Content warning: This article features sensitive details regarding infant loss that may be triggering for parents and families who have lost children.
Today we share heartfelt stories from two of our Community Support Officers who each experienced the great loss of an infant child in their families. Both individuals received peer-to-peer support from local volunteer-based organisation Sands during this difficult time.
Other staff members were deeply touched by these stories and decided to raise funds to support Sands with their important work.
Alwen Jones, Sinead Murphy, and Lisa James, will be taking the leap from the sky at Rottnest on Saturday 23rd at 11.30am. We encourage you to come along to support them and donate to this important cause. Click here to find more details and donate.
The parents of Asher and Quinn share with us their stories below.
Asher Jay Walker, was a very sweet and not so tiny newborn baby boy, who measured 4.9kgs at birth.
Asher unfortunately sustained traumatic injuries during his birth and delivery due to shoulder dystocia, resulting in his passing. He was brought back to life, for one week of love, cuddles and touched many hearts before growing his angel wings and heading home to heaven.
It was a rollercoaster of a week filled with the purest love, joy and extreme heartache. We had to navigate so many feelings as each test and scan confirmed our worst fears as parents. That we would lose our son.
Asher passed away peacefully in his daddy’s arms after hours of cuddles with mummy, holding them both tight in the NICU. The ride home with an empty car capsule. The house ready for a newborn and the parents now without a child on earth but forever in heaven. What were we supposed to do?
Feeling very confused and alone we picked up the phone and called for help.
SANDS supported us in this time by listening to us pour our hearts out at any hour of the day. Their staff understand grief comes in waves and that every story is unique. They’ve truly helped in more ways than words can express in creating such a safe place for us to share our story and to feel heard.
Many of them understand themselves what grieving a child feels like as the people on the other end of the phone are parents who have lost children too.
Asher may have only been here for a short time but has touched so many lives, his story is creating a stir in the public health system for safer birth outcomes and his story continues to resonate with families who’ve also lost children and with children still here living with disabilities due to birth trauma as a result of shoulder dystocia.
If you’d like to follow our family’s journey, parents Immi and Brandon Walker are navigating and sharing their grief journey on social media. You can follow at @immi_walker_
Thank you SANDS for helping us stay positive in this tragic time and to all our loved ones for your endless love and support.
Quinn was our tiny, 1 pound 6 oz baby boy who was born prematurely due to ruptured membranes. Quinn came into the world very quickly by emergency caesarean section and was resuscitated at birth. He was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where for 7 days he was stable and worked on by some of the best health staff in the world.
Unfortunately our tiny Quinn caught a nasty infection in hospital that attacked his little brain and caused his internal organs to start shutting down. Quinn fought with all his fight to push through but as parents we knew this little baby didn’t deserve pain any longer. Just before 3am, whilst he was asleep on his daddy’s chest, his little heart stopped beating. In Quinn’s 7 days on earth he was never left alone, and all he knew was love.
Since Quinn, as parents we are making a mark on stopping the silence on the taboo subject of neonatal death, and that a life, no matter how small, matters. Quinn’s 7 days on earth made a difference to so many people, taught people things they never knew they needed to be taught, and brought love to those who didn’t know how badly they needed it.
Quinn’s passing was supported by so many beautiful people, family members and strangers. Charity’s that delivered food, flowers, and support services. SANDS is an amazing charity that we will forever appreciate. The work they do for mums and dads undergoing a loss is something that can never be thanked enough.
We now learn to navigate life without our son that was so very loved and wanted by making sure he is never forgotten. To read more about Quinn’s story, and his days before heaven, feel free to read here.
Workpower acknowledges and supports the much needed services Sands provides for families, and for employees Alwen, Sinead, and Lisa’s efforts to raise awareness and funds for this important cause.