SHE’S AN AMAZ­ING MUM

AFL STAR GARY RO­HAN TELLS OF WIFE AMIE’S BABY BAT­TLE

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page -

MUM of twins Amie Ro­han will mark her first Mother’s Day to­day with break­fast in bed, but with just one baby in her arms. Amie and AFL star hus­band Gary wel­comed Bella and Wil­low at 34 weeks on April 12, but lost Wil­low five hours later to anen­cephaly, a ter­mi­nal con­di­tion where ba­bies are born with an un­der­de­vel­oped brain and in­com­plete skull.

Amie told the Sun­day Her­ald Sun her first Mother’s Day would be filled with mixed emo­tions.

“It’s so spe­cial but bit­ter­sweet, a day of re­flec­tion,” the 24-year-old re­vealed.

“It’ll be spe­cial to spend the day to­gether, ac­knowl­edg­ing Wil­low, look­ing at pho­tos of her and just be­ing a fam­ily.”

Gary, 26, who played his 100th game last week, said his wife was the most in­spi­ra­tional wo­man he knew.

“Amie’s done so much to get the twins here, like ev­ery mother she put her body through so much to give us our gor­geous kids and I’ll al­ways be grate­ful for that,’’ he said.

“She’s a very strong wo­man and I think we’ve both pulled each other through this.

“We couldn’t have done it with­out each other, we’re a team.

“She’s the best mum in the world. I knew she’d be an amaz­ing mum be­fore she was preg­nant and I’m very lucky to have her as a wife and mother to my two girls.”

The ec­static first-time par­ents, high school sweet­hearts from Cob­den in coun­try Vic­to­ria, had their first scan on Oc­to­ber 6.

“Gary was on one side of the room and I couldn’t see the screen but he looked like he was about to faint. I asked if every­thing was OK and the lady do­ing the ul­tra­sound grabbed my hand and said, ‘You’re hav­ing twins!’ Gary was al­most faint­ing in the cor­ner,’’ Amie re­called.

Af­ter re­turn­ing from an off­sea­son hol­i­day nearly a month later, scans re­vealed heart­break­ing news.

“We were told there was con­cern with Twin B’s head struc­ture and I cried. I knew in­stantly some­thing was wrong,’’ Amie said. “Anen­cephaly was men­tioned ... and the doc­tor said ‘Twin B is not com­pat­i­ble with life’.

“She said ‘I’m just go­ing to grab you a box of tis­sues’. She was strug­gling to tell us, and that’s when I lost it,” she said.

“For four days we felt sad and sorry for our­selves. I kept ask­ing ‘Why did this hap­pen to us?’ But it was hap­pen­ing to us, we couldn’t change it but we had to find a way to deal with it be­cause if we asked those ques­tions each day it was go­ing to be a long nine months.”

The Ro­hans then had to con­tem­plate what no par­ents should: Choose to ter­mi­nate the whole preg­nancy; clamp Wil­low’s um­bil­i­cal cord to stunt her growth and risk a dou­ble mis­car­riage; or con­tinue the preg­nancy know­ing pre­cious Wil­low’s fate.

Amie said the de­ci­sion was al­ways to carry the ba­bies full term.

“You see two beat­ing hearts like we did then try and make a de­ci­sion,” she said.

“We said to each other, ‘We’ve been blessed with these ba­bies for a rea­son, we have to con­tinue’.

“Peo­ple get given sit­u­a­tions in life be­cause they can deal with it. We are such a strong team.

“I asked the (ob­stet­rics) pro­fes­sor what he thought about con­tin­u­ing with the preg­nancy and deal­ing with the end re­sult when we got there and spend­ing what­ever pre­cious time we had with the baby.

“He said ‘I’ve de­liv­ered ba­bies like this be­fore, and I’ll be your big­gest sup­port’.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of do­ing some­thing to my dar­ling Wil­low and po­ten­tially los­ing Bella as well ... we wouldn’t change our de­ci­sion for the world.

“Meet­ing Wil­low and hav­ing those five hours with her were the most pre­cious mo­ments of our life.”

ON a Thurs­day au­tumn morn­ing at 8.59am, Bella Rae en­tered the world scream­ing. A minute later came her iden­ti­cal twin Wil­low Ne­vaeh.

“She was so peace­ful and calm the en­tire time. Hav­ing both ba­bies placed on my chest was the best feel­ing in the world, and I cried the en­tire time,’’ Amie said.

“Gary felt torn, he wanted to be with Wil­low and I but didn’t want Bella to be alone so he spent time with her be­fore we moved to an­other room and took some beau­ti­ful fam­ily pho­tos to­gether.

“Both our par­ents, the grand­par­ents, came up and met both girls then Wil­low grew her wings. It’s like she knew we had the sup­port there we needed.”

While Bella slept in the nurs­ery on that first night, Wil­low was by her par­ents’ side.

“I just needed to have her next to me one last time. I didn’t want to wake up and not have one of my ba­bies with me,’’ Amie said. “On the Sat­ur­day we had a ser­vice at the hospi­tal, did a bless­ing and bap­tised Bella. It was beau­ti­ful.”

The Ro­hans are set­tling well into life at home — in Coogee in Syd­ney’s south­east, where Gary plays for the Syd­ney Swans.

Amie said the roller­coaster they had been on for nine months hadn’t slowed. “It’s been re­ally hard for me to deal with and I will grieve for the rest of my life,” she said.

“Some days I feel like I’m un­stop­pable with the most beau­ti­ful lit­tle fam­ily and other days I feel like Wil­low’s my lit­tle girl who’s here with me all the time and I don’t ac­knowl­edge her enough. You’ve just got to feel ev­ery emo­tion and mo­ment.

“Peo­ple say, ‘You’re so strong and in­spir­ing, how do you do it?’ But no one knows how you’re go­ing to get through some­thing tough un­til you’re faced with a sit­u­a­tion you sim­ply have to get through.”

Amie and Gary shared their preg­nancy jour­ney on so­cial me­dia, and have a close bond with their clinic team of pro­fes­sors, doc­tors and mid­wives at the Royal Hospi­tal for Women in Syd­ney.

And through the hospi­tal they have of­fered sup­port to par­ents whose ba­bies are di­ag­nosed with anen­cephaly.

“We found out at 11 weeks and an­nounced we were preg­nant at 14 weeks. The best thing we did was share it be­cause we had so many peo­ple reach out and share their sto­ries and of­fer sup­port,’’ Amie said.

“That’s when things got eas­ier be­cause we had that sup­port and other fam­i­lies who’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the same thing were there for us and an­swered all our ques­tions.

“Strangers gave us strength and that’s why we want to give back.”

Hav­ing both ba­bies placed on my chest was the best feel­ing in the world and I cried the en­tire time

Gary and Amie with Bella (main), and (in­set) she gets a cud­dle from mum; Gary ten­derly holds Bella as he runs out for his 100th game last week­end, at the SCG. Bella pic­tures: SAM RUTTYN

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