Lit­tle life re­mains with us

Fam­ily re­veal heart­break, but are de­ter­mined to help oth­ers

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - ASH­LEIGH HOWARTH ash­leigh.howarth@qtcn.com.au

TO OUT­SIDERS, the Ful­tons might look like a fam­ily of three, but in their hearts they will al­ways be a fam­ily of four.

Not a day goes by where Emily Ful­ton, her hus­band Scott and daugh­ter Evie don’t miss their son and brother Xan­der Nathaniel.

Xan­der was born on June 9, 2016 at 23.3 weeks ges­ta­tion. His ar­rival into the world was very sud­den and un­ex­pected.

“We had IVF preg­nan­cies, be­cause I had a lot of trou­ble get­ting preg­nant. Our daugh­ter Evie was IVF so this was our third IVF,” Mrs Ful­ton said.

“My preg­nancy was trou­ble free. There was noth­ing wrong, the scans were great and we didn’t no­tice any signs of any­thing wrong.

“The day be­fore Xan­der was

born I had some stom­ach pain, but in a preg­nancy that is pretty nor­mal.

“The next day, June 9, I woke up with a stom­ach ache. The morn­ing went on and I thought ‘this was get­ting a bit worse, it’s just not feel­ing right’ so we went up to the Ip­swich Hos­pi­tal about 7am.

“The pain started to in­ten­sify. Doc­tors came in and checked me over. When they dis­cov­ered I was di­lat­ing, they were talk­ing about get­ting me up to the Mater.

“Then the pain just in­creased and I was rushed into a birthing suite and 40 min­utes later he was born.

“They tried to work on him for a cou­ple of min­utes. They then came over to me and said ‘he only lived for a cou­ple of min­utes’.

“They did lots of tests on me but to this day, they still don’t know what hap­pened.”

What fol­lowed for the Ful­ton fam­ily was a lot of tears and heartache over the lit­tle boy they thought they would have a life­time to get to know.

“He was a small bump I carried up un­til 23 weeks and three days. We saw him wrig­gling around on the ul­tra­sound sev­eral times. I felt his kicks from 19 weeks,” Mrs Ful­ton said.

“Our el­dest was so ex­cited to be a big sis­ter.

“A fu­ture with our sec­ond child just seemed like such a cer­tainty un­til that fate­ful day when I woke up with con­trac­tions.

“Our loss is with us ev­ery sin­gle day. To the out­side world we look like any other fam­ily of three, but to our­selves, we al­ways feel his ab­sence. We should be a fam­ily of four.

“We never got a chance to bring him home or get to know him.

“My son missed out on all his days on this earth. No first birth­day, no first day of Prep or first day of high school, no wed­ding day.

“A life­time of days just wiped out in an instant when he was born too early and didn’t sur­vive.

“I’ll never know who my son would have been or what he would have done, or the im­pact he would have had on our lives and the lives of those around him.

“It’s the not know­ing of this

‘‘

WE NEVER GOT A CHANCE TO BRING HIM HOME OR GET TO KNOW HIM. EMILY FUL­TON

that hurts so much some­times.

“I was sup­posed to love and cher­ish him for­ever. I was not sup­posed to miss him for­ever.”

Fol­low­ing on from Xan­der’s pass­ing, Mrs Ful­ton reached out to Sands, a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ing sup­port, in­for­ma­tion and ed­u­ca­tion to any­one af­fected by the death of a baby be­fore, dur­ing or shortly af­ter birth.

“I called the sup­port phone line and I went to the sup­port groups in per­son,” she said.

“Reach­ing out was both an easy and dif­fi­cult thing to do. Easy be­cause be­ing among oth­ers who un­der­stand my pain and loss pro­vided me with com­fort and a sense of not feel­ing so alone, but also dif­fi­cult be­cause speaking about my ex­pe­ri­ence and my loss and re­liv­ing it brought up a lot of buried trauma.

“I don’t re­gret do­ing so

though as I quickly learnt that ev­ery sin­gle per­son in­volved with Sands just want to help in any way they can.

“No one’s grief is worse than an­other’s. No mat­ter how long ago or at what stage the child was lost.”

Sands host a Walk to Re­mem­ber event ev­ery year in all ma­jor cap­i­tal cities around this coun­try, and this year, the Ful­tons will once again at­tend the Bris­bane event.

Then, on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 15, which is In­ter­na­tional Preg­nancy and In­fant Loss Re­mem­brance Day, the fam­ily will light a can­dle in hon­our of their lit­tle man gone too soon, but never for­got­ten.

“This is such an im­por­tant day for me. Oc­to­ber 15 is the one day where he can be re­mem­bered by the com­mu­nity ev­ery sin­gle year, even if he was here and gone so swiftly,” Mrs Ful­ton said.

“At 7pm on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 15, we are all en­cour­aged to light a can­dle and leave it burn­ing for one whole hour to re­mem­ber the ba­bies who could not stay, and the heart­bro­ken par­ents, sib­lings and loved ones they leave be­hind.

“If ev­ery­one does this in all time zones glob­ally there will be a con­tin­u­ous wave of light across the world for 24 hours.

“It is an amaz­ing sight to imag­ine and a beau­ti­ful trib­ute to our pre­cious ba­bies who are never for­got­ten.”

Photo: Rob Wil­liams

RE­MEM­BERED: Evie, Scott and Emily Ful­ton from Red­bank Plains miss their son and brother, Xan­der Nathaniel.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

Emily Ful­ton with her daugh­ter Evie three days be­fore Xan­der was born.

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