Bundy mum shares stillbirth story
"1718 babies died last year from stillbirth and Phoenix is one of them.”
Those are the words of Erin Curtin, who experienced the tragic loss of her baby at full term and now wants other mothers to know the importance of getting to know their bump.
The Bundaberg woman said the traumatic experience had opened her eyes up to the drastic numbers of stillbirths, neonatal loss and miscarriages in Australia that she believed should be spoken about more.
"Last year, the day after my daughter Phoenix was due, she had no heartbeat,” Ms Curtin said.
"My partner and I were very surprised.
"You get told that after 12 weeks you are in the safe zone, but to be honest there is no safe zone.”
Ms Curtin said she was thankful to her midwives at Bundaberg Hospital, who were by her side every step of the way.
"Although it was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, the arrival was a very beautiful experience because I had that support from the midwives, my partner and my family,” she said.
Now, after months of research and talking to other parents who've gone through the same trauma, Ms Curtin wants the unspoken to become discussed and researched.
"I wasn't aware that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss,” she said.
"I feel like it is unspoken about. I wasn't aware about how common loss is.”
Ms Curtin said she had been following the advice on website Still Aware, which was started by mother Claire Foord who lost her daughter at 40 weeks.
"She talks about all the things that we should be doing like monitoring your bump and getting used to bub's movements and routines,” she said.
"If I had known that with Phoenix, I would have done that.”
Stillbirth Foundation Australia research shows stillbirth kills six children every day.
General manager Victoria Bowring said the report must force governments to take notice and act on what is a national crisis.
"One child is dying from stillbirth every four hours in Australia and government is doing next to nothing to fund research into why it happens and promote education about how to prevent it,” she said.
"We find ourselves in the tragic position that the families impacted are the ones forced to fund the research into stillbirth because governments have not.”
Ms Curtin urged mothers-to-be to be as informed as possible.
"Don't be scared to learn about this sort of stuff. Do it to empower yourself,” she said.
"Trust your instincts. Stillbirth is often preventable.”
Experienced members of the Bundaberg Hospital Family Unit midwifery team provide support for mothers who have experienced still birth, neonatal loss or miscarriage. These midwives, who have received additional training, follow up with these mothers and are able to refer them to other Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service team members (psychologists, social workers etc) who have the professional expertise to assist them.