation and the outcome was beginning to sink in.
Brod appeared in blue scrubs and it was the first time I saw the real sadness in his eyes, his mind was starting to process that we were not going to take our baby home.
My midwife was waiting in surgery, the only words I can remember uttering throughout the entire surgery were “Where is the crib for the baby, please don’t forget it, she needs a crib”.
At 12.50pm on the 8th of May 2013, my daughter entered the world.
My midwife scurried past me, in her arms I could see her, this naked, chubby, ruby-red-lipped baby girl. I wanted to scream with joy and yell at the midwife to give her to me!
It felt like an eternity as Brod delicately cut her cord (Brod couldn’t watch me get a blood test without fainting, so even though he sat on a chair he still managed to enjoy the moment). Finally my baby was placed on the bed next to me, and I remember thinking that she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, she looked peacefully asleep and I felt a great sense of calm.
My baby was now with me, where she belongs.
Alyce with baby Adele Maree.
As I lay in recovery, even though I cried, it was the proudest moment of my life
I had this perfect little 7.9 pound, 53cm long baby daughter.
I can remember that the Recovery Nurse realised I was crying, and then looked down at my sleeping baby and said, "I’m so sorry, no body told me. Don’t you worry my child you will have more babies she is just the first of many".
As the doors to my room swung open, I saw my Nan, Mum and sister standing there waiting, their smiles were the first thing I noticed, filled with pride I said this is Adele Maree....
I remember the overwhelming joy that filled my hospital room. Our family gathered around and showed Adele the love and affection that every newborn baby deserves.
My sister bathed Adele with tenderness and extra care, she gently brushed her hair and we choose a special outfit for her to wear. It was a very special time for me, as I knew it would be the only time my daughter would be pampered in this way. Adele stayed with me for almost 2 days and then it was time to say our goodbyes. I cuddled her tight and told her I loved her 100 times.
I kept one of the outfits Adele wore, a lock of her hair and the blankets she was wrapped in. We also did pink ink prints of her hands and feet.
I did not send Adele for an autopsy.
My placenta and her blood were tested for infections or complications and her body was x-rayed.
All the results showed that there was nothing wrong with my daughter and that the best conclusion they could give me was that at some point she might have been deprived of oxygen - even though there were no signs of her cord crushing, it was still was a possibility.
Adele’s funeral was held on the 16th of May.
I visited Adele at the funeral home and read her the cards, poems and letters of love and support that people had sent. She looked so peaceful and every bit the happy baby I had hoped for.
In with her I placed photos, and lock of my own hair (since I had taken a chunk of hers I thought it would only be fair).
We gave her special pieces of jewelry:
My mothers heart pendant.
My sister’s St. Christopher.
Brod’s favourite cuff link and I gave her a charm with two halves, I wear the other half and I have not taken it off since the day of her funeral.
Adele was cremated on the 17th May and the following week she finally got to come home with me.
Before having Adele, I thought celebrating the life of a child who has passed would be too scary and overwhelming to deal with.
To anyone who is faced with this situation, DO NOT FEAR seeing your baby, DO NOT FEAR holding your baby, DO NOT FEAR sharing your baby with your loved ones.
Grief touches every part of your life. It changes easy things into hard things, it makes small things seem huge and it makes each day a fight. The overwhelming yearning for your child never leaves you.
Adele was my first child and even though we did not get the outcome that all parents and children deserve, I do have every hope and desire that my future does include little brothers and sisters for Adele.
I am still a mother, I still grew a healthy baby girl and her life deserves to be honoured, celebrated and acknowledged. "
Proud Mother of Adele Maree
Dani's son Jasper died just ten hours after he was born. This is Dani's story:
"My husband and I had only been trying for two months when we fell pregnant the first time. Everything was fantastic until I woke at 14 weeks with heavy bleeding. After an emergency run to the hospital they could not find anything wrong and sent me home. This became a regular occurance during my pregnancy and they eventually told me I might have a irritable cervix.
Then, at 23 weeks I lost a lot of fluid and I was diagnosed with Pre-ruptured membranes. I was in and out of the hospital for weeks until the 18th of November 2009. I endured needles, magnesium drips and adrenaline shots. I was on constant medication to prevent any kind of illnesses. I had to take my temperature 5 times a day to make sure my temperature remained constant.
On November 18, I woke up in pain. A few hours later the pains were worse then before. We headed towards the hospital once again. I was moved into a birthing suite where the pains got worse and worse. The monitor on my belly was telling us that the baby's heart beat was breaking 200 beats a minute. I was just 26 weeks pregnant.
At about 9am the surgeon came in and told us that the only way Jasper was going to have a chance was if we deliver the baby now via emergency c- section, I was in the surgery by 9.15am and the baby was out and born at 9.31am. To our shock and amazement it was a boy, Jasper Rhys (4 separate ultra techs told us it was a girl). They got him breathing and then they rushed him to the neonatal unit. He had not made a sound. An hour later we went to see him, he was in a incubation chamber, with lots of tubes going in a out of him a a machine making him shake to help him breath. He was red in colour due to the bruising because he refused to come out into the cold.
Later that afternoon around 6pm we left my hospital room to go down and see him again. We were greeted at the door by two solemn nurses and a very serious doctor, basically they told us that he wasn’t taking oxygen any more and his oxygen stats were dropping, and that we had basically had to make a decision, he had a very very slim chance at recovering his oxygen but because he had been with so little for a long period of time and that there is a very high chance he would be severely brain damaged. So basically we could let him live and see if he would pull through or we could pull the plug and let him slip gently away surrounded by those who care for him.
We decided that it was best to just let him go. As my husband went into the waiting room to get his family, it fully dawned on me that we were loosing our son. By the time my husband had gotten back I had organized for Jasper to be baptized and a priest was on his way down. He was baptized still in his incubation chamber, then the rest of the family turned up to say their farewells.
For the first time I was allowed to hold my son. He still had not made a sound. Jasper was taken out of his incubation chamber and laid on a bed with me and my husband. Everyone said their good-byes then as his machine was turned off he went still. The doctor pronounced him at 7.32pm on the 18th of November 2009. We said our final goodbyes a mere 10 hours after first meeting our little man.
This is a poem about how I felt that day:
I loved him dearly
More and more every second he was with me
I held him so gently
Then tears began to pour
Because I knew by the end of the day I wouldn't have him anymore.
In tears I saw him sinking,
I watched him fade away.
He suffered much in silence,
He fought so hard to stay.
He faced his task with courage.
His spirit did not bend, and still he kept on fighting until the very end.
God saw him getting tired.
When a cure was not to be.
So he put his arms around you and whispered "come to me".
So when I saw him sleeping
So peaceful, free from pain.
I could not wish him back to suffer that again.
But I'd done anything to keep him out of harm’s way
But that didn't stop gods will I still lost my baby that day.
In my arms he died
So for weeks I cried.
I couldn’t understand what was on gods mind
How could he do this,
It was so unkind-
To take my baby before his time.
I'd have given him my every breath
I would've gave god every beat from my heart
I'd ripped it right out of my chest
Just so he wouldn't take leave us apart.
After two years we finally got what many don't get... Answers as to what happened which helped us fall pregnant again and we now have a happy and healthy 4-month-old Harrison."
Dani with her second son Harrison.
Matthew's son Jack George Wilkes was born on April 26, 2009. This is Matthew's story:
'Never had I been more excited about anything, than when my wife, Megan told me that she was pregnant for the first time. I was so excited about having a baby and being a father. I thought of all the usual things fathers think of - that our baby will be perfect in every way; how I will always protect him or her from any harm; that I will always make our baby's needs my priority; and so forth.
At the time I was a police officer and thought I was invincible and very strong. I always felt that I could take on the world's problems, and that I could help others through their difficult times. I was not, however, prepared for how to protect myself, Megan or Jack from what was to come. I would have to learn that as I went along.
On the 25th of April, 2009, I finished work and went to Meg's parents' house for dinner where I met up with Megan. Megan's brother, Matt and his girlfriend were also at home. I think back to how we were all laughing and joking without a care in the world. It was such an enjoyable night. Meg was at 37 weeks gestation and, like most pregnant women, was tired, sore and run down. I remember how after dinner she went to her parents' bedroom and lay down on the bed to rest.
A few moments later Meg's mother went to check on her. She came straight back asking for me to go to Megan. I went into the room where Megan was lying on the bed. She said that she had not felt any movements from our baby for a while. I began to talk to my wife's tummy which would usually cause a reaction from our baby, but nothing. We decided that we would go to the hospital to simply check that everything was ok.
When we went to the hospital we were placed in a room where a midwife tried to find the baby's heartbeat through a monitor. When she could not find the heartbeat she asked that we be patient as she would need the obstetrician to come and use the ultrasound. She was incredibly kind and compassionate. I think I knew from that moment something was very wrong; I saw the look in her eyes and how she became tense and guarded when she spoke to us.
After about 15 minutes the doctor came into the room and used the ultrasound machine. To this day, I will never forget the words she used: "Ok, so this is your baby here, and unfortunately the heart is not beating, I am so sorry."
My wife began to cry and as I hugged her I cried too. I remember thinking to myself, "I don't know what I am supposed do." I was told later that I had actually voiced this thought aloud. All I could think was: "why us?"
As a police officer I was used to dealing with people that were heavy drug users, alcoholics and violent people. A majority of them had healthy kids and I thought, "why doesn't this happen to them?" A thought I later became ashamed of, as I would never wish this sadness on anyone.
I remember my mother- and father-in-law arriving at the hospital, both of them so heartbroken. I called my family who live 1000 kilometres away and told them our devastating news. They were also overcome with grief and a feeling of helplessness. It all felt so unreal like I was in a horrible dream and couldn't wake up.
At the time I felt very alone with my family being 1000 kilometres away, but then my mother-in-law hugged me and told she loved me. I remember my father-in-law patting me on the back and making me feel very much a part of the family, something I am sure I always had been but had never noticed until that day. I still feel an enormous sense of gratitude towards Meg's parents. I had immediately become closer to them at that time and I am sure they felt the same.
Being part of such close families, our baby's death not only affected Megan and me, but all of our family and friends too.
The following day my wife was induced and she went into labour to have our baby. During that time my mother and father arrived. I remember my father hugging me and telling me, "Hey mate, Dad's here, Dad's here." I remember thinking that Dad had spoken the exact words that I had needed to hear from him. He was someone that I could lean on, to help me gain the strength that I would need to support Megan through this horrible day. I remember my mother hugging my wife and telling her that she loved her.
Like most young men, I knew that my dad was the best. He didn't let me down this time either. He knew precisely what to say to give me the strength and resolve that I needed to keep me going throughout Megan's labour, for I knew that the despair that I was feeling was also being felt by her. She needed me now more than ever as she gave birth to our darling boy. After a brief hug and kiss, Mum and Dad, together with Megan's dad and her brother were taken from the labour ward to a special private chapel to wait.
I clearly remember trying to reassure Megan with words like, ‘we will get through this together', ‘we will be ok' and ‘we will have more kids'. I remember how strong she was the whole time. She was a rock that was being pounded by the waves, but she knew what she had to do and she did it with dignity and strength for our baby. I was so proud of her. A short while later our baby was born. Jack (after my wife's Papa) George (after my grandfather) Wilkes.
I went to the chapel and told everyone that we had a baby boy and told them his name. We returned to the labour ward where, through our shared tears, we comforted each other as best we could. We spent hours with Jack, just cuddling him and crying. We knew our lives were never going to be the same again. We had Jack baptised and eventually my wife and I decided that we needed to say goodbye and allowed the midwives to take him from the room.
I remember when I got home, going out the back to feed my dog, also named Jack, a gorgeous German Shepherd. I gave him his food and then sat down with him as he ate. Mid-way through his dinner he looked up at me and he knew something was wrong. He walked over to me and put his chin on my lap and then buried his head into my chest. I began to cry and he would not leave my side. I often think it strange how, when the sad memories materialise years later, I still find comfort in the memory of my loyal, old friend.
When I came back inside my wife had gone to bed but our family was still there helping us. I remember getting a cup of tea in the kitchen and Megan's mum coming up to me and asking if I was ok. I replied, "All I want is my son." She hugged me and said, "I know." She was an amazing help to me and Meg at this time as were all of the family.
A few days later we had Jack's funeral and Meg and I were overwhelmed by the number of friends, family and work colleagues who came to show their support. It was a special day for all the wrong reasons. Meg and I cried until we thought there could be no more tears left inside of us, but when I looked around I saw our friends and family crying too. They all shared our pain. I chose the song, "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole as I felt it best represented how I would like to remember my son. Almost four years later that song still makes me cry.
My parents left about a week later to go back to Sydney, as I knew would eventually happen. They had been amazing, Mum's cuddles and Dad's words comforted me so much. I cried as they drove away but knew that they were always only a phone call away and still are.
One friend and work colleague at the time refused to budge from my side and he stayed very close to me the entire time. As police officers we always kept each other safe and I think he took that a step further and kept me safe out of uniform too. I will always be grateful and he knows who he is.
Then suddenly one morning, about five months later, Megan came to me and showed me a pregnancy test. She was pregnant again; it was relief and sadness all at once. I was so scared that this would happen again and so was Meg. I admit that the pregnancy was agony for us both, but we remained positive although we often cried together and regularly shared our fears. We even bought a personal Doppler to listen to the heartbeat of our baby every day. My wife was induced at 37 weeks gestation and we had a beautiful baby girl who we named, Poppy.
I cried so much, but with happy tears this time. My wife was my hero and I will always remember what she said to me, "We did it. Oh my god this one is making noise." My mother-in-law and I hugged each other and we both hugged the midwife, thanking her for helping us on this fantastic day. I remember saying my daughter's name for the first time, ‘Poppy Ann Wilkes'. I hugged her for the first time and there had never been a better feeling in all of my life.
Eighteen months later we had our baby boy, Archie Jack Wilkes. Again, the duration of Meg's pregnancy was a very difficult time for us both. We had our fears, but we were blessed with a beautiful, healthy son. Again, I remember my wife saying Archie's name for the first time and his first hug with me.
I consider Jack as one of my children and even correct people when they say, "You have the cutest TWO kids." I often respond with "Three." Then I'll smile and wink at them. We always include Jack's name on Christmas cards, birthday cards or other gifts and greetings and we always will.
I am now at a very peaceful part of my life. My children are my life and everything I do, I do for them: from recreation to work and everything in-between. My wife and I are more in love now than ever before and I think that is something we can take from our experience with our gorgeous boy, Jack - we have him to thank
It is funny, sometimes the remarks my wife and I make to one another in reference to Jack often bring smiles to our faces now instead of tears. We are able to laugh again and that helps us to be better parents to Jack even though he is not physically with us.
Having Jack has taught me so much about myself. I have learned that my children are paramount in my life. I have learned the importance of supporting your partner and accepting their support back in times of difficulty. But most of all I have learned that as human beings we are resilient, strong and, given the right support, can get though bad times and create good times. I learned that we can fill a hole in our heart with love and with the memory of those that we love. I think that Jack was simply too beautiful for this earth and as a result he is in a better place. Wherever he is, I am sure he is patiently waiting for his mother and I to join him one day, but he will have to wait a little longer yet.'
We conceived our 2nd child on New Years Eve, just months before our 1st was to turn one. I lost them on the 10th of March, at approximately 10wks.
I had been spotting for around a week or so and thought nothing of it, as I'd had 'periods' through much of my first pregnancy.
It grew heavier on March 9 and I became concerned, but did not visit hospital. The next day I began to hemorrhage. I rushed to hospital with my partner. It was hours before I had an answer on what had happened, the whole time losing more blood than I had thought possible. I felt heart broken and scared. My partner was angry- at me, for wrecking his afternoon plans.
I was admitted for the night, he barely looked at me when he left, and offered no comfort.
The next day I was told I could leave after seeing Dr, but my partner arrived before the Dr did and told me I had to leave without seeing them as he wasn't waiting around. I had just enough time for a shower, and broke down crying in the arms of the nurse who assisted me as again my partner offered no comfort, was still angry, and barely spoke.
Since then, the most hes said is 'just get over it'.
I had a heavy bleed resulting in a 3-day hospital stay during my 3rd pregnancy, followed by weeks of uncertainty, but my baby made it :-)
I hadn't told anyone of the 2nd pregnancy and carried the grief alone, which compounded the fear I felt for my 3rd pregnancy.
I still grieve to this day, 2 years later.