Bendigo couple faced with heartbreaking choice

In the week leading up to the SANDS memorial service, HANNAH KNIGHT spoke to women who lost their babies when there was little or no support available.

A BENDIGO couple were faced with the toughest decision of their lives when their unborn baby was diagnosed with severe spina bifida.

Sandy, a 36-year-old Bendigo resident who did not wish to reveal her surname, said the bad news was delivered during a routine ultrasound at 20 weeks.

“It was likely he wouldn’t survive full term pregnancy or he could die shortly after birth,” she said.

“He wouldn’t have a good quality of life, he had a lot of fluid on the brain ... I remember when I found out I just bawled my eyes out.

“The sonographer said most people terminate.”

Sandy and her husband made the painful decision to “set free” the unborn child they had named Daniel.

“So we went into hospital on Monday, October 5, 2009, and that’s when I was induced,” Sandy said.

“For 12 and a half hours I was in labor and we had him at 8.26pm.

“It was very daunting because we didn’t know what he would look like.

“He was tiny – only 288 grams and fully formed – except when you turned him over he had a big, centimetre hole in his back.

“So what they saw in the ultrasound was spot on ... he was a still birth but it was also our choice to let him go when he did, so that was pretty hard.”

Sandy remembers screaming about how unfair the situation was during her labour.

“We don’t regret our decision,” she said.

“But we wanted to let this story out because there was no one to talk to in the same situation.

“At the time all I was seeking was someone to talk to.”

Sandy said SANDS Bendigo was a great source of support.

She hoped by sharing her story with others she could, in turn, help them.

“We want to help anyone else that’s in our situation,” she said.

“There’s not a lot of people out there that talk about terminating because of the judgements.

“I myself got called a murderer, and that hurt, but then I think well, you’re not in my shoes, you don’t know me, you don’t know what we’ve been through.”

Sandy said still birth, miscarriage and newborn death shattered dreams.

“I don’t want to ever forget my son,” she said.

“He’s part of our everyday life.”