A mother has spoken about the heartbreak she and her husband endured after giving birth to their stillborn daughter a week before her due date.
Tamsin Fielder, 28, and partner Bryce Fielder, 30, were excited to become parents and the pregnancy was deemed to be ‘low risk’ by doctors.
‘I’m young, healthy, I don’t smoke, I took advice and never slept on my back.. I did everything right,’ Tamsin, from the Central Coast, told FEMAIL.
But on February 16, 2021, everything took a turn for the worse when Tamsin noticed her baby, who they called Elke, was barely moving.
‘My mum, who’s a GP, took me to the hospital and we thought everything was fine, but my world quickly came crashing down when doctors couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat,’ she said.
‘We were heartbroken. You have all these hopes, dreams and visions of what your life will be like with your baby and we were so close to having it all before it was ripped away.’
Tamsin Fielder (right) and husband Bryce (left) sadly lost their unborn daughter at 39 weeks (pictured a week before). The couple from Central Coast were excited to become parents
On February 16, 2021, everything took a turn for the worse when Tamsin noticed her baby girl, Elke, was barely moving. ‘My mum, who’s a GP, took me to the hospital and we thought everything was fine, but my world quickly came crashing down when doctors couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat,’ she told FEMAIL
Despite conducting tests and an autopsy, doctors couldn’t determine the cause of the stillbirth but found the placenta was ‘small’.
‘It was a complete shock and like an out of body experience. I had heard of stillbirth before, with both my parents being doctors but never knew it could happen to me,’ Tamsin said.
Rather than conducting a C-section then and there, doctors sent Tamsin home for a gruelling three days with medication and returned for a natural birth on February 19.
‘My husband and I spent the next few days surrounded by our family, unable to leave the house with the fear of the questions asking when the baby was coming or how far along I was,’ she said.
‘It was a really challenging time because everything was ready – the nappies, the nursery, the seat in car, the hospital bag – we were ready to welcome her into the world.
‘We spent the days researching about stillbirth and what to expect of our lifeless daughter. I read stories on The Stillbirth Foundation website with many encouraging you to make as many memories as possible in the short amount of time we had with our baby.’
Not only did the couple need to accept the fate of their unborn child, they also needed to start planning the funeral.
Tamsin was sent home with medication for three days then returned to hospital on February 19 and was induced before having a quick natural birth at 7pm. The couple and their families spent two full days with little Elke
On the Friday the couple returned to hospital where Tamsin was induced and had a ‘quick’ natural birth at 7pm.
‘The hospital provided us with a cuddle cot, which is a cooled cot to help preserve her body and give us two days with her. We had the volunteer organisation Heartfelt come and take photos of us with our daughter,’ Tamsin said.
‘It was absolutely heartbreaking knowing you have two days to make as many memories as possible.’
The grieving mother took medication to prevent her milk from developing but it still came, leaving her feeling sore.
‘All the little things like the milk were really hard to come to terms with. I had all the post-partum emotions but no baby,’ she said.
‘Bryce and I saw a psychologist which helped a lot and we each had different ways of grieving – I would speak to family about it while Bryce kept more to himself.’
Tamsin described the experience as ‘isolating’ because she didn’t personally know anyone who had also had a stillbirth.
‘I managed to meet a group of mums online who had all lost little girls too within a few month of each other. And we talk nearly everyday now,’ she said.
‘We were heartbroken; you have all these hopes, dreams and visions of what your life will be like with your baby and we were so close to having it all before it was ripped away,’ Tamsin said
Despite the harrowing ordeal, the couple continued trying for a baby while dealing with the grief of losing Elke. Seven months ago Tamsin gave birth to their little boy, Easton (pictured)
Despite the harrowing ordeal, the couple continued trying for a baby while dealing with the grief of losing Elke.
‘We knew we wanted a baby and I fell pregnant quite quickly, but we couldn’t get as excited as we did last time. There was an element of fear and anxiety there,’ Tamsin said.
‘We had done everything right last time and now we know what can happen.’
They were also ‘mindful’ about posting the baby news publicly.
‘You just don’t know what others are going through, and I know for me seeing baby announcements on social media was a huge trigger,’ she said.
Luckily the second pregnancy went smoothly and Tamsin gave birth to a little boy, Easton, who’s now seven months old.
They also had private health insurance to ensure they didn’t return to the same hospital due to the memories of the stillbirth associated with the building.
‘Every year we still celebrate and remember Elke’s life,’ Tamsin said.
On Saturday morning, Bryce will participate in a 50km marathon to raise money for The Stillbirth Foundation Australia. So far he’s raised $3,300 with the goal of $5,000.
‘He’s completed a half marathon last year and plays soccer but isn’t really a runner – though it’s all for a good cause,’ Tamsin said with a laugh.
If you’d like to donate, click here.
For miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death support 24/7, please call SANDS on 1300 072 637.
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