Parents at the centre of Byron Bay ‘wild birth’ that resulted in the ‘avoidable’ death of twin babies share confronting message about tragedy

The parents at the centre of a tragic ‘wild birth’ that saw a pair of twins die have shared a confronting message about their ordeal.

The heartbroken mother and father, Sally Patti and Thomas Townend, lost their twins boys, Dusty and Melvin, during a ‘free birth’ on February 11.

‘Free birthing’ or ‘wild birthing’ is a controversial practice in which mothers and their babies completely forego medical assistance during pregnancy – this includes ultrasounds, heartbeat checks and hospital births

Police were called to the couple’s home in Mullumbimby, in the Byron Shire, northern NSW, at about 2am on Sunday, February 11, over concerns for the family’s welfare.

It is understood the couple did not know they were having twins, who were born premature at 23 weeks.

Sally Patti (right) and Thomas Townend (left) lost their twin babies during a ‘free birth’ at their home in Mullumbimby, part of the Byron Shire, earlier this month

Ms Patti shared a message online in the wake of her babies’ deaths.

‘On the Aquarius new moon I birthed our twin sons,’ she wrote.

‘Dusty came roaring and screaming into this world, so incredibly filled with life, birthed with just Tom and I in the love of our home. 

‘I held him, cradled him against my chest, not quite believing I had done it, I had birthed our boy in my full sovereignty.

‘The most incredible experience of my life so far. This moment holds me together, this moment is my light in the darkness.’

She said her second son, Melvin, ‘was born shortly after but had decided to leave this world possibly earlier in the day’.

‘I think I know the moment when he passed, I looked up at the blue sky and felt a sense of peace, stars in my eyes and thought my labour would be that night,’ Ms Patti said.

‘Melvin’s sole purpose was to keep his brother alive, they were both completely and utterly reliant on one another to live. 

‘They shared the same placenta, they shared the same blood vessels, they chose to come in together and leave together. 

‘Melvin gave his life force so that Dusty could spend those moments in my arms but when I birthed Melvin, Dusty had already decided he couldn’t live without his brother, physiologically or spiritually. They needed to be together, and so they are.’

Ms Patti declined to comment and requested privacy when contacted by Daily Mail Australia. She also disputed what had been reported about her babies’ deaths.

A GoFundMe, created by the couple’s friend Roseanna Sharp, has raised more than $15,000 to help the parents ‘grieve’.

Roseanna Sharp called for the ‘community to hold the passage through birth, death and grief’ for the couple, who have been together since late 2019.

Ms Sharp recalled the tragic birth of the two boys, writing: ‘On Sunday morning, new moon of Aquarius, Sally peacefully birthed her two twins in the waters of her home. 

‘In all of those waves of beauty, love, shock and heartbreak; those two spirit babies didn’t have a contract with the earth outside her womb and at the same time of welcoming them in, she said goodbye.’

A report will be prepared for the coroner in relation to the twins' deaths (stock image)

A report will be prepared for the coroner in relation to the twins’ deaths (stock image)

Ms Sharp created the GoFundMe six days after the twins’ deaths. 

‘We are setting up this donation portal to help share the weight and costs of the closing ceremony, funeral, various kinds of therapy for both Sally and Tom, medical bills, self care, healing medicines, and a trip away for the family to heal,’ she said.

‘Grief is a collective portal, it’s an opportunity for us to show up and heal together as community, we invite you all to be apart of this and contribute where you can.

‘Any donations appreciated to show your love and support for Sally & her family is welcomed with gratitude and reverence for our community.’

A medical source previously told the Daily Telegraph the babies’ deaths were ‘avoidable’.

‘At least the second was born viable. If it was born in hospital, it had a chance. That child had rights,’ they said.

Wild births, also known as free births, are rising in popularity among Byron Bay locals – a region that has traditionally had a high rate of home births.

An Australian Facebook group for parents considering a wild birth described itself as a ‘space is for women who align with unassisted pregnancy, birth and postpartum’.

‘Assistance talk is very minimal and you are supported in birthing on your terms,’ it states.

Some wild birth followers believe medical assistance during pregnancy, including ultrasounds, can hurt babies.

A police source described the twins’ deaths as ‘tragic because it was avoidable’.

No charges have been laid in the case and a spokesperson for NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia ‘a report for the information of the Coroner is being prepared by investigators’.

Australia is one of the safest places in the world to give birth however, planned at-home births almost double the risk of serious issues for the baby from five in 1,000 for a hospital birth to nine in 1,000.

Due to the popularity of home births in the region, the NSW Local Health District provides a home birth service to ‘support the choice of planned, midwife-attended home birth as a safe choice for women with uncomplicated pregnancies’. 

The Northern NSW Local Health District facilitated 23 planned home births in 2023.